Being stubborn may well save your life – and that of your beloved sister!

Phew. Back again.

I love this picture. For me it speaks a thousand words. Two of my girls and me. Caught in a moment of focus and affection.


These two sisters are amazing. I have never known two sisters who were so incredibly close. I remember once, going into the bathroom and finding them in the shower together. Both were yapping ten to the dozen. They had so much to tell one another that the noise of the flowing water was not permitted to intrude. I found that fascinating. They had shared a room for many years, they had attended the same schools, they had hung out with a lot of the same people, mostly they had shared the same hobbies. But still, they had so much to say to each other and felt so much urgency to say it, that they couldn’t bear to be separated.

Now, you might think that as they’re so incredibly close that their relationship is a pretty harmonious one. But there you would be wrong. They can argue just as passionately as they get along.

Think fireworks.

Take, for example, the time that Lori got so annoyed with her elder sibling that she gave her a  shove, while she was standing  on the steps of a bus. Joni lost her footing and fell out of the bus. I know. I was there. I saw it all. No matter what I said, Lori refused point blank to apologise.

I remember once, the girls’ choir teacher taking them off for a couple of days on a workshop. She was quite excited about taking those two sisters, who have such an amazing rapport with each other, off to sing in the countryside. She anticipated what effect their close relationship would have on the dynamics of the group. What she failed to anticipate was: what would happen if they fell out. I met her weeks later and she was still slightly dazed.

The truth of the matter is: that although the girls tend to be passionate about pretty much the same things, their characters couldn’t be more polar opposite.

When Lori was born I thought that I’d be able to bath both of the girls together. I couldn’t though. Lori hated the cold and Joni hated the heat. I had to throw my boat-shaped baby bath thermometer in the bin. Both girls were completely off the scale. Joni cried at ‘the correct temperature’ because it was far too hot and Lori cried at ‘the correct temperature’ because it was far too cold. It was like my own two bears story. Lori even balled her eyes out in the supermarket every time we veered near to the fridges.

Joni grew up dressed in pink. Wearing nail polish. And with a serious conviction that she was actually Snow White.

While Lori started the trend of wearing a t-shirt over a long-sleeved top and destroyed one action figure after another.

Bringing the two of them up has taught me a lot.

One of the things it has taught me is that compromise is not always such a good thing.

Laid back Joni has a leisurely pace. She meanders through life in her own good time. In fact, we actually call her our very own chill pill.

Intense Lori rushes on ahead. There is always something else to do. There is always something else to say. There is always something more to make of her day.

One such day both girls were on the bus together heading home from school. The bus pulled up at our stop and they both got off. Together. An argument erupted. Lori felt cold and wanted to rush home from school, at full speed and get on with things.
Joni, on the other hand, wanted to take her time, bask in the winter sun’s rays and float along the street towards home.

A compromise could not be found. Joni’s attempt at her fastest pace could not placate Lori’s need for speed and so after a few cross words, Lori stormed off ahead.

Joni was angry. Why couldn’t they just compromise? Meet in the middle? Lori could slow down her pace and Joni could hasten hers and they could walk home, as sisters, together!

Lori skedaddled and was about 100m ahead of her elder sister when behind her she heard the shrill screeching and then crumpling of metal, and the shattering of glass. She stopped and whirled around. A van had hit a car and now the van was on the path. Approximately 50m in front of her sister. Approximately 50m meters behind her…

She ran back, checked everyone was ok and then rushed on home.

It was at that very moment that I came around the corner in our car. I had picked up my two younger children and, we too, were almost home. I pulled over as I couldn’t easily get past the blockage in the road. My son, who’s always keen to see what’s going on, leapt out of the passenger seat before I could shout, “Hold your horses!!” and ran along the street to find out what had happened. I looked out of my side window and then it dawned on me: one of the people standing next to those contorted vehicles was my daughter Joni.

And then it hit me! Joni and Lori should be taking the same school bus home and Lori was nowhere to be seen…

I tried to leave my car, but it proved difficult. The road was in chaos. It had been sprayed with broken glass and vehicles were slowly attempting to make their way around the debris and the gathering crowd of bystanders. I swore at a lorry driver who attempted to reprimand me for getting in his way. Somehow, finally, I managed to park up on the side of the street, then I ran, screaming, towards a shocked Joni, “Where’s Lori? Where’s Lori?

I dared not look under the vehicles…

Joni took a while to answer. She was in shock. She’d witnessed the whole accident. Lori had just been ahead of her… They’d had an argument… Lori wanted her to walk faster… If they had compromised they would have both been hit by the van which now sat on the pavement.

“But where’s Lori now?” I queried. I needed to see her for myself. To make quite sure. Quite sure she was intact and unharmed.

I quickly checked the distressed car driver then took my paler than usual eldest daughter back to the car and drove her home.

At home I discovered an unblemished but rather disappointed Lori.

Disappointed because she’d not been able to put her recently gained first aid certificate to good use. There had not even been a cut to bandage. She’d been forced to march home and start her homework instead!










Mother hysteria: The curious case of the caught nipple

Reini’s evening started something like this:

His one and only son called him at work and announced, “There’s been an accident… In the kitchen… With the mixing machine… And Mum…”

I should probably admit to you, at this point, that we have recently been playing rather a lot of Cluedo.


I’ve just risen out of a calming bath (despite at least two children being in the room at any one time, babbling) and looking down at my naked body I can see a few tell-tale signs of the week gone by.

For instance, my lower right leg champions five, yes five, bruises. All attained crawling through tunnels and up and down ladders at Sensapolis (I am still completing my challenges ) on Sunday. There are probably a fair few lumps and bumps on my head too because if I wasn’t bashing my right leg then I was beating my skull against something.

My left knee has a long, bloody looking scratch above it, but I can’t remember for the life of me what exactly I scraped it on.

The melted skin on my right palm, from Wednesday’s omelette pan, can barely be seen. And no longer hurts. Thank goodness. I guess it fades into insignificance across from the centimetre long blister, that rose up today, on my left wrist.

But the ordeal my right nipple went through this evening is completely invisible.


It’s the last day of the mid-term holidays and I was determined to fulfil dreams.

Some wanted to feed the ducks, so we did that.

Others wanted to cook and to bake. So we poured through recipe books and opted for home-made Minestrone Soup with Pesto, and Banana and Walnut Loaf along with Blueberry Muffins. We shoved a shopping trolley around the supermarket and jammed it with ingredients.

Some wanted to play Cluedo. Again.

Some wanted to relax with a foot spa and a massage.

And one person wanted to be read to.

The latter dreams were abandoned. Their mother was too busy drinking vodka after the terrible shock.


I’m not sure when the fluster started.

I think it was definitely after Aden pricked Akasha with a knife when they were simultaneously chopping mangetout, for lunch.

Yes. I remember still being quite rational in the afternoon. Despite shopping with two bouncy, blabbering children.

I recall though, being somewhat distressed when I opened a cupboard and a spiderman cup threw itself at me. Although what I was actually looking for was a bowl. And I had not been the one to stack him up on top of a much smaller mug. He still attacked me, then fell sharply to the floor, smashing himself to smithereens. I did shout a little when I couldn’t find the dustpan and brush until I’d rooted around in the paper bin. I quietened down once I switched the vacuum on for the second time in a couple of hours. There’s not much point in trying to be heard by those who try not to listen over that noise.

Oh. I know when it was. It was the moment I looked at the time remaining on the timer and realised we had to move up a gear if we wanted to get the soup on and the next cake ready for the oven before the ‘ready’ beep would sound. Too much time had been wasted clearing up broken crockery and searching for tools.

That was the precise instant that my feathers ruffled.

I raised my game. I had one mashing bananas and one washing leeks and one peeling carrots and another weighing out sugar. I raced between them, firing out both instruction and praise in my effort to motivate and march on. I flicked through recipe books. Provided chopping boards and compost bags.

The muffins screeched out about their baked-ness but we were not done. Not by a long shot.

I ran to the oven, purple gloves covering my hands recalling my blunder from earlier in the week *do not pick up hot pan with bare hands, silly*.

I removed the buns from the top shelf and decided, in a split second, to leave the second tray in, for a couple more minutes but only after placing them on the top shelf for good measure.

As I moved in for the manoeuvre I clipped my left wrist on the side of the shelf. Ouch!

I’m an impatient burnt person. I don’t do well with holding my hand/finger/wrist under a cold tap for any period of time. I normally burn myself while cooking and that generally means that I’m still in the midst of it or it’s ready to eat and so my instinct is to get on with it.

So, I have, in my many burned experiences, developed a technique. I shove the blistering skin under the cold tap for a minute or so, then I pop a tea towel into the cold running water, let it soak up the coldness for a few seconds, wring it out a bit and wrap it around the affected area. Ta-dah! I can work on and cool my injury at the same time.

I wrapped my wrist and ran across the kitchen to a bowl of sugar and marg. and a whisk and started beating them together.

That’s, I guess, when my multi-tasking got too much for me.

I was standing there quite the thing. Cooling and mixing and glancing at the recipe book and ordering around talking to children. Admiring carefully chopped walnuts and apologising again for pricking Akasha with the knife while chopping up the courgettes ten minutes before.

The margarine and sugar were almost creamed and I slowed the electric whisk down and pondered over my mixture.

Just a few seconds more. And this stage would be complete.

I glanced away. What’s next?

I called out to the kid with the other recipe book.

I hit the switch to turn the power off, but not quite enough, so instead of switching off, it just carried on whirling at the lowest setting. But I hadn’t noticed, distracted, I tried to set it down. On the table top. It tipped to the side and rolled out of the bowl.

I still had the handle loosely in my hand so I tightened it and tried to take control.

I outstretched my fingers and flicked at the power switch again.

But in the wrong direction.

The beaters whirled and whizzed and the machine turned itself around to face me.

The rest is a bit of a blur. Thank God. I remember the beaters, somehow, catching a hold of the bottom of my top.

And my top twirling around and around in her spokes.

It was like she climbed up me.

Wrapped herself in my clothes.

And then she went for it.

My right nipple.

I don’t know what to say.

How to describe it.

There was pain.

And screaming.

A lot of screaming.

Mostly from me.

But also from four children.

There was also some giggling.

There was fear.

My fear.

Of losing a nipple.

To an electric whisk.

To an electric whisk.

How the fuck could I explain that to the ambulance men?

I whisked my nipple?

There was turning. And Whirling.

And I kept trying to hit the switch in the wrong bloody direction.

There was no blood. No blood at all.

My son My hero pulled the plug from the socket and it all stopped.

There was no more turning and whirling.

No blood.

The pain left.

Shock I supposed.

Hands helped. Unravelled. My top. And my nipple.

I yelled around for people to check if my nipple was still intact.

And it was.

I laughed.

And I cried.


I cupped my precious nipple and they poured vodka down my throat and in the background I heard a boys voice saying, “There’s been an accident… In the kitchen… With the mixing machine… And Mum…”

A one woman disaster zone

I had an accident at the weekend and I’d love to tell you what happened, but I can’t.

I can’t tell the doctors either.

It’s not that I was knocked unconscious.

It’s not that I was drunk and had a black out.

It’s just that I don’t know.

I worked steadfastly in the kitchen most of the day, cooking a special dinner for the men working outside in our garden.

I’ll just go over that point.

The manly ones spent around eight to ten hours slogging away outdoors, while I chopped and stirred and whizzed and peeled and ran backwards and forwards to the fridge (and to the shops for that matter, for forgotten ingredients). Then I went outside and planted in my newly built wall, for the best part of an hour, while the strongly ones rubbed their tummies and slugged on their beer.

In those eight to ten hours not one of the three gentlemen were injured.

Not one of the two children, running up and down the length of the garden with wheelbarrows and shoveling dirt, were blemished.

But in that one hour, something happened to me.

But I can’t tell you what.

Because I don’t know what.

I didn’t notice anything happening to me, that’s the problem.

I planted and I looked at my new wall and I felt good.

When I later went to bed, I had problems sleeping.

I arose in the morning and my heels itched like crazy and I noticed a couple of little marks. I decided that I must have been bitten by some evil creature – so I plastered it in anti-histamine gel.

But the swelling increased and it started to hurt.

My husband offered to call me a doctor. I (am trying to avoid doctors, seriously I’ve already over fifteen appointments, between the kids and I,  this month, so far) declined but took up his suggestion of reducing the inflammation with some raw onion.

The onion tried it’s best but failed. So I ran myself a nice lavender bath.

I rested my feet a bit and worked on a project for a while. Later on, as I tried to stand up the pain was immense. I stared at my feet and one ankle, frankly, looked as if someone had shoved a hard-boiled egg under the skin. I felt some concern and my husband appeared notably worried, but I waved off his doctor ideas and decided we should pop out for a bite to eat instead. (As all sensible people do when their ankle is drooping down towards the floor).

I headed towards the car but had to stop for a little rest. Feeling very sick from the pain, I started to entertain my husband’s ‘visit the doctor’ plan. I braved the two-minute drive to the restaurant then looked at my foot, which had miraculously grown again and finally, I admitted defeat.

The doctor saw me right away. She prodded and poked and inspected the now extremely red and bulging area.

“There’s something in it!” She proclaimed.

At first, she believed it to be ticks, but thank goodness, that was not the case.

In a few short minutes she’d managed to remove five foreign bodies from my heels. Two from one and three from the other.

I had no idea what they were or where they came from.

She bandaged me up and sent me to the chemist for antibiotics.

It’s healing well (I know because I’ve been backwards and forwards to my GP continually to have it checked out) but I’ll be bandaged up until Sunday.

I now look like a different type of mummy!

But I implore you:

How is it possible to embed five foreign bodies in one’s foot, while throwing a bit of earth in a pot and ramming in a few tiny plants? I didn’t use my heels as spades. I didn’t hammer the ground flat with the back of my foot. I didn’t roll around the grass and I didn’t go near any bushes. I had trainers and socks on. I used my hands.


Still, at least none of the men turned into mummies.

And:  I got to postpone my lady doctor appointment. 😉


Kate Kresse’s comment:

Good news–i haven’t run into the coffee table in 2 days. but i did open the fridge door right into my head. (duh).

on my last post reminded me of recent events.

Remember my headache? I’ll deviate slightly here, just for information’s sake and inform you that yes, I still have it, and yes, I am demented by now.

No, it’s not as bad as it was. I’ve been having manual therapy, which does something, but nothing seems to remove it completely.

It would seem I’m stuck with it, at least for the moment. I have seen far too many doctors and therapists in the last almost four months. I’ve decided for the foreseeable future I’m going to avoid doctors and therapists completely. Save some money. And battle on through.

The good news is that there is definitely no tumour. I had a CT scan and the neurologist (that would be neurologist number two) told me that my brain is perfect.

That statement, however, made me even more sceptical toward doctors. My brain definitely does not work properly. I regularly forget my children’s names. Lose my keys. Write down a shopping list then don’t bother to take it with me. Find myself standing in the middle of a room wondering why the hell am I here? And then there’s the time I forgot to pull down my knickers before I sat on the loo…

Anyway, back to the lovely Kate’s comment.

In December, a month or so into my headache, I found myself in my kitchen, pretending I didn’t have a headache and attempting to knead dough. OK partly I was kneading, partly I was taking out my frustrations. So much so in fact, that not only my hands were working, but the rest of my body as well. A fact I realized when I lunged my head forward and smacked my forehead against the kitchen cupboard’s metal door handle.

I suspect the resulting bruise would have been nowhere near as bad, if I had not then walked over to another cupboard and opened it whacking it directly against the exact same spot on my poor forehead.

Now you have to remember that at that point I had been heard (quite loudly) complaining about my headache, at every given opportunity.

Thus people from near and far spotted me walking around with a full-on let’s-go-through-the-rainbow-spectrum-of-colours bruise right in the middle of my forehead.

“I wonder why you’ve got a headache?” they felt the need to chortle.

Finally, milk bottle white again, I proceeded with acupuncture.

Which resulted in not one but two bruises, conveniently placed above each eyebrow.

Let’s just say, I became familiar with the term, “It looks like you’ve got horns growing out of your head!”

And my evil good-humoured family launching into fits of hysterics every time they caught a glimpse of me.

It comes in threes

I’ve been pondering what the third freaky accident will be.

The first, as you may already have read, happened in the early hours of Monday morning.

By ‘early hours’ I mean before 7am.

As in, at around 6.3oam.

Before 7am, I am a hold-your-eyelids-open-with-matchsticks kind of a girl. Even at 6.59am, I can be observed attempting to slay alarm clocks with wild sweeping arm movements.

But at 7am my eyelids contentedly hold their own. My frown is upside down. Sometimes there’s even a spring in my step. And I greet my son with a, “Rise and shine!” instead of a, “Can I get in there with you?”

Truly sad, because during the week I have four, yes FOUR pre-7am starts.

This week started with a crash and some wailing.

I’d managed to drag both myself and my sleepy-headed boy out of bed. He dressed himself and headed downstairs for breakfast while I slunk into the bathroom, trying to convince myself this wasn’t some ungodly hour and then I heard the noises.



I separated my once pert bottom from the toilet and raced my almost 4o year old legs down the stairs without consideration. (The consideration being that I have fallen down the stairs on many occasions, last time breaking my finger and the time before that, my tail-bone).

I reached the kitchen, all bones intact, and discovered my shocked son surrounded by broken crockery and yelling about his eye.

Despite my pre-7am state, I managed to have a flurry of thoughts:

“Eye doctor!”


“Eye operation!”


Adrenaline shocked into wide awake (possible alarm clock invention any one? ‘The Adrenagong’, I should patent the name…) I held my son’s head in my hand and stared into his eye. He decided, at that moment, actually, his eye’s alright. But he bawled on because his mouth really hurt.

That’s when I noticed my pre-breakfast dosage of blood:

It turns out, that as the bowl hit the tabletop, a rogue, savage splinter, defied physics by firing back up at him and striking him on the lip.

Even more astounding is the fact that the injured area could not be seen on the outside of his face, instead, after mopping away the blood, I found the deep cut inside his mouth.

I can just imagine him standing there, mouth gaping, as the bowl fell.

That was on Monday.

Tuesday came and we went about our business during the day without much incident.

Really, that should have been a warning sign. There’s always at least one incident.

My husband headed off to bed early, not feeling too well, and I decided to be nice and make him a hot toddy to help him sleep.

I took one of those capable cups out of the cupboard.

Ironic that in the rhyme I wrote him, I called them ‘Capable cups’.

I filled it with milk and popped it in the microwave for 90 seconds.

I opened a miniature whisky and removed the lid from the sugar bowl and waited for the microwave to triumphantly ‘beep’.

I attempted to extract the incapable cup from the microwave but I had to let it go.

I’m trying not to exaggerate here, but the heat in the handle reminded me of molten lava. I don’t mind telling you that I’m not brave and I did scream.

I rammed my hand under the full force of the cold tap, while the rest of my body took part in some strange kind of unerotic dance and my face winced.

I carefully used an oven glove to manhandle the crap cup and pour the not-so-warm-milk into an old, scratched but non-maiming mug from the back of the cupboard.

Wishing the whisky was for me, I poured an extra-large measure into the milk and carried it into my already sleeping husband.

I woke him, of course.

Then showed him my battle scars.

Four blisters. One of which is 15mm long. I know. I measured it.

He lovingly dragged his still pert bum out of bed and dressed my damaged hand with some magic healing cream and a bandage.

Two freaky accidents in two days.

On Wednesday, someone accidentally jammed my rapidly-turning-into-a-damaged boy’s hand in the classroom door.

However, I couldn’t really consider this to be a freaky accident.

The children and I made lunch together. Which translates as: I waved around my bandaged hand in a directing capacity.

I sent my son downstairs to fetch bottled water, but he returned from the cellar, hand swelling and blue-fingered. Having managed to hit his hand off the crate in exactly the same spot that it had been jammed in the door at school.

This must be the third freaky accident, surely?

Please say, “Yes!” and then I can be done with it. 😉

My Mr Tickle arm

It all started with me running up the hill, as you do (when you’re eight) and me tripping over my own foot, as you shouldn’t.

Mid-fall I attempted to do a judo landing. My black-belted aunt had been teaching me judo for some months at that point.

What I should have remembered was that I was crap at judo.

Meaning the fall, of course, went badly wrong.

So badly wrong in fact, that I dislocated my left arm.

For those of you who need a more graphical description, that means I separated the bones from the elbow.

I had my very own Mr Tickle arm.

Though it didn’t work.

It was just all wobbly.

And therefore no good for tickling anybody.

I proved that my lungs worked really well though, screaming so loudly that neighbours from near and far ran out of their houses to see the spectacle.

My mother had me on her lap on the passenger seat of our mini. I was screaming. She was trying to ‘hold me together’.

We drove to the local hospital and they said, “Sorry but you’re too late. We close at 5pm. You’ll have to go to the hospital in the next town.”

So my parents poured me back into the car and drove on for a few miles.

“It would be better if you took her to another, major hospital, here she’d have to wait some time.” Yes, it just so happened I’d rammed some sweets in my gob right before my accident.

My parents poured me back into the car and drove on for quite a few miles.

I was still screaming.

At the major hospital, we were informed we had to wait anyway because of the sweets and the anaesthetic.

I lay on the bed with my extra long arm positioned on two pillows.

Nurses travelled over from various wards to see the exhibit.

Some oohed and aahed. Others covered their hands over their mouths and looked to me like they were about to vomit.

Luckily, in its pillowed position I could not see my arm properly.

Which can only be described as a good thing.

They did not need me vomiting in my bed. I’d already managed to miss the bed pan.

A suspicious doctor looked at my injuries and repeatedly questioned my parents about them. He found my story of tripping over my own foot and attempting to do a judo fall somewhat difficult to believe.

He obviously hadn’t seen me doing judo.

Finally, the evil sweets were wearing off and my time had come to have my arm fixed.

Then another child was rushed in, needing a life-saving operation. So me and my Mr Tickle arm were united for a while longer.

Hopefully he had been a good boy and hadn’t been filling his face with sweets.

Eventually, they took me to the operating room. I saw bright lights and people with masks and heard muffled voices.

I offered to keep my Mr Tickle arm. We’d been together this long…

Then a man approached me with the largest needle in the world. He sprayed it upwards like one of those evil doctors in a film and I found myself wriggling and shouting, “You’re not sticking that in me!!”

Pinned to the table and with my Mr Tickle arm being of absolutely no use in an escape situation, he jabbed me.

I yelled some more, being a particularly vocal child. “I will not sleep! I will not…”

Luckily I did sleep, as apparently they set it wrong and had to re-dislocate it and reset it again.

And fortunately, I did not develop a phobia of needles, as people have been sticking them in me ever since.

I’m not so handy…

No. I haven’t disappeared off into hibernation. Even though winter has well and truly arrived.

No. I had an accident.

Yes, another one.

This time I managed to fall UP the stairs. 😮
Smacking my hand firstly, on the metal banister, and secondly, on the wooden step.

Of course, the injured hand is my right hand. Because I am right-handed.

And, you know, I am REALLY right-handed. Not one of those souls who have the good fortune to have almost as much ability with one hand as the other. I definitely don’t fit into the ambidextrous category. My left hand, I would say, is just there to support my right hand. It is completely useless in any sort of solitary state.

In the past week, I have discovered, that my left hand cannot even master a small tick in a rather large box, that could be presented as legible.

It cannot stir soup without splashing the majority of the contents over the ceramic hob.

And it can only loosely operate a computer mouse when it’s guided directionally by my protruding tongue.

Fortunately, the doctor informed me yesterday, that I’ll have full use of my lovely hand again in four to six weeks. WHAT?????

Overnight I’ve figured out that my sentence will only take then, another two and a half weeks.

After all, I fell last Sunday, and it’s now Tuesday. That means I’ve already served around a week and a half. And no way, Jose am I suffering the full six-week stretch.

But even with my optimistic maths, in the next TWO weeks I have two birthday parties to organise (which includes baking and decorating cakes) and a wedding to fly to, with two suitcases and a three-year old to tend.


But at least the two fingers and a thumb are now poking out of my bandage and have managed to type this article. With of course, some support from my afore-mentioned left hand. So it can’t all be bad.

How do you think they will cope with constructing a princess cake?

At this point the writer would like to thank her husband, and four children for all of their help with the washing, cooking, chopping, and general chores and looks forward to using your hands your assistance in the near future. 🙂