Friday, 25 October 2013

Scaring Crows

Uncle Dom has recently been touring with an up and coming folk duo by the name of Gilmore Roberts, who have an interesting little ditty "Scarecrow", which opens their latest album. With dad being a man who is quite into his folk music and Mam being a driver who can't change the CD that is already in the car stereo, we have been treated to the Gilmore Roberts third album - "The Innocent Left" - to the point where I could reasonably offer to join them and form a trio.

The philospofiser in me, however, has noted during a lengthy journey to see Gran & Grandad, that the career of said Scarecrow does bare similarities to the career, thus far, of Mam since she took on her role as mother...this then is how I feel the song would have gone, had she been clever enough to have thought of it first...

(Click the yellow coloured words to see who Gilmore Roberts are or to hear the original song)

The eyes of a glowering mother out wide
Left over toast in her insides
A human form her rags provide
Out in all weather

A pirate hat that sits askew
With a cardboard sword she'll run you through
But as long as she can raise a kid or two
Out in all weather

When crafting together
Her art skills shown
Fall quite below
But she does the one thing that she's loved and known
Drawn goat to hone

If her mouth could shout and swear it would
Had she not a child that repeat it could
But her presence is enough to do some good
Out in all weather

But the day is sure, its a matter of fact
When the bairns get wise to her menacing act
That her image hides, conviction lacks
Out in all weather

With tantrums to weather
Through stubbornness shown
Until they're grown
She does the one thing that she's loved and known
With a very stern tone

Fearing for her pride
On the step they sit and moan
If her kids she could just tie
She'd have the time to shower alone

Right arm, left arm sitting on the fence
Leading a vote of confidence
The oldest one plans her offence
Out in all weather

And taking heed of the casting vote 
She squats and poos with a scornful gloat
Sitting proud on her mothers coat
Out in all weather

And I'm sure there'd be tears had she time to cry
For the mockery this scene implies
"Don't need the loo" was all just lies

With toys you just can't tether
Sat on her own
On a soft-toy throne
She fails at the only thing she's known
Making home

Thursday, 13 June 2013



Monday, 3 June 2013

Free Fall

So this week news reached us that Great Granda John had had A Fall. He's a great man of 80 years and the result was a broken hip which left him needing an operation. The family were obviously distressed at this news, and have had daily updates from Granny and we are assured that he is doing well.

This said, once the initial shock and worry had passed, it did lead me to wonder, at what age do you stop "Falling Over" and start to have "A Fall"? There is clearly a heightened sense of gravitas with "A Fall" than with merely stumbling over your own feet.

Now I'd like to point out that falling generally is very much a human thing, you never see Simba trip over his own paws in any of the out takes of the Lion King movies, and I owe this fact to our use of a tail, so to me, the concept of unsure footing is a puzzling one to begin with. But it does stand to reason that there are 'levels' of falling if your species is prone, how one judges this is, to me, a mystery.

One might assume that it is based on age, now with Great Granda John, a man of 80, it stands to reason that he would be described as having had "A Fall" rather than "He fell over". The same, I think, could be said of a man (or woman) of 70 years, but someone in their 60's? - well, this is Granda Oliver's epoch, and he's a man who still wears jeans and worries about his thick mop of hair, were he to unexpectedly find himself, as the dictionary puts it,

"moving downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level"

we would say the loon fell over, probably through tears of laughter, accompanied by some re-enactment for the benefit of those not present. So it cannot be attributed to age.

Nor, it would seem, can it be based on instability. Mam (30) for example, now weighs in at approximately 200st and is unable to control neither where her feet go, nor her weight distribution as she moves, and to those watching her simply walk, you would definitely say (albeit so she couldn't hear) that she is unstable at best. Were she to wobble groundwards we would still say she fell over, but perhaps without the laughing in her face that Granda Oliver would get. She, even in her fragile state, would not be said to have had the more serious incident of "A Fall".

Indeed, nor is it the circumstance in which the falling occurs, Grandad Howell (mid 50s) fell on some ice while getting out of his car, and nearly ran himself over, as it happened on that day, he hadn't put the handbrake on. However he was described as having "Fallen Over", (he was actually described by all who witnessed the incident and subsequently heard about it as "A Fool" and branded a laughing stock by his children but you get the gist). So if it's not age or fragility or circumstance that bump you up the Fall Chart, I am at a loss as to what does take you from a Mis-Step to "A Fall"...answers on a post card please, in case this Deer-like behaviour be contagious.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Week That Was

You'll all be pleased to hear that I am over the trauma of last week's real life nightmare. Although it must be said that I did spend the 3 days following, convalescing in the cot, thankful that Mu was able to be entertained by terrorising insects in the garden. I've declined the offer of counselling from Mickey Mouse.

In other news, Mam has now officially gone mad. Hormones have clearly got the better of her and she doesn't seem to even mind this fact. She has spent the last week cooking anything in sight and freezing it like a woman preparing for Nuclear War. Mu is having daily lessons in how to look after her Dollies in the hope that this will prep her for the immanent arrival of Baby number 2 and she topped off the week by, today, shaving a large patch of hair off the back of Dad's head...that'll teach him to ask a fat, hormonal woman to assist him in a hair cut.

Dad has spent most of the day mourning the loss of approximately 1 and 1/2 inches of hair, which although one might consider a small amount of hair loss for a man of 30, is apparently an issue. Seems Mickey's pastoral skills have been called upon to prevent a period of convalescing to rival my own. Mam's excuse for the hair incident of

"I was thinking about something else..." 

and her statement trying to make it seem sightly less worse than it actually was of

"Well, you did ask me to make sure there was no silly 'Rats Tail' style mullet..." 

did nothing to sooth his pain or stop him feeling the need to constantly stroke the back of his head. She is prepared to accept full responsibility for the fact that Dad does now look like a cancer victim as the only solution was to shave his whole head again to a number 1. This decision mainly due to the assessment of Mam being able to 'grade in the shaved patch", falling to a similar level of that of a blind hairdresser. Thank goodness I naturally moult...

Monday, 20 May 2013

2nd Star to the Left, & Straight on til Morning

I write this whilst still shaking from the trauma of what befell me today. What was once just the paranoid insanity of a New Mother turned into real life in just moments. It was like a real episode of 999 only without the knowledge we all had when watching, that it obviously all turned out ok in the end. I can't really tell you how it happened, it was all so quick, and the moments that followed were filled with my life flashing before me, which, as chronicled in 7 books to date, took quite a while...What had started out as an ordinary day trip to Toddlers turned into an ugly nightmare no one could have predicted, what follows is an account, built up from the testimonies of those present, of what happened...

After leaving the Toddler group, Mam lay Mu down in the pushchair in an attempt to get her to have an extra nap. I, strapped to the pushchair by my built in hook was next to Mu. Dad, being a man of many tasks was still helping to clear up the toys, assist mums to their cars, transport signs & adhere to the school "signing in policy" (the toddlers is run in a school nursery) meaning our journey home, approximately 500 yards, involved an excessive amount of to-ing & fro-ing. It's unclear at what point our usual fun filled afternoon took a turn for the worse, neither Mam nor Dad can recall the moment itself & asking Mu only resulted in a 4 minute babble, with lots of pointing & gesturing, to which we can't really be sure if she was talking about the same thing or not...however, what we do know is that I found myself in a position that you train & train for but always hope you'll never have to draw upon...with a rush of wind through my ribbon mane & a 2 & 1/2 turn double axle somersault I found myself face down on the pavement...yes my friends, I was A LOST TOY.

I'll let you drink in that last sentence for a moment. The reality of what this meant took a while to sink in with me as I lay there, gravel between my teeth, trying to maintain my stitched on smile while the panic welled up inside...however, as I was there contemplating whether on not my new status as lost would lead me to join a group of children who refuse to grow up, or a clan if 80s vampires, I found myself being lifted to the heavens and suddenly in the hands of Dad...

In desperate need of a paper bag, & "a clean pair of shorts", I heard the distant tones of a small boy state "Ere, ya baby's dropped its toy..." it was like the sweet melody of Elgars Cello Concerto and I was, with great thanks, clipped back onto the pushchair, my paws gripping the biscuit & banana encrusted straps like a hamster does your finger with its teeth.

The whole incident left me bereft of words & shaking so my built in Roar was constant...on reflection, the trauma of being lost did start to fade & as I reflected on the whole thing to Dolly upon my return, the most traumatizing thing was THAT NO ONE NOTICED I'D GONE...

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Bleachier Shade of Pale

So the "24 hour bug" that struck our house last week turned out to be a "5 day bug extravaganza". Why I continue to consult Mam on her medical opinion when she's clearly bonkers & practicing without a licence is beyond me. Still, it's all good now & contrary to my  initial Scouse inclined feelings on my state of health, I did not, in fact, die.

So we have entered a new week all freshly bleached & ready to go. Go where however is the question...due to the local SureStart Centre closing last week & living in an area where there are a total if 0 parks, community centres, or libraries & the nearest location that sports one of these, seemingly luxury facilities, being 2 bus rides away, fleecing you for £4.80, we shall in fact, be going no where. Thank goodness Mam is a trained youth worker,otherwise I might never be able to experience a 1 year old let lose with paint - there was no need for brushes as I was to hand, or experience Toddler Baking (this is not where we bake actual toddlers for any Social Workers reading this), or being fully immersed in Wet Play ( which after last week's nappies, took on a whole knew meaning, let me tell you...)

There are elements of a new job that are always a surprise, tasks that no one thought to mention at interview, even "evolving roles & responsibilities" which were not outlined in the advert or subsequent job description. There are other elements no one mentions for a reason...

When I say this, some would assume that I might be keen to advise the new baby's Favourite Toy when they are appointed, exactly what to response to that...HA! A lion needs some light hearted relief whilst being simultaneously blind sided with vomit,poo & anti bacterial spray...

Monday, 6 May 2013

24 hours

Today started with an early morning Aqua Zorb, followed by hangin' out in the sunshine (mainly on the washing line...) due to an even earlier morning vomit related incident from Mu. Things went down hill after that, however, as I have spent most of the rest of the day with my head in the toilet whilst Mam 'mists' my brow with Anti-Bacterial spray...

Am told it's one of those 24 hour not sure I'll last that long...

Monday, 29 April 2013

Fully Risk Assessed

'Though you may not realise it, I'm writing this to you in a whisper...while I understand that this translates about as well as movie trailers played on the radio (no, Radio 1, those clips don't enhance interviews), if you are reading this in a noisy place, might I suggest you take yourself off to a more secluded spot in order to feel its full gravitas.

Mu and I have been away for the weekend - WITHOUT MAM AND DAD. Yes, 17 months in and we've finally been allowed out on our own. Well, not technically on our own, we went to stay with Gran and Grandad, who it turns out were health and safety inspectors in former lives as it was, without doubt the safest 48 hours I've ever experienced. The lengths that were gone to, to ensure our upmost safety did, quite frankly, render me speechless. Swings had a minimum height restriction meaning they were barely swung at all, baths had a maximum temperature gauge which meant they were in no way too hot, or in fact warm, and we were back to pureed food as the fear of choking scored too highly on the Pre-Arrival Risk Assessment.

The one source of potential fun was a visit to a small village craft fair, however, Uncle Dom put a stop to any kind of Fun Fair jollity as he informed Grandad that the Swing Carousel (a Carousel with swings instead of horses on it) that myself, Grandad and Mu were queuing for, was far too dangerous for us as he, a man of 22, had been driven to tears during its 2 and 1/2 rotations. The lowest point was when Mu was forced to wear a Tea Cosy, purchased from a nearby craft stall, as a hat, as the spring breeze was deemed too strong for her, I lost all ability to speak when her ears started to poke out of the holes meant for tea pot handles and spouts, interestingly, no one answered Mam when she questioned why Mu kept touching her ears upon our return.

My speechless audacity was soon cured when we returned home, Grandad, worried that my Roar had fallen out at his house, pointed out my lack of chat, Mam's answer was to bash my head on the sofa til an utterance was heard, during which I started to wish for a Tea Cosy of my own...

Monday, 22 April 2013

War, huh, yeah...

Today, I have seriously considered chewing off my own ears...

...or at the very least getting Mu's Giant Bean Bag Penguin to temporarily un-sitch them (although he is without an official name, we call him Cath Kidston...not to his face...the word Giant didn't just slip into the above sentence).

Between Mu's constant cries, refusal to use her legs & incessant drilling from the visiting electrician (we do now have a working cooker, but now no lights upstairs...) I found myself wishing, at one point during the day, I hadn't been quite so rash in calling The Last Battle, The Last Battle and hoping no one picks me up for false advertising.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Another Extreme Sports Day

So Mu has discovered a new game, let me paint the scene for you...

Mam and Dad have a scatter-back-cushion sofa. (For those not familiar, and to those whom a cushion is a waste of time, I suggest you check out DFS or some other good furniture store for a definitive definition of what this is.) Mu's new game is to demand the 5 cushions that form the scatter-back to be taken off the sofa and thrown onto the floor. She then stands at the other side of the living room and, grinning, runs towards the cushions until they trip her up and she is flung air-ward and lands on them (the woman is fearless, she also attempts this at playgrounds, swimming pool changing rooms and whenever there is a cast iron fence nearby.) Anyway, she, Mam and Dad think this is hilarious, Dad has also been known to cast himself skyward dragging Mu with him. Nothing to write home about thus far you may think, and I will confess to having enjoyed the entertainment factor of this activity, in a way, rather like watching Britain's Got Talent - you don't want to watch, but you can't not look...however...

Cue the immortal words of Mam during tonights WWE Royal Rumble...

"Ooo, Mu, do you think Aslan would like a turn?"

When once I thought there was nothing worse than the regular Aqua Zorbing Class she insists I attend, this Wrestlemania had me crying out for the sting of water and Persil running into my eyes. You've never known fear until you've been dragged at great force by a toddler, who then hurls themselves into the air, with no evidence in their life so far that they have any sense of direction or any guarantee they'll still be holding your built-in hoops when they land.

It's also got me googling WWE Wrestlers as, should this become a regular, post-tea occurrence, I'm way out of my depth when it comes to a costume or a Wrestling Name...

In answer to your question, Mam "NO! Aslan would not like a turn...who would?"

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

All Bets Frozen...

We have now entered the "Home Straight" with only 8-10 weeks left until Mu's brother or sister arrives, and talk in the Toy Tub has turned from odds on a boy or a girl (all initial protests as to the appropriateness of Big Ted running a book on this have now been laid to rest as most have now had a flutter), to who will be the newest recruit to join the ranks. Obviously a new baby means a new position of Favourite Toy has been created and Toy Tub Talk seems to be going along the lines of a Pre-Baby-Arrival appointment, meaning it will be a none gender specific toy.

For me it means a counter-part, someone who will understand the pressures of the role, which is limited for the other toys with whom I work. Yes, they are most sympathetic to the nature of the job, yes they have flinched as they have seen the result of teething and amateur push chair driving, but none can really truly understand unless one has actual experience of the job itself.

While it's safe to say I was appointed to the role as a novice, with Mam & Dad taking a chance on a new lion with no formal experience in the allotted role, interview feedback did state that they saw real potential in me during the process of appointment. But despite this I can't help but feel, as I remember back to my day of purchase, that it was a rather fraught affair, far too close to Christmas, in an over-crowed Metro Centre, with Mam attempting her first public feed (feed of Mu, not of herself) and Dad all too carried away with being allowed out of the house for the first time in 2 weeks. Which leads me to wonder whether their decision was a hasty - albeit correct - one? Thus letting me conclude that, were I to be consulted in the matter of my fellow Favourite Toy's appointment, I would like someone with some previous experience as well as an empathetic ear. Yet, I fear I will not be part of the process as seemingly it will fall to Dad, who's drafted in Mu as his assistant, to pick the person for the role. Coupling my knowledge of how giddy he gets at this sort of thing with Mu's current obsession with spiders & dogs, I can only imagine what they will return with for the unsuspecting sibling.

It is with this in mind I have drafted the following Job Specification should Dad wish to be rational about this. I am aware that my name did have A LOT to do with the decision to give me the job, as Mam had insisted throughout her pregnancy with Mu that Aslan Tumnus Oliver was a suitable name for a child. Thankfully she hasn't expressed any such naming horrors this time around, mainly as she's been pre-occupied with Big Macs...

Child's Favourite Toy

  • Previous experience essential - but not to the extent that parts of you are falling off and could be eaten.
  • Empathetic Ear - therefore must be an animal that has actual ears.
  • Ability to work as part of a growing team -  as to how big this team may grow is TBC, Mam has been spotted watcthing "16 Kids & Counting" but unsure as to her conclusion of this programme.
  • Ability to rationalise the un-rational - This, I feel, is self explanatory.
  • Securely fastened hook - Push Chair Driving remains at novice level, especially as the introduction of a double push chair is being brought into the mix.
  • Washable - because, in no way will Mam adhere to your labels instructions to "Surface wipe with a damp cloth only".

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Highlights

So it's been a while...4 months to be exact...and whist I can't excuse my lack of commitment to Blog I will say the pressure of 4 followers did get to me and a break was needed to ensure I stayed sane. Fear not, however, as I now find myself with time on my hands and able to resume a weekly update on life This Side. I will also give you a break down of what would have been Blogged had I not forgotten about it, so you won't have missed out on anything...I can hear your sigh of relief.

15th November - Date of last post, and Public Apology which we shall leave there.

22nd November - Mam starts downward spiral of morning sickness resulting in some household chores being unattended thoughts return to the dustballs of previous posts and I start to store up supplies.

29th November - Morning sickness now at an all time low, Mam taken to hospital and dad steps in to    
run house, look after us all & work 2 jobs...this is not going to end well.

6th December - Mu celebrates first birthday, I get all teary eyed as I reminisce of the past year - mainly of a time when there was hot food, clean underwear and the house smelt less like it was rotting from the's good, but it's clear things are way beyond his control.

13th December - Mu's first birthday party. Mam has managed to raise her head out the toilet for 3 days straight now and there's none more thankful than dad for the Anti-Sickness tablets that she currently cradles like a baby.

20th December - with Christmas looming and Mam definitely on the back foot, Christmas-Prep has gone into overdrive.

27th December - On holiday for the week...wish you were here...

3rd January - HAPPY NEW YEAR! Mam now back on form and dad back to doing what he does best, Mu now in possession of every large toy she could think of - Ladybird ride-on, dolls pram, 2 tents, a collapsable tunnel, a giant bean bag penguin and a oversized inflatable duck bath - and, having had a birthday, followed two weeks later by Christmas, now expecting another deluge of gifts in the next week as this seems, in her eyes, to be how we roll as a family now...

10th January - Mu's first snow, and the delights of being dragged round the back garden on a tea-tray have been all hers.

17th January - nothing happened.

24th January - visit to Liverpool and more snow, Mu now upgraded from the Tea Tray to a professional sledge, which, while the size of dad, has been customised with ribbon and a Bumbo Seat for Mu's use.

31st January - Dad informs Mam that they have missed the 2nd birthday of their only niece thus meaning other Aunts (and Uncles) clawing ahead of her in the Favourite Auntie Chart...Mam off to find super-awesome gift to elbow Auntie Gretchen out of the running for top spot - she's only been a real Auntie since the summer.

7th February - Nothing happened

14th February - Valentines Day and Mam's most hated day of the year, thus the day has been mostly filled with rants on the commercialisation of love and relationships, and how this is responsible for the state we find ourselves in as a society. I spend most of the day in the porch, closely monitoring for any sign of giving or receiving of cards and/or gifts for Mu, my main source of concern being the local Pastors sons who have taken quite a shine to her since her arrival, be they 3 and 1 respectively. Not on this lions watch my sons...not on this watch...

21st February - mam now size of small house and current pregnancy craving is Big Macs meaning McDs now confident of beating the recession.

28th February - Mam spends all week planning and packing for weekend away.

7th March - Dad turns 30 and Mam is super-excited at finding the perfect gift for missed nieces birthday - a Sylvainian Family and car accessory - so what if its aged 4+ and contains parts so tiny borrowers couldn't even use them...

14th March - House issues hit an all time low, currently we have no shower (broken since December), heating that doesn't quite heat up, and as of this week the cooker blew up...Mam and dad taken it all in their stride however, and a blitz spirit has descended on the house. Not sure what our guests, due to visit this weekend, will make of the situation however. Grandad's concern was where Mam was going to sleep 8 people in our 3 bed house, Mam felt this would be the least of their concerns when they turned up and realised they were staying at Beamish...

21st March - restart Blog.