Re: Session









In the midst of a recession and England goes bezerk with looting and pillaging in several major cities.  The complaint: “We are skint.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, me too.  And they only thing I’ve robbed this week is my son’s piggy bank for some bus fayre.  Don’t judge me… he owes me big time for years (and years) of service that started even before he was born.  There are things that no ‘don’t touch-my-sides-it-tickles-and-I’ll-fart’ back massages, Slimfast ‘shake-so-much-cos-you’re-starving’ diets or pelvic ‘don’t-soak-the-floor-when-you-laugh’ exercises have managed to fix and the kids are paying for it now.  In two pence pieces, damn them!  I’m pretty sure they run to hide the shiny stuff the moment they see me checking the sofa bank for dropped lose change.

My son's piggy bank would like me to point out this is not my son's piggy bank

People may think it’s a financially hard life raising five children.  Not true.  Five children means five piggy banks to raid on skint days and three teenagers means triple Irn Bru bottle returners. Cha-ching!  Anyhoo, we’re rich in love. (Hey, they read this).

But don’t feel sorry for them because while they are on these long summer holidays from school, I’ve been paying them small sums for everything to keep them amused and me distraction free.  Gardening, ironing, dusting, their silence… And my daughter even has a protection racket going with her big brother, whereby she tidies his room so I don’t kill him for the mess and he pays her with some of the money I just gave him for doing it.  Everyone of them an entrepreneur and shyster!

Poignant tweet of the week from me: “Just been for weeks supplies with my last £70. Got carrots, potatoes and petrol.”  This was very nearly true.  £70 has filled the very back row of my cupboards and one shelf in the fridge.  There’s currently a huge pot of soup on the stove to last all week and we’re forced to share showers.  At least, that’s what I’m making him think.. (shhh! It’s romantic; even if you can only keep one cheek warm at a time) 😉

The Luteing joke - which has been done and will be done again no doubt

The wave of highly sympathetic replies from other Mum’s after said tweet proved to me what the majority of decent folk know: we are ALL skint just now.  Except the Scottish couple that just scooped the biggest win ever in the Euromillions draw. Who strangely haven’t answered ANY of my letters…

So stop looting.  Unless you’re a baroque session musician.. If so, as you were!


Star Stalking Across The Twitterverse

Have you ever noticed how people love to brag when they finally get that elusive tweet from their idols?  And after only a hundred and fifty nine arduous hours of trying? Aparently, you can set mobile alerts so that the second your favourite celebrity tweets, you can immediately respond and get noticed at the top of a timeline.  Useful. Given that it probably looks a lot like the current email inbox of every CEO from a company that advertises in The News of The World.  I hate doing all that 😉

Recently, one of my older brothers joined Twitter and immediately began tweeting all his heroes.  Note: none of them were me!  What’s that about?  Since I don’t call him Pig Face anymore, I do think we’ve moved on since we were enbroiled in childish sibling rivalry and can be occasional ‘his-brandy’ sharing friends.  Maybe my suggesting the name @PigFace for Twitter didn’t help?  Anyhoo, it is amusing to watch him chatter away to himself like the days of our youth after he went first in a game of ‘Take It In Turns To Stay Awake’ at night.  ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

While my brother is  busy telling @themichaelowen that Ryan Giggs should win ‘Player of the Year,’ there are thousands of poor young girls tweeting “hey @jtimberlake *cough* it’s National Kissing Day!”  Like he’s going to realise he forgot and spend all day reading all the messages and post x’s to everyone.  Justin – leave me out OK? I’m fine.  (…Love you X)

But seriously. Stop going on about famous folk tweeting you.  You are but one second in their thoughts… wait..I was one second in their thoughts?!?

And PLEASE don’t send comedians your bad taste jokes in a sad attempt to get noticed.

I know who the culprits are….

In Edinburgh on 19th July?  Go see the wonderfully funny (and incredibly kind) Jo Caulfield’s Stand Collective
PS. Don’t tell her I let the ‘kind’ thing out of the bag…. 😉

Top Five Reasons To Have a Blog Called Top Five Reasons

I’ve been reading up on how to attract a larger blog readership and the consensus is, create an eyecatching, numbered list post. So here is mine.  Like it?  If four hundred of you do then the blog bloffins are right.

This morning I tweeted that I was going jogging for the first time and instantly, lots of personal trainers began following me on Twitter.  Sorry guys, I can’t afford you but it was fun looking at all your avatar pictures,  I worked up a sweat all over again!  Which leads me to the reason I have now left the local gym.  Apart from my new, I’m going to write and be sucessful yes-I-am poverty, there was that embarrassing point in my induction day when, by the time I’d been given a tour of the gym by the gorgeous, half my age fitness instructor, I was embarrassed to discover I could retrace my steps to get back out again easily by following the line of drool.

So, having painstakingly jogged to the bank – the shop – and then home again today, here are my top five reasons to take up running.  Afterall, I’m an expert now(!):

  1. You can terrify lone female dog walkers with your heavy breathing
  2. Impossibly gorgeous men pass you and nod to show their respect at your fitness efforts.  NB check they aren’t trying to make you aware that your oversized leggings are slipping down your backside before nodding back though..
  3. You only live once. May as well make it hurt to feel alive.
  4. It makes your lungs stronger.  Your kids will love you for being able to shout more effectively and passive smoking will be much less of an effort.
  5. It increases your metabolism.  Because you never know when you might need to strengthen your faith in metabs.

I’m off to drink a smoothie to continue my ‘holier than thou quest,’ although judging by the state of my running socks this might be mission achieved.  Five parts vodka = 5 a day right?

Culturally speaking I’m Ignorant

Note to self: When someone in an Art Gallery asks you in an interview situation if you have heard of Peter Howson the answer is not

“isn’t he that actor from Bread?”

I actually scare myself when I try to act all cultured and knowledgeable about the arts, but in truth I never had to do it in important, gis-a-job-please situations before now. In the past it’s just been something I’ve casually thrown into conversation when trying to impress a new fella who happened to turn up to a date wearing a tie (therefore pre-determined as a man of culture in my world). You know,    things l that really grab the rich guy, like

“Where are we Van Goghing then?” *snort*

Yep, this is why I’m still poor…

But here’s the thing; I had arranged to meet with the management of the Glasgow based gallery for a little chat and so perused their website for a good few hours to do my homework and for the first time in my life, I fell in love with art.  Just like that!  Not that I could ever afford to buy any.  But the job clincher may have been my not-so-considered question, after a tour of the gallery:

“Coo, can you pay me in paintings?”

The children are now overjoyed to know that dinner this evening will be beans on toast, under a Joe O’Brien masterpiece…. AS IF!

Love To My Kids – When Are You Leaving Home Again?

Tweeted by me last night:

“I don’t know.. can’t a woman walk round her own house in her underwear without her kids begging her to get them a psychiatrist?”

A lot of my tweets are tongue in cheek and many are based on some version of true goings on in our bustling household.  On this occasion, the request for psychiatric intervention was quite real.  But then, my twelve year old son has a wit twice the speed of my own.  In fact, I’m often heard telling him what a charming little wit he truly is…

If you’re a parent, you won’t need me to tell you there is NOTHING like having kids to boost your self image.   Attempting to trip quickly from the bathroom into my bedroom in my undies one night, I ran smack bang into two of my sons, leaving them with looks of shock – and terror – on their faces. Here was the ensuing conversation:

Eldest: “Oh well, I’ve seen worse.”

Youngest (looking appalled):

“HOW have you seen worse?!?”

When I said, “My son has Childline on speed dial.  Suddenly beating him has become an exhilarating race,”  that was of course, not true.  But a very real fantasy.  We Mum’s need visualisations to get us through since the lovely Clare Rayner spearheaded a ‘don’t smack the children’ campaign here in Britain.  OK, I concur.  But can I just occasionally ‘pffft’ them with a tea towel as they walk by, purely for therapeutic reasons?

It’s the simple pleasures I live for…

Five Go Swimming – that’s me under the lilo. Just before I let them all down 😉

The Day The World Ended

The beginning of the end of the world came and went yesterday starting with punishments from hell, including fire and brimstone raining down on me and an earth shattering BOOM!  It’s good to have Mother and her humungous, oh-my-God-how-long-is-she-here-for suitcase staying over again…

Sorry Mother – I jest of course 😀

Some people were expecting a visit from the Grim Reaper yesterday, but the only beast I encountered this week was “Dopey Daisy the Coo,” who made me launch an open bag of rubbish three feet across my back pathway in shock when I stepped outside to the dustbin and found her looking at me.  After hastily checking the fridge, I promised there was no Cravendale milk within before chasing her down the driveway with a cowboy-style “YAHHH!”  Well, that’s how it works in the movies.  Dopey Daisy understood, and scarpered back to the open gate our local farmer regularly fails to repair, resulting in all of my children being expert sheep herders. We are used to the occasional smattering of woolly visitors to the garden and roadsides, but this is the first time we’ve had our milk personally delivered from the source.

When I posted this story on Facebook to my family and friends this week, there were exclamations of “oh my goodness, how did you get rid of it?”  and “ooh, aren’t you brave?”  But as a fairly regular hiker with children in tow, I’m used to protecting my brood from various Scottish beasties and shouting out common sense safety advice like, “stay away from the female midges, they bite.  But don’t worry about the guys.”

Thanks to years of tender, sensible don’t-go-into-the-light motherly advice like this, my poor kids live in a permanent state of confusion and giggledom. (It IS a word in our house).  Why they even continue to flourish, despite my letting them loose with sharp implements during bouts of soup making – much to other people’s despair – and allowing them to make their own cups of tea.  “Yikes,” says Grandmother with annoying regularity.  My response: “They are never going to learn self preservation if I don’t place them in mortal danger once or twice a day.”  So anyway Social Services, my address is…

Well, as we’re all still alive today let’s get back to good living.  I have a glass of red wine for the pot roast and two for me waiting.

See you again perhaps???


On sunny days I like to sit in the conservatory and write because it’s peaceful and prevents distractions from the internet.  But then, two things are guaranteed to happen.

Firstly, sensing my presence with uncanny insight, ‘That Cooking Fat’ jumps onto the windowsill from outside to let me know she wants to come in.


I turn away.  So she walks all the way round to my side window and sits facing me.


I’m actually determined she won’t win.

A few seconds later she’s in and perched on top of my writing pad, purring and rubbing her chin all over my face, just in case I didn’t see her there.

The second thing that always happens is that a child walks into the room and switches on CBBC before walking out again never to return two minutes later.  For the next hour, That Cooking Fat and I are staring mindlessly at children’s television programmes, with my occasionally letting out a guffaw as I do truly ‘get’ kiddie humour.  I’m not really sure what that says about me, but feel free to offer your opinion..

So I’m making a blog note to always write in the morning, when all people below five foot are at school and all pets, hopefully ever remaining under five foot, are full bellied and out chasing swallows.

It is hard to kick your own butt into gear when you don’t have a boss on your back screaming deadlines at you.  And incentive is missing because no one is actually paying you to do anything yet.   I promised me when I gave up my job to ‘find myself,’ I would have more time to be the kind of perfect mum/housewife I always dreamed I’d be at the same time.  The family home would be a shiny, dustfree palace; the children would be glowing with health from cordon bleu cook-it-from-scratch cuisine and we’d all have drawers full of freshly pressed teeshirts everyday.  Never again would my man be forced to wear a jumper on hot days because he or I couldn’t find time to iron him a shirt.  And I’d go to children’s plays and parents evenings to confirm my place in the mummy playground gang.  I didn’t have to enjoy them, did I?

Looking around me now reader, (bit presumptious I know…) I see some of last nights dinner, all of today’s rice cake droppings and some oddly coloured splashes all over the floor tiles, mixed apetizingly with little clumps of ginger cat hair.  In a tightly closed off cupboard behind me lies a pile of clothes dubbed ‘Mount Ironest’ by the whole family.  And the exciting, healthy homemade fayre?  Well, now I have given up a salary to attempt to write under a cats arse, I know fifty ways to make a packet of Tesco’s own chicken portions last a fortnight.  Beat that Mr Jamie I’ll-show-you-how-to-feed-a-family-for-a-fiver Oliver (with your sundried tomatoes and vanilla pods).

As for the mummy playground gang, I still can’t stand women who have nothing to do but talk about cats, housework, cooking and kids….

So anyway.  What do you think of ACDC? *skips off playing air guitar like the cool ‘mother’ I am*

The Blog That Isn’t a Blog

Yes, my title is a tribute to Peter Kay, who had me rolling and laughing at the SECC last month.  Thanks Peter; I rocked!

So, if you’re like me you peer at blogs for a total of ten seconds then move on to surfing the net for gag inspiring material.  And I don’t mean trying to find the elusive LEAKED! Osama Bin Laden’s death video that’s planting a virus in your Facebook account as you read because you just couldn’t help but click it.  My link, by the way, will explain to you why you shouldn’t.

So I’ll make this brief..

A Fall to See a Fall

This week began with an interesting parallel – Osama Bin Laden was shot after resisting arrest armed with nothing but wife number three’s kneecaps and on the same day, I fell arse first into the River Nevis resisting what I thought would be a way too perilous rope bridge.  As it turned out, the stepping stone crossing I took by detour to get a closer look at the magnificent Steall Falls was WAY more perilous.  I don’t take slipping off wet rocks lightly either.  Flailing around at a complete horizontal, (and not in a good way), making sure even my head got soaked for the amusement of a LOT of Bank Holiday tourists was much more my style.  My bruised and battered ego began to get better when I spied five family members rushing towards me with worried looks on their faces.  Then I heard,

“My phone!”
“My fags!”
“My jumper!”

I was then further soaked as they splashed about all around me rescuing the various articles I had been carrying for everyone.  Kids.  You gotta love ’em.  They ‘don’t gotta’ care a crap about you…

See the photo’s from the family jaunt through Nevis Gorge – sorry to disappoint – there’s none of me falling in.

Thanks.  You have been watching @hell4heather.  Do come back again – hell, bring friends!



British Author and Comedy Writer

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