Hey look! The sun's out and there are clear blue skies all over Cheesetown. Up in the woods there are definitely buds on some trees, and snowdrops are starting to poke through.
Ned has forgiven me for last night's shampoo and trim, and is elegantly wafting the scent of Tesco's Vanilla and Peach No Tears Shampoo and Conditioner through the house.
And on the back road between Cheesetown and the nearest M&S Emporium, I am singing along with my pal Lucinda Williams. It's warm enough to get the roof of the Mazda down.
That's how good it is.
I've got a job!
A better job than the one I had before!

And before I need to change the music to Steven Patrick (I was looking for a job and then I found a job/ And heaven knows I'm miserable now) Morrissey, before I need to worry about dog care and child care in the holidays, before the reality of walking the Nedster at half six every weekday morning kicks in, I'm going to enjoy it.

Look it worked out. Lost a stinking job to be there for W though his last months, had the time to look out for Cherub. Got job.

Because I am OFFICIALLY the best

Posted on 07:03 In:
Look!!! It only took three weeks, and about ten hours to convince them....but having called in the EXPERTS it is official.


And I am the only person in the Lothians who can say that.

We have called in the EXPERTS

Posted on 20:12 In:
No news is good news.

My recruitment consultant phoned to let me know that the small boutique counting house, which is now in possession of three test papers from myself and A N Other, has called in the experts.
Said testing experts will today be Interpreting the Results.

The Unforgiven

Posted on 10:33 In:

This blog comes with a warning that it is not for the squeamish...

Even non-dog lovers have to admit Ned is a good looking dog. Hey I can say this... But look, because he is so smart, handsome, and gorgeous it's easy to forget his origins. Without being too snotty about this, he came from a farm. He's a working dog, from a proud line of working farm animals.
And as I've pointed out lately, that gives us something else in common, what with being workers with nothing to do....ahem, I digress.
It appears that the DEVIL finds WORK for idle Collies.

This morning while I was getting ready to take him out he started making a noise. It was as if he was trying to blow bubbles.
Pacing up and down the hall, blowing bubbles. This would be a new thing even for Ned.
It's not worrying me, because it's quite funny.

So there I am in the hall, down at eye level with him, seeing if he's OK, when, erm...how can I put this... he barfs up a half digested squirrel.

Yeah, you read that right.

Yes I am quite sure.

I made myself look at it.
Look at the length of the tail column, still attached, the back legs and innards have gone, but the front paws and jaw are still there.
It's mainly bleached white, but covered in what I'm assuming is last night's dinner.


And every time I look at it it gets worse.
The half digested squirrel guts on my hall carpet.
These are the times when you want your mummy - then realise You Are Mummy. Macy - it's you who is going to have to scoop and dispose of the curdling rodent remains.

The Nedster has been told.
The dirty paw marks and mud smeared across the walls are par for the course.
The humping of every blonde Labrador he meets is a dog thing. Amends can be made.
But the barfing up of half digested vermin on my feet. That gets filed under unforgivable.

We have one friend less

Posted on 11:26 In:
Yes, yes, yes. One day (anytime soon in fact), I will have unalloyed Good News to report. The background of the blog will change to a lovely lively pink, I will blog away on such happy topics as the Flowers and Birdsong here in Cheesetown...

But bear with me. We're not there yet.

George has died.

I haven't mentioned George specifically. He was an older guy Ned and I met when we first moved over here. Like us he was out walking most mornings. He was from London originally, but had fairly settled into Cheesetown. Quiet, laid back, loads of friends round about the place.
He liked Ned, though he worried about him everytime he ran off after rabbits. Bit of a health and safety guy, old George.

First I heard about it was from Petal.. She was upset, what with George and her being together for over 9 years.

It was a tumour. Massive tumour. The vet said it was kindest to let him sleep.

That's the trouble with dogs. You get attached to them - even the ones that aren't your own. Mornings aren't the same without old boxer dog George to worry after Ned.

Sleep tight George.


Posted on 16:57 In:
Look. A quiet blog. No entries for three whole days now.
All is silence.
No updates.
No new photos.
Whilst Macy does STUFF.

Lots of STUFF in fact.

Stuff she can't blog about, because to do that will JINX it.

But go on GUESS....

How's the Cherub Doing?

Posted on 19:00 In: ,

So how is the Cherub doing?
No idea. Really. I'm his mum and I HAVE NO IDEA.
But then I have no idea how he's supposed to be either. If this is "A Journey" as so many would have us believe, the best that can be said is that it's certainly a journey without maps.

He was close to his dad. It was W who looked after him each day after school, and W who took him to badminton, football, rugby matches.
His dad was also much better than me at playing on the XBox. But so far he hasn't cried much.

He was crying quietly as he held his dad's hand on the last couple of days, but trying not to let W see. The night his dad died, he cried just a little bit. At the funeral he didn't cry at all. But then I don't know if he should. He is 13 years old, and most adults prefer to do their crying in private.

On the night his dad died, he sat up with myself and Sparkle till about one in the morning. Then we sat up in his bed reading old picture books and Dr Seuss. He was sleeping when his dad's body was carried out. Luckily. Because they had trouble getting the stretcher through the hall.

And since then, you know, he keeps on going. We've looked out a picture of his dad for his room. We avoid watching TV programmes which remind us of W - Family Guy, The Wire (W had just got addicted, but never got to series 4). The Cherub is resolute in NOT wanting to go visit his dad's old flat. But equally upset if he hears of photos and things being given away.

I don't know how much of this "being OK" is a front, and how much is his still being in shock at what happened.

This week he's been laid up on the sofa. He has a temperature, no appetite, and no interest in anything other than old DVDs and telly.

I think it's finally caught up with him.

Anyone looking for blog updates recently might have noticed that I have been Very Busy; a small boutique counting house in Edinburgh needs a Funds Accountant. Obviously I am their girl; I just need to re-assure them on that point.

On the first working day on January I went to interview them for the first time. I met Sam and Martin. As usual in a first interview I cover the usual ground, all the years of experience managing funds, yep, and sorting stuff, yup, and looking after people, of course.

And my first interview goes so well I get a second interview. Except that this is a Rigorous Selection Process so first I will:
Meet with another fund accountant at small boutique counting house. She's pregnant. We discuss babies, men, working for them, ah , yes, we bond.
Meet with the Finance Director. He used to work at the same Big American Bank I did. He lasted three months there. We agree we don't like them. Compare notes on who we met there. Yep. I passed that one.
Do a test scenario, where I must make a presentation from a folder of information they have given me 15 minutes earlier. I ad lib wildly. It seems to go well

Finally, two hours after first entering the building, I have a structured interview. When I can see they have run out of paper to take notes, I stop talking.

My recruitment consultant phones the next day to confirm - They Like Me! I have passed the second stage!!! All four stages of the second stage in fact!!

But woah!!! Hold the celebrations....Now there will be a third stage - three test papers to test my numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and personality.

Sweet Baby Cheeses... In my own past life I've agreed to emigrate on less evidence...

Your Mother is WHAT???

Posted on 09:52 In:
Like every other S2 kid in Scotland, the Cherub is being taught a European language - presumably all the better to make new friends abroad when our wee nayshun state finally devolves from the union.
Luckily the Cherub's other language is French; having managed to work my way through a first level degree course, I can help with the revision.

His next class conversation will be about his family (what is it about Q'Ferry High and their obsession with families?? chiz). He has noted down some phrases which will be useful. He has been memorising them.

Ned is a dog Ned est un chien
I live in Cheesetown. J'habite Cheeseville
My father is dead. Mon pere est mort
I have an uncle and granny in New Zealand J'ai un oncle et grandmere en Nouvelle-Zelande.
My mother is boring....Ma mere est WHAT???? What am I? WHAT???
Shrugs, "Couldn't think of any other word..."

Couldn't think of any other word? What about gorgeous, funny, talkative, sweet, smart? Huh? How can you describe your mum, her that can beat you at Mario Kart, her that can tell the difference between Dr Dre and G Unit, her that drives the wee Penelope Pitstop car as fast as possible BORING?????

Another shrug [he thinks he can get away with this....] Well I didn't have long to think...

But it's too late, High Dugeon has been reached. I am not my mother's daughter for nothing...
Cheeses, I'm still lukewarm gossip around here after moving to Glasgow with the Dybbuk!!! Then heading back three years later !!

I'm enjoying this immensely actually. Pots and pans are rattling as I get the dinner together.

Could have mentioned I am POOR BUT HAPPY
Could have said I have travelled widely
Could even have said I AM A GREAT SINGER
Heh heh yeah RIGHT
Could have said I am super fabby wonderful stylish...
OK OK you're not boring! Look.
Ma mere est dramatique

Drama queen? Yeah. Good one. I'll settle for drama queen.

Spiritualists - No Need

Posted on 17:02 In:
Behold - I refuse to write about SNOW. Mainly because I imagine Canadians and Swedes snickering at our complaining about a miserable 10cm for the past two weeks.

Snowbound as I am here in Cheesetown, I'm putting up a ghost story. Call it something for the long snowbound days and nights...

Sometimes when I write here, I am economical with the truth; mainly to respect feelings and privacy of other people who didn't ask for their existence or comments to be PUBLISHED.
But I never lie.
And I'm not lying now. This is a true story. It happened to me, and you can chose to believe it or not.

Many many many years ago, when I first moved down to London, I was sharing a house with a small neurotic Gujarati. Sas was a small, gin drinking, chain smoking Indian, with a long term white boyfriend, who had led her parents to believe that she was a small teetotal, clean living virgin.
Her parents wanted to arrange a marriage. You can see the problem.

Many gin soaked nights were spent whilst Sas considered her options. Finally she decided that the most sensible option was for her to see a fortune teller. The fortune teller would solve everything. I had no idea how a fortune teller is meant to resolve all this, but, whatever, it's a free day trip down to Rochester with Sas. We will see fortune teller, see Rochester, see pub, solve all problems.
And yes, I'll see a fortune teller too, to keep her company.

First sign of trouble was when we arrived at the fortune teller's shop. Fortune tellers don't have shops where I come from, Their fame means you don't need to advertise. But here we are. Second sign of trouble was when it became clear that the "fortune teller" was actually a spiritualist.

OK. No. I do not do spiritualists. Without getting technical about this, there are a hundred reasons why it would be wrong.
But we're here. And Sas wants me to go first.
So I'm in a small room, with a woman I KNOW is a charlatan. And if she expects me to give her any help whatsoever, she has another think coming.

The fishing questions start. Do I know a James?
Everyone knows a James!!! Pfffrt. No the name means nothing to me.
She sees a Mary here...
Pffft. Yeah right. Mary. No the name means nothing to me.
There is a woman here with a strong accent.
Yep that would be because as a Glaswegian in the south of England, I've got one. No, that rings no bells.
My "spiritualist" is getting a little bit ratty after twenty minutes of this. "Look, you need to give me some help here" she actually says that.
I am getting ready to get out of there when she suddenly comes out with the goods.
"OK. I see a man. His name is Bill, and he's standing on the other side. He's standing, holding a child by the hand. And he has a message for Nan. He wants her to know that it's OK. Everything's OK now, and he wants to say sorry."


In the pub later, Sas and I held a post mortem on the fortune telling session. After hearing how the fortune teller had resolved nothing for Sas, I considered whether to tell her or not.

The "spiritualist" had managed to give me the name of my dad, who'd died the previous June, with a message for "Nan", my mum. Oh yeah, and Bill and Nan had had another kid before me, who died in infancy.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Posted on 10:08 In:

I am starting to parcel up a couple of things of W's to send out as mementos to friends elsewhere and his family in NZ.
There is his old flat, which will need cleared (sometime, eventually, no rush); it's full of him, and stuff.
Stuff that preceded us as a couple (African wood carvings, his backgammon set, music); stuff that we generated as a couple (South American rugs, Thai and Indonesian carvings, books, music); stuff that he gathered after us, (souvenirs of the last trip to NZ, pottery, music and DVD's he and the Cherub amassed). And photos, photos, slides, prints, albums.
As he said, not long before he died, we were both hoarders.

By August and September of last year he was already giving a lot away. Because he would have known who he wanted the individual items to go to. But, deep down I think he was expecting to see out Christmas at the outside. And he loved his home, and, well, whatever, it falls to others to actually break it up now..

So I stand in the flat, and focus, and wait for ideas.
His cousin Moira is getting his backgammon set, a couple of small carvings, NZ CDs and a notebook - on the basis that that last one is personal.
El Rocko - who gave such a great thumping memorial at his funeral, and as his long term cohort on real ale trips, needs to get all his real ale mementos, and the photo of Rocko himself framed, dancing on ice Iceland, New Year 1994 (THAT was a good new year!)
Bruce, has already specifically asked for the CDs played during his last visit to W.
His uncle was a minister in NZ. W had previously never shown any deep attachment to any church. But in his last weeks he did ask for a minister at his funeral. He was visited here by Cheesetown's local minister, and I did find a bible in his flat. So Uncle Von will get that bible, plus the photos he had inside it.

The first of my parcels is ready. So on the 12th day of Christmas, I trudge through the snow to dispatch to NZ, Spain, and Glasgow.

Like everything else in Cheesetown, the PO is small and the service gets personal.
"This you been buying your presents in the New Year Sales then?". Oh let's not go into that old chestnut about Scots being Careful with Money...

"Ha ha! No not really. This is just me doing someone elses posting for them!"

Little Ms Super Sunshine

Posted on 10:35 In:

I've noticed a bit of a tendency to look on the dark side lately.

Like this morning. Most mornings Ned and I end up having a chat with old Mac, on our way up to the woods.

This morning old Mac is hunched down in his anorak and thermal hat. "Two more weeks tae go, and ah'm away yi know."

Two more weeks to go???? And he's gone? How? How does he know?? Pancreatic cancer? Liver cancer?Emphysema? MS? Angina? Kidney failure? Is he planning suicide already? But he looks fine, or as fine as you can when you're over 70 and standing in sub zero temperatures.

I'm composing the appropriate sympathetic response here.

"Aye, two weeks till ah'm gone. Gone! Har!"

"Aye, gone tae Australia!"

"Oh, oh! Great! ha ha, yes, oh you know I thought....oh never mind. No that's lovely"

I'm hoping this ongoing assumption of doom, death, bad news and disaster is going to be temporary.

School Holidays THIS Year

Posted on 17:35 In: ,
I know, I know. As any pedant will point out, the school year runs from August to June - well at least for those pedants talking about schools north of the border it does.
But I have a new diary to update, and, assuming that I will be back working sometime, I've been putting in all the school holiday dates.
School holidays...
All 72 of them. Ignoring weekends.
72 days holiday a year.

This is the first year I've been looking to cover all those holidays by myself. The Cherub's dad would always have had him at least half the time.

Right up to the last holiday - the October break, W was still having holidays with the Cherub. Camping at Easter, France in June, Dublin in August..and, well, for the October break we all stayed put at home, so to speak..

Devil's in the little stuff. The ongoing, everyday, little stuff.
How good is a holiday without your dad?

Spot Macy

Posted on 12:47 In: ,
Yes, it is a very small and straightforward puzzle. And because it's so easy there's no prizes!!

All you have to do is identify which one of the tiny beauty contestants below went on to win first prize, and (much later) to settle in Cheesetown under the pseudonym of Macy.

Remember your job is not to correct the original judges' decision and decide on who you thought should have won. You have only to spot the actual winner (ME !!)

Mystic Macy Predicts

Posted on 12:06 In:

Yes, for it is a little known fact that I am indeed the furstdottir of the furstdottir of the seers of Hamilton. And although I have, till now, been focused on the world of commerce, I do indeedy have the power of second sight.

Here, since it's the first day of a new decade already, are my predictions for the coming decade. You read it here first.

By 2012 sightings of George Clooney will be reported around the Cheesetown area. The noted international playboy actor being photographed walking a Border Collie by the name of NED. Repeated requests for interviews from Grazia and Hello magazines with him and his new companion Macy are turned down flat.

Rumours that Brangelina are to adopt the Cherub are proved groundless; they were just visiting George and his new pals at the Cheesetown Bowling Club.

The landslide election of the TORY party in Britain leads inevitably to a Declaration of Unilateral Independence on the part of North Britain. A moat is dug as north Britain secedes from the union. Unfortunately Alex Salmond is trampled underfoot in the last minute rush north.

Sparkle's new holistic art centre continues to draw widespread acclaim as artists and writers flock worldwide. Inspired by his time there, Christo announces a new project - he will wrap the Forth Bridge in tartan ribbon.

A major row breaks out as the new North British government announces plans to nationalise all royal palaces and castles. These are to be turned into luxurious old folks homes, with a staff ratio of not less than 3 staff to each pensioner. Conversion costs are to be funded by the Fred Goodwin Philanthropic Fund

As the pace of climate change continues unabated, North Britain becomes used to four months of deep snow and endless balmy summers. The economy booms through the export of water south and the manufacturing of solar powered skis.

Towards the end of the decade, scientists (Scottish, natch) will finally understand the meaning of the 5th dimension - and develop a means of transporting individuals back through our apparently linear time. Macy and Cherub will be first to be transported back to the first days of our millennium, bearing with them details of the New Cure for Cancer....

Which, by clever sleight of time travel means that I can safely predict in 2010 that there will be no deaths from cancer in 2009.

Ha! I know.. I know...but nobody understood Nostradamus or the Brahanseer in their time either.

Welcome to the car crash...

I have a complicated bereavement. I was only reconciled with my ex, W, months before he died of cancer. Luckily (for him) I was made redundant and able to care for him while he died here at home - October 20th.
Currently getting through it with our son, aka the Cherub, dog Ned, and friends here in CHEESETOWN.

Who Needs a Booker Prize?

Who Needs a Booker Prize?
Sunny Thinks I'm Stylish

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