Good evening, Blog,

How are you doing?

Nice to hear that.

Right – now back to ME.

Topics to be pondered on this evening:

-can you get food poisoning from a dirty chip pan?

-does the full moon make people (and other species) crazy?

-How difficult is it to have a good night’s sleep?

-The 35 steps

So, we’ll begin with the last one.

There are 35 steps from my kitchen (stocked with the usual kitchen apparel plus school bags, a 5 foot canvas stuck over with photos from Australia, bags full of wood chips, wood, gas heater, enough coloured pencils to redecorate the house, paper, more paper, even more paper, grubby children, grumpy husband, toys, dogs beds (x2), dog hair (copious), ingredients for things to burn, plates, not very clean looking saucepans, dead mice under the floorboards? definitely…..or I hope so, as how else would I explain THAT smell etc) to the OUTSIDE OVEN. 35 steps.  35 steps from that oven to the sink with say, a large, heavy, full of boiling liquid saucepan.  35 steps back to the kitchen in case I forget something……i mean, WHEN I forget something. 35 steps backwards and forwards every bloody day until that day of days, when the Husband, permits me (yes, I have to ask permission as he has hidden the fuse) to switch on the oven which resides in the kitchen. The mother of all ovens, indeed.  


We are still two months away from that moment (the inside oven acts as an (expensive) radiator. Not until the inside temperature is about 12 degrees, I am allowed to switch this on). Two months of me still not working out how not to burn everything within an outside gas oven (hotter at the bottom than the top? Well, that isn’t always the case either). Two months away from me standing there in all weathers (ok, so there is a roof but no walls), relighting the stove that gets blown out.

did I mention that there are 35 steps between the kitchen and this oven?….

-I think we have satisfactorily covered the 35 Steps topic. Now let us address the ‘how difficult is it to have a good night’s sleep?’ question:

It would appear for me……VERY difficult.

In fact, we can combine, at this time of the month (no, not mine…the lunar calendar), the full moon question too.

So……I go to bed early as (ref to blog 4 re never get caught drinking wine alone by French parents? Well, I got that WRONG. The French parents turned up with two bottles of red which we drank together……and then opened two more) as I was tired. 

‘Good night, Prodigal. Whatever you do, make sure you close the two dogs (especially the farting one) in the kitchen tonight!’

‘ok, lovely, beautiful, youthful, fabulous, Mother.’

Well, I’ll be damned if those two dogs didn’t contrive a way to open the door, sneak upstairs and then:

Farting dog: Did countless impressions of an emphysemic (? someone with buggered lungs) patient who is about to die but still managing to let off some stinkers at the same time as coughing up its lungs.

Other dog: licking my elbow, running around the upstairs (floorboards with unclipped nails), licking my elbow, whining, nudging my face….. not farting……to be fair.

I get up and let them outside but they don’t want to go (as it is freezing standing there at an open door) and it is at 3 a.m.

The village bell chimes that it is 3 a.m. at 3.30 a.m.

The bell chimes that it is 3 a.m. again at 3.35 a.m.

4.00 a.m. – I hear noises from the kitchen. ‘Hear we go,’ I think (wrongly) ‘the Prodigal can’t sleep and has found the vodka.’

It’s not him (thank christ) but the FAce. he is sick and is making himself some hot drink. So we have a chat and I think it may have followed along the lines of ‘don’t let those fecking dogs out of the kitchen else I will drag you out of your bed and make you sleep down here with them. Hope you are feeling better. Are we clear?’

4.30 a.m. – guess for whom the bell is tolling?

-The mixed up travel arrangements:

I’m introducing a new topic here – just to keep my 2 FOLLOWERS on their toes.

‘Prodigal, have you fully charged your mobile? We don’t want any cock ups when it comes to the time I need to pick you up from (the nearest town) after your first day, do we?’

‘Yes beautiful etc, Mother. No problem.’

So at 18.45, I leave to go and collect him. I have done my research. I have gone through the route of the bus from start to finish and pinpointed every single bloody bus stop along the way as i just KNOW in my womb, that this very simple of things (collecting an 18 year old from a bus stop – a 20 minute journey) can and will go wrong.

And it did.

A SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD 20 min round trip collection, ending up taken over an hour (and involved me driving between two potential drop off stops which were FALSE even though they were on the bus company website; an odd conversation between me and an old dog walker who said ‘je vous comprends, pas du tout.’ but I laboured my point anyway until he told me the wrong thing JUST to be rid of me; a stop at my lovely Mrs. East Coast friend’s house, to collect the Prodigal who had the sense to walk there and call me).

A yes, my mobile is fully charged mother was actually a No, my mobile battery is flat.

Now, this makes me worried because:

-he is 18

-on Sunday I have to take him and pick him up from a place 45 mins away (national beauty pagent thing – I’m presuming he is doing the hair and not appearing as one of the contestants). We know the start time and the finish time is ‘erm…..yeah, they mentioned that it might finish around 10.00 or 11 p.m. and they haven’t told me where it is.’ and on Friday 4th Oct, I have to pick him up from a town 30 mins away at ‘around 3 a.m.’………I’m sure these trips will all run smoothly……smooth as broken, smashed, unoiled (can you say that?) clockwork.

– I know that you are now desperate for me to cover the chip pan question but I’m going to have to disappoint you, dear Readers, the Husband’s sighings at having to come in, pick up a sleeping two year old from the filthy rug (I am a dedicated blogger and when the Prof and the Face said ‘but mum, he is asleep on the floor, I ignored them. And when the Husband came in and said ‘ did you know that he was asleep on the floor?’ ……..I said yes……a little shame? a very little) have increased in a way that only a french person could do………small, little sighs…..huffs or puffs, you might say……v quiet……..but their essence FILL THE ROOM.

so, I’m sighing? singing? signing…..signing out.

Until next time? When we can discuss the ‘it could be worse?’ topic. For this I will reveal little snippets of the lives of two of my friends (F’Aussie and Miss East Coast for starters). It’s a favourite game of mine (the could be worse) and when I was (practically) a single mother, living away from family (and help)……….about 10,000 million miles away….. with a 11 yr old, 7 year old and insomniac under 18 months old (two)  with 14 months difference in age – well, at that time, I used to play it ALL OF THE TIME!).

p.s. Im about to post this without reading it over……… have I just lost my 2 followers? forgive me.