Wednesday, 11 July 2012

cowgirls guide to ebay

As I mentioned in my last post I have been spending rather a lot of time on ebay lately.
This isn't really anything new, the difference now is that I am selling rather then buying. I've always gotten quite excited when I'm bidding on something and looking likely to win a bargain, but it's even more exciting when I'm the one that's selling and watching the price suddenly rise at the end.
I swear there's been a couple of times when I almost pissed my pants had a heart attack.
I've not done too badly as it goes, it started because I had a massive clear out of my wardrobe and decided to get rid of all the things that I am too fat to fit into never wear anymore, and other stuff that I just don't want. A few times I've been quite surprised at how well things that I think aren't that good seem to do.

Did you know that a half full 25ml bottle of Fendi perfume that only cost a tenner when full was now worth TWENTY FIVE quid ?

Neither did I.
But I was very happy when I found that out.

As a result of this, and a couple of friends then saying I could sell some stuff for them (at a percentage of course - I'm no fool), I decided to try and turn it into an ongoing business. I've bought a few job lots of dresses and found some amazing things in second hand shops that I hope will sell at a profit. One good side effect of this is that it satisfies my urge to spend, but not in a way that's going to fill my wardrobe with yet more stuff that's not going to fit me going to be outdated in six months time and never worn again.

And all it really costs me is my time.

I have learnt quite a bit as it goes, there's certainly a knack to getting the best out of it, and being a generous person I am going to share these pearls of wisdom with you my faithful flock.
So here it is. . . . .

Cowgirls Guide To Being An Ebay Entrepeneur

1. Presentation is everything.

Take plenty of pictures of your items, and make sure that you show it looking as good as possible. If there are any faults show them as well.
If you are selling clothes then IRON them first.
This. . .

. . . is not the way to sell anything.
And check your lighting, too little - or too much camera flash and your "ladies chocolate brown genuine leather skirt" will just look like a wet crumpled turd.

That is how someone pictured a green dress that I also have for sell. It just looks a bit bizarre, if I was scrolling through page after page of green dresses I don't think this would catch my eye - although I might look at it and wonder how the hell you're supposed to wear it.

Whereas I used this picture :

Show back and front views, especially if the detail is on the back.
Just not like this :

When it's supposed to look like this :

The best way to show clothing, is to either buy a mannequin or get a friend to model it for you.
Just make sure that the friend you ask is the right size and shape to show your clothes so they look their best.

People need to look at something and think that's how I hope it will look on me.
And nobody wants to look like this . . .

It also a good idea to use a model who's the right gender. . .

And finally make sure the picture actually shows what you're trying to sell.

This was a listing for a job lot of underwear.
Not hangers.
Although you could be forgiven for not realising that.

2. Make your listing stand out from the crowd.

Ebay uses the words in the title to list your item in it's searches, and people search for items by size, colour, brand, style, occasion, detail etc. So you need to get as much information in the title as you can in order for others to actually see it. "Blue dress" (which I actually saw as a title) is just going to get lost amongst 35000 other blue dresses - you need to be more specific. And certain words will attract buyers more than others, anything "vintage" "retro" or any designer name is always going to get the views, as does my personal favourite "fetish".
(Which is possibly the market the fella in the last pic was hoping for).
If it is high heeled, short, fancy dress, pvc or leather then I use that label.

But beware - sometimes it might attract the wrong kind of attention and then you can find allsorts in your mailbox. . .

Pervert alert.

I mailed the second fella back and said "£20 and we might have a deal".

He never replied, but he won the shoes and a black lace bra.
I am trying very hard not to think about what he probably looks like in them.

3. Timing is key.

If you want things to do well then think about when the listing will finish. Just because you're awake at 4am or at home on a Wednesday afternoon doesn't mean everyone else is. I list everything on a Thursday night between 8 - 10pm for 10 days - then it finishes at that time on a Sunday.
More chance of people being sat at home with the laptop on then.
And I get the excitement of watching the price going up and up.

4. Let people think they might get a real bargain.

Things that start at 99p in an auction will ALWAYS get more watchers, most likely they are all hoping to get it for that price, but if they're watching it then they see it on their list every time they look at ebay and are more likely to decide that they MUST have it.
Whatever it ends up costing.
Think about it, you're more likely to end up blowing half your wages on a pair of shoes if you have to look at them in a shop window on your way to work every day. Or is that just me ?
And since your first 100 auction listings every month are free if you start them at 99p it saves you money too.
But if you really think that you want at least a certain amount for something it's much better to set that as a starting price then have a reserve set which people can't see.
If it's a reasonable start and you get watchers it's a pretty safe bet that they are prepared to pay at least that.

Of course you could just take a chance and not bother with a picture or a proper description, but set a ridiculous price and just hope for the best.

I've used that picture in a post before but it's still by far and away the best example I've ever seen of how NOT to sell anything.

5. Feedback is essential.

Leave it for your buyers and they are more likely to remember to leave it for you. And other peoples feedback is really your only clue as to how reliable a customer or seller they are.
But there really is no pleasing some people.
Ideally you want to keep it at 100%, I've been keeping an eye on mine and last week I noticed it had gone down.

Neutral ?
Who the fuck left me neutral feedback ?
I get things posted out as fast as I can and I wrap them well, I describe everything accurately, I respond the same day to any questions and up until this ALL my feedback was great. I have even had people mail me and say how pleased they were with the things I sent them.

So I looked at the details . . .

Sometimes you just can't win.
Well not everything. I had the last laugh because she paid me £8 for pair of shoes that cost me £1.99 in a charity shop.

Before I go off to check how my empire building is going let me leave you with something I never thought I'd see on ebay.

Have a look and see if you can figure out what this is . . .

Any idea ?
And no, it's not anti-snoring.
It's actually a DIY nose job device.

I'm off to see if I can make a DIY liposuction device using the hoover and some straws.
Someone's bound to buy it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

guess who ?

Hello !!!

Is anybody still there ???

If anyone is still reading here I expect you might be wondering where I've been.

Or if I took one too many happy pills, got over the mentalpause and am left with nothing to complain about or have an opinion on.
Yeah right.

What I have been mostly doing with my spare time in the evening is ebay. I had a massive clear out a few weeks ago and decided to list my huge pile of crap unwanted stuff, which then led to my deciding that as a) I do need a bit more income but b) I really can't be arsed to find another job, that perhaps with a bit of effort I could actually properly supplement my income with it.
The good news is it's going well, I've made about £200 in a month, half of which has been reinvested in buying up a few small job lots to (hopefully) sell on individually for a profit.

It's been a learning curve - more then you might think - and the pearls of wisdom gained will be shared in the next post.
So that'll be in three months time then.
Maybe not but don't hold your breadth.
So anyway . . .

What has finally driven me back to blogger is something that I heard a few days ago, which really pissed me off, and which I have in a way checked out for myself since and came to the conclusion that what I was told was correct.

Some things are a constant in my life - like being late for work, and at times I have got a cab from my house to the station in an effort to claim back the ten minutes that some bastard breaks into my house and steals in the morning. (If only I could catch him and get those minutes back, I'd probably have enough time for a whole day of sleep). It's a 15 minute walk to the train station but less then 5 in a cab, not great for the taxi driver I'm sure but a jobs a job and actually if I really gave in to my inner sloth wanted to there's nothing says I couldn't call one just to the end of the road.
To actually get a taxi all the way to work would cost me £20.
That's a cab drivers idea of a good job.
And obviously not something I can afford to do.

There was a day last week when I was needed to be in work early and had promised I would, but of course being me I laid awake until the early hours worrying that I wouldn't get up and then as usual managed to oversleep. I rang a cab for the station but checked the time and realised that I would still miss the next train, so by the time the taxi turned up I had decided to treat myself and get it to take me all the way to work.

In this town there is really only one taxi company, there used to be lots of them but this one slowly bought them all out. Over the last couple of years they have gotten more and more foreign drivers - in fact when I thought about it after the conversation that I'll get to in a bit, it was always a foreign driver that picked me up when I got one in the morning.
It was last week, a guy from Romania.
He pulled up outside my house and I got in and explained that I had changed my mind and now wanted to make the longer journey, he seemed very pleased when I told him.
So we get talking.
And he tells me that NONE of the foreign drivers are ever given the decent jobs, airport runs, long distance journeys, they only ever get given the short jobs, especially during rush hour when traffic around the town is slow. I was a bit disgusted at that, discrimination is discrimination however it comes and it makes me fucking sick. If you're good enough for them to employ you then you should be entitled to the same work as everyone else, and we have employment laws in this country that are supposed to protect workers from injustice. And these drivers are all here legally, they have to be to get a cabbie license. The guy whose cab I was in told me he had lived here for seven years and held dual nationality. So of course being me I voiced my disgust at this very loudly.

And that meant that the driver, who was a really nice fella (no, not like that, he was young enough to be my son) realised I suppose that I am not one of the they-come-over-here-and-take-all-our-jobs-and-deserve-to-be-treated-like-shit brigade, so he opened up to me a bit more.
Get this. . .

Not only do the company actively recruit foreign drivers that are already resident in this country, they actually advertise in Poland for drivers to come here. In the advert they promise help with the paperwork, finding accommodation and a weekly income of around £1000. They charge them £2000 for this service - which is a fucking lot more money to them then the average British citizen - and it's a fucking HUGE amount of money to most of us. So they borrow the money from whoever they can, sometimes that will be loan sharks, but more often then not from family members, because they are obviously under the impression that they will be able to earn it back very quickly once they get here.

It's all lies.

First of all they aren't given any help with any paperwork. But they are given a room that they have to share in flats that are owned by the taxi company at a cost of £100 per week.
(To put that in perspective I live in a three bedroomed, two living roomed house and I pay £450 a month).
And that £100 is roughly what they have left of their actual wages after the taxi company have taken their weekly cut for the use of the car.
All drivers pay that, but there are three different prices. The lowest is paid by the English drivers (about £150pw), the foreign but resident drivers pay about £250 and the Polish recruits have to pay £350. The only drivers that don't have to pay that are the ones that own their own cars - however they only allow the English drivers the option to do that.

And on top of that they are only ever given the shitty little jobs, and they, unlike English drivers who can choose when they work, are told when they must work. My cabbie told me that the system is that all drivers have an automated thing in their cabs so that when a job comes in if they are free, or going to be near the pick up they hit a button, the control will then buzz them back to say the job is theirs, and it is supposed to be that the first person to respond gets the job. But he told me that he has stopped bothering to respond when it is a decent job because he now knows that he will never get it.

Makes me fucking sick.
I really didn't think that things like that were allowed to go on anymore. If you work in any other environment and you feel you are being discriminated against in ANY way you can go to a tribunal. But these drivers are out on the road, they can't prove they responded first because they just don't know for sure if anyone else did reply quicker. But when you NEVER get the decent work that is not an unfortunate coincidence.

I suggested he go and see a solicitor.
Because it's not just about the lack of decent jobs, it's the other stuff as well.
Sounds to me like it's not a million miles away from the slavery and people trafficking that goes on in the sex trade. These men (and they are all men) might come here willingly, but it's on a false promise that leaves the family they left behind with no means of getting paid back the money leant to bring them here, or possibly under threat if they borrowed the money from sharks. They don't complain, apart from amongst themselves, because once they are here they need the job. As cab drivers are effectively self-employed there is nothing they can do if the company decided not to give them any work - and if they can't pay their rent then they're homeless, and they can't really go home until they find the money to pay back the loan they had to get here.
Even if they had the plane fare home.
Which they don't, because they can't afford to save.

My cabbie said he has spoken to someone, and that I should keep an eye on the local paper in the coming weeks. I really hope so. Someone needs to.

Since I had that conversation I have run a little test.
Three times since I have needed a cab to make a short journey, every time they sent a foreign driver. Yesterday I called one and said I needed to go on the longer journey ( I didn't, when he got here I said I had changed my mind and was getting a train so just to the station) and they sent an English driver.

Cunts. Racist fucking cunts.
I will NOT be getting one of their cabs again, and if I really have to, because the fucking arsehole that runs it put all the other taxi companies out of business, then I will call and say I am just going up the road so they send a foreigner, change my mind, AND give him a good tip when I get out.

In other news the size of my family has increased by three.
My friend and her Son arrived on Friday and it's been great. It's really nice to have the company and living with a six year old is proving to be an interesting and entertaining experience. I'm sure there will be a few funny posts to come as a result of that.

And you may remember we lost Sons beloved cat a little while ago, well on Monday we got this. . .

I know I said I wasn't going to get another cat, but could you resist that face ?

So anyway, if anyone read this, hope you're all ok. I'll try and catch up on some reading over the weekend.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

it's oh so quiet

I love my little house.

I've lived here for twelve years, but in the last two have redecorated every room and bought new furniture for them too.
And as much as I love Son I really love it when he goes out, especially at the weekends as he's gone for hours. I get to sit on my £2000 leather sofa and enjoy the nice surroundings and peace and quiet, watch whatever I want on the huge plasma HD TV (which is especially important now that the fucking Euro football is on), eat all the nice stuff in the cupboard without having to share, and sit on the loo without worrying about shutting the door.
And when I go to bed now I get to sleep in my king size leather bed with a thick memory foam mattress. I love that too.

I like my own company, always have.
As much as I can go out and be the person dancing on the table and the loudest one in the room I also like a bit of solitude.

I am naturally quite a messy person, I have always lived in what I described as ordered chaos. Little piles of stuff everywhere, but ask me if I have something you want to borrow and if I have it I can find it. However since finally getting my house how I want it I have been much better. There is no clutter in the lounge, and while the piles of stuff are still here they are in labelled boxes and hidden from sight in cupboards. I've become a little bit OCD about keeping it nice too.

Much to Sons annoyance.
He still tries to invade the back room with piles of stuff. Mostly his art equipment which he doesn't seem capable of keeping in the boxes that I gave him. I can live with that, but it's the ever expanding circle of crap that seems to emulate from whenever he sits playing xbox that really fucking winds me up. Still it's just in the back room, and if I shout loud enough, or he can't find something he knows is in that room, he will sort it out.

However all this peace and quiet and tidyness is about to be royally shattered in just over a week.

A friend and her six year old Son are coming to stay for a few months.

Don't misunderstand me, I am more then happy to have them here, I love them both. But she is just as messy as me, or as I used to be, and there is no such thing as a tidy six year old. They come with toys, dvds, three changes of clothes a day and temper tantrums.
Right now I have a real conflict of emotions about this. On the one hand I'm really looking forward to the company and I know she will help with the cooking (and she's an amazing cook), and we will respect each others privacy. We are very alike in some ways and opposites in others, but as friends we are great at balancing each other. This is the friend I turn to in a crisis. Her little boy absolutely adores Son, he is mixed race too, Son calls him his little brother and he is looking forward to it more then me I think.
But I am just a bit concerned about sharing my space.

I think I may well end up spending a bit more time in my bedroom.
Just as well I have the luxury bed.

For now I am making the most of the next few days.
Son has left this morning for the Isle Of Wight festival, and as he is actually working over there will not be back until Monday. He's a fucking lucky git. Not only does he get to go the festival for free but he gets paid for being there.

The last time I went to the IOW festival was a few years ago now.
Well when I say went I didn't actually get into it.
The fella I was seeing at the time and I did not have tickets, but his best mate was over there and texted us on the Saturday morning to say he knew a way that we could get in without them, and told us where there was a break in the fence. He also said to bring more "supplies".
So - after going "shopping" off we went.
We got to the site and the supposed break in the fence was non-existent. We realised that the mate just wanted more of the supplies and figured that once we got there we would find our own way in. Well ok. I did want to see Snow Patrol. So we spent an hour circling the site as best you can, one side of it is bordered by a river, and it's not exactly in thick countryside, but the only couple of times we came close to finding a way in as soon as we tried a security guard appeared.

We came to the conclusion that even if we got through one layer of barrier and into the camping bit we still might get caught attempting the next bit to get to the arena. And if we got caught with what we had in our pockets we'd get arrested.
Two choices.
Give up and go home.
Do all the 'supplies' and carry on trying.

So anyway. Having consumed the contents of our pockets, which given the quantity didn't take too long to take effect, we realised that we weren't capable of couldn't be bothered to carry on trying to break in. There were a few ticket touts by the main gate so we decided that they would probably think we were so great they'd sell us two for next to nothing.
They just thought we were a couple of lost-its and told us to go away.
But by this point we were so fucking smashed actually having such a good time in our own little word we didn't really care, and once we found a spot where we could hear the music ended up laying on the grass and chatting to all our new best friends outside.

For some reason they seemed to find us highly amusing.

I never did get to see Snow Patrol but I did hear them.

Eventually it started to get a bit cold, and we decided to get the catamaran home. The ex got it into his head that he wanted to have a go at driving it, I remember thinking at the time that this was a brilliant idea. The details of what followed are pretty vague, up until the bit where we were told "I don't know exactly what the deal is with you two but if you don't sit down and behave when we get back to Portsmouth the police will be waiting for you".
We sat down.
And behaved.

It was this one. And it wasn't like we were going to hijack it 
and go to Spain.

The other thing that sticks in my memory about that day is that it was a REALLY good day, I don't know that I would've enjoyed myself more if we had gotten into the festival.

My first experiences of them was a long time ago, when they were small, illegal and run by travellers. Not gypsys, these were so-called New Age Travellers. Those guys could throw a party. They were usually in the middle of the woods somewhere, and nobody charged you for going. Sometimes they would spring up where an environmental protest was happening. The only expense would be if someone - usually a white guy with dreadlocks, a multi-coloured jumper and pupils the size of saucers - came round asking for contributions for petrol for the Genny.

Well you want to dance you need music, and you need power for that so we always chipped in. In those times there weren't many big festivals, and even the ones that were already happening like Glastonbury and Stonehenge were not the huge commercial ventures they've turned into now. The Travellers played a big part in them. They would help set the sites up, and stay after to clear it up and return it to it's natural state.
Even today when it's not a festival site Glastonbury is a working farm. And it's been a very long time since anyone other then the Druids have been allowed right into Stonehenge, and even then it's just for the Solstice.

When the Acid parties and rave culture began in the eighties it too found a place at these little festivals, and that brought in young people that previously had no idea about or interest in them. They were no longer solely the domain of hippies, punks, travellers and other alternative types of people. Suddenly there were thousands instead of hundreds of people attending, and that brought other kinds of attention.
Not all of it good.

And then came the Criminal Justice Act.

Which gave the police the power to break up any illegal gathering. Or decide that any gathering of people with the intention to have a good time was illegal.

Of course that just gave another reason to protest. And where there was a protest there was another party. I remember being at a rave in a big abandoned warehouse, there was more space then people so we were all dancing in a corner and the smoke machines were filling up the empty space around us. When we heard "this is the police, this is the police" we just thought it was part of the music and carried on dancing.
As three times as many coppers as ravers appeared through the haze of the smoke.
It looked kinda surreal. . . but that may've just been the drugs.

The bigger festivals survived, and became big business. New ones began too. Well known promoters took over and with the "proper" kind of management in place, security, planning permission, and expensive tickets they were no longer considered illegal.
I'm not knocking them for doing that. The money they bring in now means that they can get really big stars to headline and there's nowhere else other then a festival where you can go and see so many well known acts (and get to know some less famous ones) in one place.
But I refuse to pay the prices they charge.

And in a way I feel a bit sad that todays youngsters will never get to experience the bit of culture that my generation and those before it did.
We never went to Woodstock, but what we had was a direct result of the legacy it left, and to a lesser degree in the same spirit.

Today it might still be all about the music and the atmosphere for the people who attend, but for the people that run it it's all about the money.

Which leaves me feeling that it's rather ironic that Son is getting paid to be at the Isle of Wight festival, as that started out as Englands equivalent to Woodstock. Jim Morrisons last festival performance with The Doors was there in 1970, the same year Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendix played and when the festival was resurrected in 2006 a statue of Jimi was put up in the gardens of a museum near the site.

Strange to think those people were playing just a few miles from me.
Shame I was eight at the time really. That year I might've bothered to get a ticket.

In other news last Sunday was Fathers day in the UK.
I checked my facebook and saw this. . .

From the fan page of the man who was shot by his father.

Now that's ironic.

Monday, 11 June 2012

first love

Apparently nobody forgets their first love.

Especially if he happens to be prince.

I remember mine all too well.
I was fifteen, he was eighteen, his name was Duncan and he had a motorbike. Not a silly 50cc bike wannabe like all the other boys I knew, his was a 350cc Suzuki. The fact that I remember that detail makes me wonder now how much of the initial attraction was about him or the size of his engine.

Although he wasn't the first boy I called my boyfriend he was the first proper one. The others had just been part of the crowd of friends, and we only saw each other when the crowd was together. But this one and I went on dates, and because he was that bit older we went to night clubs and pubs.
He even bought me a ring. Nothing fancy, it was just a cheap eternity ring, but he wanted me to wear it on THAT finger.
I've still got that ring.

All my friends were impressed and a bit jealous, my Mum liked him - and she never liked any of my friends, male or female, my younger sister liked him (she told me years later that she had a crush on him too), even my fucking cat liked him and would jump on his lap whenever he came round.
In fact I had a picture of him taken at Christmas sat by our tree with the cat on his lap.

I guess you're wondering if I lost my virginity to him too ? Well no, I didn't. I had thrown that away before I met him to a fella who didn't even take his boots off because I thought my friends had "done it". Although the only thing I learnt from that experience was that my friends were lying and sex was really not worth all the fuss people made about it. So I lied to the boy and said I was a virgin and was then too scared to "do it" with him in case he realised. And anyway I had no desire to repeat that ten seconds of grunting followed by a day of not being able to sit down without flinching.
So my first love remained innocent.
Sort of.

We were together for about eight months, a long term relationship at that age. It was me that ended it, I really don't remember any specifics other then I got bored because he wanted me to be with him and not go out and see my mates. He would say, whenever I suggested going to see them, that hanging around with the crowd was childish so I guess what really happened was the difference in our ages became apparent.
Or so I thought.

Fifteen years later. . . .

My Mum was having a clear out and gave a box of old photographs to my sister to sort out, some were coming to me and some were going to my Dad. The picture of the boy with our cat by the Christmas tree was amongst them. My sister had them in piles on her coffee table when our friend Leanne paid her a visit.
Naturally she started looking through the pictures, no doubt laughing at the ones of my sister and I when we were little.
Then she said. . . .
"Why have you got a picture of my Duncan?"
My sister said that I had gone out with him too, and asked Leanne (who is a year younger then me) when she went out with him, thinking it was probably after. But no.

Not at all. AT THE SAME TIME AS ME !!!
My first love was a two-timing motherfucking lying cheating cunt.

The picture was dated so it was easy to work out. He was with Leanne for about a year and for the middle of that was with me too, we sat down soon after and double checked. Funny too, although we (obviously) did not know each other at that time we knew loads of the same people when we finally figured it out.
I guess we were kept apart.

Move on another ten years and my sister is getting married. Her husband had invited some of his friends from work and their respective partners.
So there I am at the reception getting some food from the buffet and a voice from behind me says . . .
"Hello Jane"
Guess who ? Well no prizes. Duncan.
Leanne had yet to arrive, she was coming after work to the evening do. But I called her and told her who was there, and later on after she arrived we cornered him.
Ah Karma. Sometimes I love you.

And sometimes I wonder about the twists and turns my life has taken, and what if I had taken a different route, or made a different choice. My relationship with Sons father lasted nine years, by far and away the longest I have spent with anyone. Before I met him I had an on and off thing with a guy who was in our Navy, he was not based in this town, but whenever he was visiting he would come and find me. We had a real click between us. Then one day he told me that he was due for a promotion which meant that he could change ships and he was hoping to get on one that was based here. He wanted to know if I would consider us being more then just occasional fuck buddies if he did. I liked him, a lot, but I was 20 and I liked my freedom too so I said I'd think about it.

In the meantime I met Sons father at a weekly club night, he was also a very casual thing at first as he lived in the next town, but boy oh boy did we click and after a couple of months he asked me the same question as the other fella.

It was a bit like this.

I guess I thought that I had reached a stage in life where it might actually be quite nice to have a proper boyfriend, and I hadn't exactly forgotten about the Navy fella but he wasn't around and out of sight out of mind. So this night I went to the club night to meet up with the sperm donor-to-be, and I was sat there with my friends waiting for him to arrive and watching the door.
He walked in. Followed by the Navy fella.
I had the length of time it took them to walk to where I was sitting to make a choice.

The rest, as they say, is history.
I don't regret anything, and as an indirect result of that choice I have Son, but sometimes I do wonder. . .

For the longest time I had thought my Dad was my Mums first love. Well her only love, she was from an era where people got married young and saved themselves until they did. My parents split up when I was about 14, not that that was any kind of a shock, they must of been happy at first but all I ever remember them doing was either arguing or ignoring each other.

But my Mum considered her broken marriage to be a source of shame and didn't really have anyone to talk to about it apart from me. We kind of got into the pattern of me coming in from seeing my friends, her making us a cup of tea, and then moaning about my Dad. I didn't really want to hear it. I loved my Dad even if she didn't, in fact if I'd been given the choice I would've lived with him but in those days that just didn't happen.
Sometimes I'd come in and say I was tired even if I wasn't just so I could go straight to bed.

Then one night I came in and someone, I don't remember who, but most likely one of the neighbours as she really didn't have any other friends, had called round and Mum had drunk a couple of glasses of wine.

There are a few traits I've inherited from my Mum.
One of them being a very low tolerance for alcohol.
So by the time I arrived home that particular night she was more then a little tipsy, and in a better mood then usual, so I sat down for a chat. And she told me a story that I only ever heard that one time.

A couple of years before she met my Dad she had met a Dutch sailor who was based here for a while and they had fallen in love. But the Dutchman had told her that although he wanted to marry her he wanted to make something of himself first and so he was going back to Holland. He had promised her he would be back and asked her to wait for him.
In those days very few people had telephones and I guess international mail was probably slow and unreliable, either way she did not hear from him.

By the time my Dad came along she had given up on the Dutchman, she was 19 and still single in an era when most women were married with a couple of children by that age, and worried about being "left on the shelf". She married my Dad within three months of starting to date him.

Whilst she was on her honeymoon the Dutchman turned up at my Nans house looking for her.

And I bet there were times when she wondered just like I do. . .

Amongst the stuff we found after she died and we sorted out her house was a pile of very old pictures. Last week I got them out to look through as I bought some new picture frames and wanted to make some collages.
I had forgotten about the story of the Dutchman but then I found this, a little postcard addressed to Mum in her maiden name and sent to my Nans house.

I guess I finally met the Dutchman who in another life might've been my Dad.

I also found me, as a baby. Proof that I was cute once.

And this is my Mum. Not sure how old she is here but I'm guessing early twenties.
You can see where I get my beauty from.

Strange that we have that little bit of a mirror in the 
history of our lives.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

birthday boy

I mentioned in the last post about my current lack of sleep, right about now I'd bite my arm off for one uninterrupted night of solid kip. Fat chance.

Between the mentalpause causing me to break out in a sweat at any given moment, noisy students who live in the house opposite, the cats - who are not helping at all, and Son coming in the worse for wear at 2am, I have bags under my eyes that could carry a weeks shopping.

As long as they're Gucci bags I'm not really that bothered.

Last night was a fine example of things conspiring against me.
I was so exhausted that I went to bed at 10 and fell asleep pretty much straight away. I know this because when the drunk wombfruit returned in the early hours and slammed the door it woke me up.
Great. Thanks.
Then he decided to have a bath, so was running up and down the stairs, never mind that my bedroom is next to the bathroom. And once I was awake I could hear the noisy cunts over the road, gonna be time to have a word with them soon I think. I shut my window, and once Son was out of the bath thought that was it and I could attempt to get back to dreaming about winning the lottery.
But no.
I woke up in a sweat before I'd even properly gotten to sleep. Not because of the mentalpause, oh no, I had a cat sleeping across the top of my head. And he had the cheek to miaow at me when I shoved him off, then, as he was getting tucked up against my legs decided to do that claw massage thing. Grrrr. But he settled down, and to be honest I quite like the way this one loves to snuggle up to me, so I let him stay and got myself comfortable.
I had just about nodded off again when I hear a scream from downstairs and then,
"MUM, MUM !!!" *thunders up the stairs*
"Mum !! You're not gonna like it but you have to come and deal with this. . ."

So obviously there's a spider.
I happen to think that I did a great job raising Son. And all my friends agree, one actually said to me that because of how he has turned out if she ever needed advice about raising her kids it would be my advice she would ask for. There's no better compliment then that really.

But there is one thing I got VERY wrong.
Kids learn by what they see, and what he saw, and therefore learnt, is that when confronted by a spider you are supposed to go "ARGGGGGGHHHH" and run away screaming.
If only I had thought about that a bit better, and not made him as afraid of them as I am I might now have a Son who could deal with them for me. (Or chased me with them. Every cloud ).
But I didn't.
In fact it's usually me (with the aid of my "bug catcher" - eBay it, it's saved my life more then once), who ends up disposing of them. I don't kill them but I'm not letting one stay in my house, it's not like they pay rent or help out with the bills. No, they have to go.

The Bug Catcher.
Best five quid I ever spent.

So I get my tired, exhausted self out of bed and go downstairs.
"Where is it. . . ?"
"Over there, under the lamp"

And this is what I found.

It seems one of the cats found a new playmate and decided to bring him home.
I left him there and went back to bed. Frogs don't scare me.
The cat that was on my bed is the one that brings things home so I knew he didn't want to kill it. He often brings in whatever he's been playing with outside - just that's usually a bit of a twig or a leaf. And the way the frog was laying under the lamp it was obviously enjoying the heat as it made no attempt to move when I went near it to take the picture.

And as tired as I am I still found it hilarious that a (almost) grown man got completely freaked out by one.

Tomorrow (well today now) is Sons birthday, if I'd known how he felt I would've got him a box of frogs. I wasn't sure what to get him this year anyway, moneys a bit tight at the moment and although I know there are some things he'd like I can't really afford to spend much. So I looked online to see if I could find a bargain and I think he's going to be pretty made up when he sees that I have managed to get him everything on his wish list.

A Lap Top. 

An Ipad. 

A New Mobile. 

A Flat Screen TV for his bedroom.

Some Weed.

I got lucky and found this in the garden, and as that didn't cost me anything with the 
money I saved I got him a car.

I think he's going to be very happy when he wakes up tomorrow and opens his presents.

But seriously I'm not that much of a skinflint. I did go to the shop and buy him a proper card, unfortunately it's not actually a birthday card.

Wanna see ?

That is the actual card. And inside I've wrote "Because I can dream . . . ps I was going to put some money in this card but I forgot to go the cashpoint so IOU £1.50".
It's ok - he will find it funny, and he loves kittens.
But just in case that doesn't put a birthday smile on his face then I have scanned some baby pictures ready to post where all his friends can see them. . .

Embarrassing Mum ? Who me ? Never.
And anyway his birthday is as much of a celebration for me as it is him. Although his being 26 is gonna make it even harder for me to convince younger men people that I'm 25.

Especially with the sacks under my eyes, never mind the Gucci bag I think I'll get some Gucci shades.

And just in case you're wondering the frog appeared again this evening and we returned him to the garden.