Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Monday, July 31, 2006


We are on a beach!

It is very hot and we are all smothered in Factor 35,000,065789437 sun cream. To the casual observer it appears as if we have all been in a gruesome Ice Cream Factory incident.

To most people, being on a sandy beach, lying back, skin sizzling, sand up nostrils, listening to the sound of people laughing and gulls shrieking might be a real treat but, to Imp and I, it is the latest in our What Can We Do To Entertain The Children effort.


We are surrounded by a beachful of relaxed people. Meanwhile both of us have matching Hers’n’Hers wild staring eyes. If we had taken a few grams of speed each, we might be looking more relaxed.

Wired, I count the children again (seven) and scan the immediate area for dangerous strangers / giant sand-roaming skin-leeching jellyfish / huge mutant child-eating sea monsters.
Sweat pours down my back and I develop a nervous tic.

Not that I need contraception, but this parenting lark is something I will be at pains to avoid for the foreseeable 12,000 years.

We have a 1 yr-old, a 2½ yr-old, a 4 yr-old, 7 yr-old, 9 yr-old, 10 yr-old and a 14 yr-old. I am a 33 yr-old.
Imp has to look after all of us.
I sneak a glance at her. She is dribbling and mumbling to herself.

For about the third time, 2½ yr-old wees in the potty and, with the eyes of every sunbather on the beach boring into the back of my neck waiting for me to do something wrong (so that they can write an outraged letter to the council) I stumble up into the sand dunes and deposit it on a thistle that I am fairly sure no one will want to sit on.

I haven’t managed to build a single sandcastle yet because I have had to think of all the things that could go wrong to the seven kids and then develop systems to deal with these potential incidents. I feel like the UN and it's not much fun.

All this said, it seems to be going remarkably well so far as no one has drowned or been sucked into sinking-sand like they do on the telly. Also Lassie is nowhere near, as far as I know, but we're managing.

I begin to relax.


4 yr-old does a poo in the potty. Bugger.


I hadn’t allowed for management of stray poos and I scratch my head.

The sunbathers glare at me and wait for the verdict, appalled letters being mentally composed as they squint toward me. The poo stares at me too, lurking in a dressing of wee.
A distinctive poo-smell cooks up in the heat for good measure and, I breathe through my mouth instead.

Then I have a genius idea!!

I pour sand into the potty.
I am undoubtedly an amazing problem-solver of James Dyson-like calibre. I make a mental note to get in touch with Mensa in case they need a figurehead.

Now there is no smell and I don’t have a poo learing back at me.


2½ yr-old sees the potty.
It is full of sand and is therefore now an exciting plaything. I see her looking and gasp in horror...

Before I can hurl my body in a Matrix-like dive to stop her, she buries her arms, elbow-deep in poo. All. The. Way. There is poo everywhere.

Confused, she wipes it over the front of her dress and I weep and gnash my teeth.

The sunbathers sit up, interested, waiting.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


My finger is swelling up like the proverbial balloon.

I have been demonstrating my unicycling prowess to my family and it has been a great success. I pedal frantically past the row of terraced houses where Ickle Bro and my Dad stand marvelling at my skill.
I am a natural and only fall off a few times.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet mastered corners or bumps or little stones in the road so I have to jump off when I reach a bumpy-bendy stone in the road.
No matter.
This blue-rinse inhabited sleepy corner of North Wales hasn’t seen such excitement since the tractor came to do its annual grass-cut in the playground and I have to be careful not to allow the gale-force gusts from the flapping net curtains, to blow me off-course.

I am a unicycling celebrity.

(I should remember to quit while I am ahead but I am not blessed with a great deal of common sense and I used up my day’s quota by around 4pm. If Imp was with me she would tell me to be sensible but she is somewhere else, not riding a unicycle.)

I drive to my sister’s house and again wobble my way to stardom in front of my three nephews and around 5628,006,000000 of their friends. It is a bit more tricky this time as I have to hang on to a lamppost in order to mount my unicycle and then hurl myself down a lane at a gradient of around 1:2 that is almost a cliff-face.
Evil Knievel would be wetting his pants at this stage but I am now invincible and much braver than him.

Luckily it seems I am also very talented and this slope-business (I have never unicycled on a slope before) is easy-peasy.

Convinced in my own talent I gather up my bike and my 5628,006,000003 spectators and we graduate around to the rough ground behind the house. It resembles a bomb-crater but I am not fazed or worried at all.
Only a big girl in a Big Girl’s Blouse would be worried about unicycling in and around the boulder-field that passes as the car-parking area for this row of houses. I mount and don’t have second thoughts although there is one that might pass as 1¼.

Anyway, all it takes is some confidence and a bit of belief. What could go wrong?

I hang onto the horse box that rocks gently on the uneven camber.
Heroically I launch and the crowd of 5628,006,000003 little boys gasp in excitement.

At this point my confidence hurls itself into the north face of a car-park rock, just as my wheel plunges into a crevasse.

I hit the ground, bouncing on my knees, palms and middle finger on my right hand.
It hurts enough for me to imagine some very entertaining four-letter words that I can’t allow to escape my lips, given my audience. I howl a bit and try to look brave.

I hope it’s not broken.
It’s my favourite finger.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I'm being really shite, it has to be said, at getting those posts up (the bleeders).
Real life gets in the way sometimes. Sorry.


Imp and I plus the two LittleImps are heading northbound to babysit 5 children.

No, really, we are.

It's true that I'm not really a child-friendly person and much prefer adult company. This is why I became a Young Person's worker. This also is why I am off to babysit 5 kids.
It gives me something to moan about at parties. Not that you can go to parties when you've got 5 kids. Which I haven't. I'm just borrowing them. But I still want sympathy.*

So the moral there is, don't go to any parties that I'm going to be at in the near future unless you would like to have your hair restyled with an extra parting due to the velocity and force of my whinging.**

As if it was bad enough.......

Not only am I going to be babysitting 5 kids... but we're gonna be there till next Wednesday.... and I think the internet is down at the 5-kid-residence. Argh.
I expect we'll be washing our clothes by tramping down to the closest river and beating them on rocks, too.

Think of us.

*Look! I can short sentences!

**Look! I can do long sentences!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Game

This is the kind of thing that makes my brain hurt..... but I still keep going back for more.

Its redeeming feature is that you can note down the passwords for each level so that you will only gradually lose your marbles over 1 level.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

red face

Projectile vomit isn't a myth!

It is 4 o'clock in the morning and I scramble frantically over Imp. She sits up.

"What's wrong, darling?" she says.

I am unable to answer due to my stomach muscles doing the Mexican Wave. I continue hurdling her by now, anxious form, and mumble something about not being well.
I sprint to the bathroom and make it as far as the sink.

This must be what they call Perestalsis. I remember doing it in GCSE Biology and now I am experiencing it in the form of Super-Perestalsis! I don't remember exercising these particular muscles so I am a bit surprised, but they are working very well. Inside I must be like an athlete. Colin Jackson in the form of an Alimentary Canal.
I'm so proud.

My Vegetable Masala makes a reappearance, some of it and, I manage to hurl myself toward the toilet before the rest pops up.

I have never had the experience of projectile vomit before but I have laughed at videos of babies spewing all over their parents. It is possible that I am being paid back for all those times.
Jeremy Beadle would love this moment.

My dinner exits my sweating suffering form at the speed of light, hits the water and bounces back up into my face.

This is not helping my general demeanor right now as I was feeling pretty ill before this happened. If it is at all possible this actually makes me worse.

the only comfort is that it is red sick, so I am easily able to identify which bits of me need cleaning up.

I finally shiver my way back to the sink, clean it out and then clean my face. I look like a Red Light District version of The Exorcist. I think about showing Imp, but I don't think she will be impressed in the same way.

Face scrubbed, teeth cleaned, stomach empty, I go back to bed and she looks after me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

how do you say...

It is while repeating the phrase for the twelfth time that I realise.

"How old d'ya have to be to buy tobacco?", is in fact a very cruel tongue-twister, not a sentence.

I should ask for Danger Money.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fun Day

I am at a Police Fun Day!

I think it is an oxymoron, but this is my own private opinion and I am not prepared to announce it out loud.

There are a lot of people in this part of Cardiff but for some reason I don’t think they want to be at the Police Fun Day, judging by the fact that they all aren’t here. It might have something to do with all the police, in their high-vis trendy police polo shirts, being jolly and having Fun.

Someone should tell the police that a No-Police Fun Day would be much better attended.

I sigh and tell a 5-year old for the fifteenth time that I am a drugs worker and “No,” I won’t hold his ice cream for him while he goes to play football and “No,” I don’t sell crack.

Friday, July 07, 2006

youth worker

“So how many paracetamol does it take to kill yourself?”

I blink.

He is about 11 years old; fresh-faced, hair spiked up at the front and clutching a skateboard. He doesn’t look suicidal.

I am at the Ely festival and there are enough shell suits in the park to start a European shell-suit mountain. That is, if everyone took them off and piled them into a huge, static heap, which isn’t that likely thinking about it, as they might get chilly and no one could smoke for fear of infernos.

The combined noise of all the shell-suited bodies as they rustle their way around the stalls sounds like the tide during a force 8 gale.

Maybe I didn’t hear him right, due to not having super-human hearing.

“Did you just ask how many paracetamol it takes to kill yourself?” I yell.

He nods vigorously. “Or heroin,” he adds loudly.

I have a quick think but nothing turns up in the way of get-out clauses.

“Anything from about 7 pills upwards is extremely dangerous,” I say, “and any amount of heroin could kill you if you get a bad batch or you don’t have any tolerance built up”.

The little boy looks very, very, very interested.

“Is it painful?” he says, with a look on his face that I imagine his maths teacher can only dream of.

“Yes. It can be incredibly painful and very long and drawn out… I wouldn’t recommend it."

He looks disappointed.
I wonder if finding out the most efficient way of suicide is normal for an 11-yr old? Maybe I should call Social Services.
I have another think for about a quarter of a second.

I decide against it (after agonising), as I am allergic to paperwork.

“I would say the best way to kill yourself would be to drink a load of petrol and set fire to yourself,” I say, helpfully.

Appalled, he flees and I check to see his mum didn’t overhear.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wednesday Game

In view of the fact that I didn't post a game on Sunday, here's a little something to keep you going 'til the weekend.
If you're not playing this, you should be!!!

Zwok is a cross between Worms and any other tank/crossbow shooting game you've ever played... but better by far.
Created by Playstation, it's a nice little multiplayer. Normally I don't play multiplayers as you end up having to learn an A level's-worth of instructions and controls and I just can't be bothered. However, this little beauty takes about 30 seconds to learn and each game only takes a couple of minutes.
Perfect teabreak material :) The sound is switch on and offable too.

Create a character, pick your weapon (which you earn as you play), point and wait for the fallout. It's great!


Monday, July 03, 2006

training course

I haven't learned any new tips; Imp will be very disappointed.

Not that I need to learn any new tips - my technique is fine, thanks. In fact, it's more than fine. Most people would be grateful to know what I know.

But anyway.
I am at the All Wales Network for Sexual Health and the programme sounded most promising, especially the LGB bit. I wait expectantly, notebook to hand, intelligent face not far behind.

The bloke waffles a little bit about a project that is happening everywhere apart from in Cardiff and I quickly check to see if the person next to me is looking as disappointed as I feel.
She looks like a very experienced meeting-person, so I sit up even straighter and make more effort to give a pinstripe effect, in my jeans and t-shirt.

I look down and notice that I have put my name tag on upside down. I decide not to fiddle with it as that would be distracting for other people.

I pick at the scab on my elbow and pull out a few eyebrows for entertainment.

I turn my badge the right way around.

It has to be said... the workshop is actually quite disappointing. I thought that I might learn lots that I didn't already know..... for my job, of course.
But the bloke is a bit boring and what he has to say is a tiny bit irrelevant.

I put my badge back on upside down again, just to be awkward. That'll show 'em.

I think very hard.
To be fair (as I am a very fair person and not at all grumpy, ever) mind you, I don't expect there's a lot left that he could have taught me.
But it's a pity, all the same.