Shedding some light on the darkness?

I’ve been having camera trouble lately.

First my beloved Nikon compact bit the dust, again, so I had to rely on my – not very good – camera-phone.

Soon afterwards the flash  – among other things – on said camera-phone stopped working. although it still takes reasonable daylight photos.

Then salvation: I found my newly acquired Hudl 2 took pretty decent flash photos!

Until it was lost, in circumstances that are still somewhat mysterious.

It was when I went to use my camera-phone, my sole remaining workable camera, and saw nothing in the viewfinder that I could feel the first wave of despair crashing onto my photographic shore.

Strange though: it still seemed to work in selfie mode! Normal mode: nothing! Hmmm…

Then a penny dropped.

My little Ellie is very creative, and is fond of stickers. She’d found some colourful,metallic,  smiley-face ones and had used them to decorate – yes, you guessed it – my ‘phone.

M’lud, I present Exhibit A:



An offending sticker has been removed; one that covered the camera’s back lens! It’s a shame as I disturbed the colourful symmetry of Ellie’s decorations – or ‘bling’ as she calls it.

So I stumble on with a more-or-less functioning camera, but at least one that’s ‘blinged up’!

In the meantime any contributions to my Camera Fund or my Tablet Fund are most welcome…


Saturday is Caption Day: Polystyrene!


Unpacking, polystyrene, young children: need I say more?

At least I had the good sense – this time – to place the action over a bin!

So can you add a caption for this? I’d love to see what you come up with!

Then for more captiony fun just click the pic:

Mars, Bringer of Tug-of-War

I was looking through some old videos last night & I came across this gem from May last year:

A room full of toys & they have the most fun with a pair of tights (not mine) left there accidentally – typical!

The music is actually Gustav Holst’s ‘Mars, Bringer of War’ from his Planets suite. Not Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ as I’d originally thought. Oops!

Before and After

When it was just the two of us:

Now we are four & they are two:

Get the picture?

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

A Moving Experience

It was all planned out very carefully.

The Mummy has been commuting 2/3 days a week to work in Wales from the Midlands & was sick of it. The plan has been to sell our home there & buy in Wales but we had made no progress in getting the place ready to sell nor in finding somewhere there. So we decided to move in to a small place we had been renting out while we sort everything out from there, renting out our old home at a reduced rate.

We’d been over to measure up, & had selected & paid for all but the stairs & landing to be refloored. We’d ordered & arranged delivery of a small washer-dryer & a small fridge-freezer. We’d selected a moving company & given them a list of what we were moving. The in-laws had come over to help with packing.

The flooring was being done on Tuesday April 3rd, & I was to spend the day before cleaning there. So I had grabbed what I needed for a week or 2, stuffed it all in the little car without the child seats & zoomed off to Wales on Sunday night, leaving behind a list of what to pack for when the Mummy & the twins joined me on Wednesday.

I should have known something was afoot, & not just that – as you may have noticed – I was driving over on April Fools’ Day. A month earlier I had ‘phoned Sky to tell them we were moving our TV, ‘phone & broadband. They told me that they couldn’t take moving calls until 2 weeks before the move. Their Engineers are so efficient! I was surprised but dutifully ‘phoned back 2 weeks later. I was then told that we couldn’t have ‘phone & broadband in Wales until April 11th – a week after our move! It appears that our earlier Operative was only thinking about our TV contract. Probably didn’t have room for more than 1 thought at a time I expect. I couldn’t understand why such a delay, they insisted that ‘according to their records’ an Engineer needed to attend to install the line. I pointed out that there was already a working BT line there, that the tenant had used it & so had we when we stayed there earlier. But what would I know? I’d only lived there, after all; I didn’t have The Records.

On March 28th, I got a letter saying that our ‘phone & broadband would stop at our present address on the 29th – tomorrow! After another frantic, & frankly really quite cross, ‘phone call they graciously allowed us to keep them until we actually left the house.

Serve me right for giving money to Murdoch’s Evil Empire I guess. Not for much longer I hope.

So how did the move go? Well…

Sunday April 1st, evening: Driving through Brum where the M6 meets the M5 & the car is losing speed rapidly. I manage to exit to a truck service & transport police depot before grinding to a halt. Coincidentally I’d broken down in almost the same place 3 years before except I had to go from the outside lane where the 2 motorways merged & just made it to the hard shoulder, on a corner. The AA arrives 40 minutes later & can’t fix it on the spot (clutch: same as before) so I have to be towed. Wife isn’t answering the ‘phone, she & the in-laws are enjoying a last drink & the phone is upstairs. The AA man suggests towing me to a 24-hour secure garage & having my wife pick me up, but when she eventually hears the ‘phone she tells me she’s a bit too tipsy to drive. So I get towed home. Stressometer: 5

Monday April 2nd: The car is towed to our local garage but they can’t fix it today as it also needs a new gear something or other. I decide to take the carseat-equipped Astra to the garage, transfer my stuff there & drive to Wales in it, coming back for the children to move on Wednesday. What the garage didn’t tell me is that the Ka is suspended, & we had to unpack it by a big ladder. I only had to go back once. I could also have done without the smart-arse jibes about my driving. Stressometer: 6

I make good time & reach our new home in the early evening. I discover that the only mobile I have has no signal in the house & I have to cross the road & stand under a lamppost to make calls. It’s very cold & so am I. No ‘phone & no internet while trying to organise moving my family to a different country. Great. I’m still sane, but cracking a little. Stressometer: 7

Tuesday 3rd, early morning: The carpet people refuse to start until they’re paid in cash  – which I’m fairly sure is illegal – saying it’s because we don’t own the house. We do but – oddly enough – I haven’t packed the title deeds & can’t prove it. I thought it was all paid for, & so does the Mummy when I ‘phone her. From around the corner now as the signal area has moved. CarpetWrong confirmed this so I have to find & drive off to an atm before work can start. They’re sneaky & won’t take the cash ’til they finish. I’m fitting in my cleaning around them as they work. They manage to leave the only downstairs door so that it won’t shut & the explanation they give me, which of course they leave until they’ve finished, doesn’t make sense. By now it’s already late & I have to drive back so I don’t have the option of standing around & arguing. Another good drive, fish’n’chips for dinner, & I’m  straight to bed in some old clothes as all my PJs are in Wales. Despite this I sleep long & well.  Stressometer: 6

Wednesday 4th, Moving Day. I’ve forgotten that the Sky TV bloke is due at 8 so the Mummy had ‘phoned to postpone ’til Saturday. I’ve also overlooked that we have an all-day delivery slot for the washer-dryer, starting from 8, so I zoom off in the now-fixed Ka with a few more supplies. I’m held up in English traffic though & am quite late in arriving. Luckily I haven’t missed the delivery.

Finally something goes right! Simply Removals are great: the 2 Romanian chappies are quick, efficient & extremely polite, the only issue being just slightly wonky closet doors. The washer-dryer arrives while they are unloading. I pay them in cash as arranged, having grabbed some more money on the way to the chippie last night.

I run the washer-dryer (an Indesit) through a test cycle as instructed, seems OK but a little water is left in it. It drains away on the drain cycle but the timer stays on 1 minute. Hmmm. Good enough to use, & I really need some clean clothes so I put on a load. It doesn’t drain. I discover this when I open the door & the (new) kitchen floor becomes a lake. Managing to shut the door before the flood spread, I run every cycle I can find but still no drainage. I ‘phone Appliances Direct but they are shut so I can’t arrange a repair or replacement.

Then I remember that my wedding ring is (probably) in the pocket of my jeans in the wash. I take it off often as it’s a bit uncomfortable, & if we weren’t moving it would be on its usual spot on my desk. So I have the choice of flooding the new flooring or leaving the clothes possibly including my ring in there to rot & worrying about it.

I have to spend about half an hour standing out in the freezing cold listening to messages & making ‘phone calls. The Mummy & Jallie arrive late evening, & are soon in bed & asleep. I sleep badly.  Stressometer: 8

Thursday 5th. There’s a mixup as to which of the 2 bedrooms is for adults & which is for children, so while the Mummy & Jallie go shopping I swap all the furniture between the 2 rooms. It’s not easy. In the day’s chaos I forget to ‘phone up about the washer-dryer.

The fridge-freezer is due sometime today & when it doesn’t turn up at 4 I ‘phone them up to check all is well. The signal area has moved away from me again so I have to walk a couple of blocks this time. They helpfully explain: ‘We sent an email to confirm & you didn’t reply so delivery has been cancelled’. I had specified delivery for today when I ordered, & had explained that I was moving house & wouldn’t have internet access! As I’m was trying to rearrange delivery, with comic timing, the ‘phone batteries run out. And of course we can’t find the charger. We manage to impose upon a childminder we know there to use her ‘phone: they can’t redeliver for a week. A week without a washing machine & dryer having just moved with twin 2-year-olds? NOOOO! We cancelled. I thank Jade Technologies for being so helpful. I’m being sarcastic. A vein in my forehead is beginning to make its presence felt. Stressometer: 9

While out shopping the Mummy had noticed that the Co-Op sells ‘fridges, so off we trot. We buy a brand we don’t recognise but a salesman who seems trustworthy assures us it’s reliable, & it has the features we want. Most importantly they can deliver tomorrow – Good Friday! I don’t think the salesman was expecting a big sloppy kiss. Especially with tongue. I like the Co-Op. Stressometer: 7

Friday 6th: The Co-Op delivered as promised, & the fridge-freezer seems to be working well. We mostly stand around waiting for something bad to happen. We find the ‘phone charger in the car, & I manage to drag out a crappy old PAYG with no credits but on a network that has coverage in the house. I eventually find its charger & figure out how to top it up. We use most of the £10 top-up in a ‘phone call to Mum-in-law as we pushed the wrong button & didn’t end the call.

We’re finding it difficult moving to such a small place. We keep falling over small persons running around & are having trouble finding anywhere to put stuff that won’t be grabbed by little hands & played-with to destruction. In the evening, with no ‘net, phone or TV, I rediscover an old Wii sci-fi shooter called Metroid Prime 3. Stressometer: 6

Saturday 7th: I top-up my ‘phone again & try to ‘phone about the washer-dryer. They’re closed, of course. Something to do with bunnies & chocolate. The Sky TV man comes along & plugs us in. He seems like a very decent bloke & he lives just around the corner, & he told us just to knock on his door if we have any problems. Stressometer: 6

Sunday 8th, Monday 9th: I show Jake Metroid Prime 3 in an area where there are no bad guys to shoot, explaining that it’s like Tree-Fu magic. Despite this he calls it the “bang bang!”, although personally I think it’s more of a whirrzzzhaa-chow! He becomes addicted. A few days later he sees a gun, points to it & says “bang bang!” & I realise that I’ve made a mistake & once again have underestimated him.

We spend our time looking around, settling in & waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Stressometer: 5

Tuesday 10th: I arrange for the washer-dryer to be serviced on Thursday. Wanting to find my wedding ring before the serviceman does I open the door & drain the water into a recycling bin. Which turns out to have holes in it. Cue another flood. I use a big bucket instead & manage to extricate my clothes. No sign of my ring. I hang the clothes on the rotary line & it collapses & breaks. I’m really quite grumpy now. Stressometer: 8

Wednesday 11th: In the light of the fridge-freezer delivery debacle I ‘phone Sky to get a time for when their Engineer is due. “Oh, we don’t need to send an Engineer as you already have a BT line. It’s already switched on.” The stupid &*%! seemed to expect me to be grateful. When I asked them why in Fs name they couldn’t have done this a week ago they didn’t seem to understand the question.

Ever feel like hitting someone? On the nose? Really, really hard?

Still at least we have a ‘phone line. Then we notice that we forgot to pack a ‘phone.

I go into to town & buy a ‘phone. And a washing line.

We also need an urgent prescription repeat as Jake has had an eye infection, now both Ellie & the Mummy have caught it & we’re out of drops. Ellie woke up with 1 eye closed & the other barely open. We haven’t registered anywhere & the town’s only surgery is shut. I find the emergency doctor’s office & they don’t want to do it, telling me to come back tomorrow morning & fill out some forms. My old PAYG mobile keeps cutting out. I show heroic restraint in not shouting or swearing even once. After using words like “duty of care” I eventually get them to do it, & get the prescriptions at 5pm. It’s cold & it’s raining & I don’t have an umbrella. Stressometer: 7

Thursday 12th: The ‘phone doesn’t work; it has a loose connection & keeps cutting out. We still don’t have the internet as we forgot to pack the necessary dongles with the router.

The Indesit bloke turns up, fiddles about & fixes the washer-dryer. No sign of my ring; we’d wondered if it was blocking the outlet. The explanation he gives doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sadly I suspect our theory was right & that he may have pocketted it on 1 of the many times I was distracted by having to supervise Jake & Ellie.

I get a new ‘phone &, after a lot of bother as this is not a high-tech town, manage to get  a couple of broadband dongles. Stressometer: A steady, resigned-to-my-fate 6

Now: So we now finally have a landline, Internet, TV, washing line & a washing machine, dryer, fridge & freezer that work. I’m still worried about my ring though; I’m now hoping that either I left it behind or that it fell in the long grass as I was hanging the clothes on the line. Which I haven’t been able to mow as I couldn’t find my Flymo.

Good. So how was your week?

They Turn 2 on Monday…

A little slice of the chaos that is my life. I did manage to do (more) cleaning after this by the way: honest!

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop

Jakey See, Jakey Do?

They were 19 months on Wednesday: closer to 2 years old than they are to 1!

We were sitting in the garden just yesterday (with our coats on) wondering “How the hell did that happen?” & “Where did the time go?”.

Well, I was anyway. They were mostly stomping on the garden’s last surviving flower.

They’re at an age now where they like imitating what they see us do, & trying to do things for themselves rather than have everything done for them.

Yesterday we were all wiping the sofa with baby wipes – that Ellie had very helpfully emptied out of the full, new packet. Many of the –  mostly unidentifiable (thankfully) – stains had been there for a considerable time. And we did a pretty good job.

They also like wiping spilt drinks (& other liquids) from the floor, & their mouths after eating, & their faces in the bath. Teeth-cleaning time is now much easier.

Jake loves following me around the garden helping me water the plants. So last night he saw a watering can next to a house-plant on the stairs, & decided to pick it up & water the thirsty & neglected plant for Daddy!

I was delighted  – until I saw that, imitating what he’d seen in the garden, he was busily watering the carpet around the pot & not the soil inside it!

It’s the thought that counts? And the carpet needed cleaning anyway….

American Idiots!

More videos to come, I hope!

The Gallery: Chilled Out

You just can’t get more chilled than this can you?

Every day I think more & more that we could learn so much from our children. They know how to have fun.

And they sure know how to relax, how to chill.

For the Gallery that’s more chilled than Ice T drinking iced tea on an iceberg in Iceland – in his pants (try & get that image out of your head in a hurry; I can’t) – go see the Countess of Chill, Tara at Sticky Fingers (click the pic):

PS: That black object she’s holding? That’s the Mummy’s mobile ‘phone. Or at least it was – it’s broken now.

Lesson learnt…