I Was Swallowed By A Hippo

Castle life, Aga strife, slummy mummy, average wife

Aga: 348 Mrs MacHall:3*

fake scene of domestic bliss

Fake scene of domestic bliss. Posed by model.

Aga relations reached an all time low this week when, clearly bored with administering third degree burns, the beastly thing decided to poison me instead, seriously upping its game and rendering me useless for 4 whole days. It’s partner in this heinous crime was either a joint of pork it callously under-cooked on Saturday or a poached egg that I was conned into thinking was edible, on Friday. The jury is still out but since Niall also ate the pork and was fine, the pendulum of guilt is swinging towards the egg, and therefore the hens. Could they all be in it together? I know a rational being might suggest I look closer to home (and in a mirror) before apportioning blame on inanimate objects and innocent poultry but I swear that smug, Scandi-chic (my arse), glorified dog-warmer has it in for me and I wouldn’t put anything past those hens…
On a worryingly related note, we have taken delivery of half a pig, in its various guises, to be shared with the in-laws. I say WE, it was actually ME on my own who had to deal with it when it arrived, unannounced on Monday night**. Bear in mind please that I was in the throes of food poisoning and pork was still the prime suspect at this stage. Insult to injury on a grand scale. Now is not the time to go vegetarian. Or Jewish.

*mostly fish fingers, if I’m honest.
** This is not unusual. A few weeks ago I was walking back to the car from a nearby beach with a visiting relation, when a white van appeared from nowhere and pulled up beside us. Having watched far too much Crimewatch in my formative years, I pulled the kids close and hid behind my young cousin (Rachel, 12). Picture my relief and Rachel’s utter bemusement when it turned out to be Andrew the tenant farmer, selling beef.

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Eggs, Sleep and Leaves

I have mostly been obsessing about one or all of the above recently, sometimes all three at once. Two out of the three haven’t been featuring nearly enough over the past week. The children seem to playing a kind of insommnia tag team game and have clearly signed a pact to ensure that they never sleep through the same night. Consequently we are barely functioning and tempers are shorter than Britney’s first marriage Miley Cirus’ virginity pledge. Making matters potentially horrifically worse is the threat of hand, foot and mouth disease that is hanging over us like the Sword of Damacles. 50%*of the playgroup has been struck down with this most evil of viruses since a birthday party last Friday. The 5 day incubation period is nearly up and so far my two seem to have had a miraculous escape**. I really don’t think we could cope with illness on top of sleep depravation. I’m already on the edge – I nearly bought his and hers adult onsies the other day.

20130919-163645.jpgThe other irritation and occupier of brain space in the small hours is the hens. They don’t appear to be laying as efficiently as they used to and sometimes I’m greeted with just one measly egg. It’s pretty devastating when, for a time, all five were laying beautifully. Even Bunty, the mother of the group, who stopped laying for ages, had a stay of execution when she started coming up with the goods again. We wonder if some of them are laying out as they roam free every afternoon but I don’t have the heart to keep them in as they’re always desperate to be let out. There’s no room for free-loaders on this estate, however, so they’d better get their shit together and start producing or it’ll be the stock pot for Bunty and friends.

So with all these dreadful first world problems hanging over me, I’m ever thankful for the leaves. The LEAVES! They are amazing already. Everyday they get a wee bit more golden, or orange or red. I’m worried I’ll forget to look and suddenly it’ll all be over and they’ll be on the ground in a big sludgy mess. I never thought it would be so fabulous to be surrounded by trees. I could seriously bore both my readers to tears going on about leaves. There is a view at point on the road back from the school run which takes my breath away every day – at the top of the hill you can look down and see our beach and the bay, fringed by trees with a spectrum of coloured leaves (LEAVES!) and it’s changing all the time. Next sunny day (it’s pissed it down for days, the honeymoon is over…) I will stop the car precariously on the bend and try and capture it, amateurishly, with my cheap camera. I love the fact that everyday there is something I see which makes me think, wow, I live here.

*5 kids, but still…
**touches ALL the wood

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AGAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggghhhhh

It took a good few days to stop missing my family last week. The staggered departures only prolonged the heartache but it was lovely to have a few extra days with mum and dad. I’ll have to toughen up as this is going to be an on going side effect of living in the arse end of Bunglefuck.
We all miss baby Olivia desperately. It’s amazing how much impact she had despite barely uttering a peep while she was here. She even quietly tolerated her cousins’ impressive efforts to (literally) smother her with love and kill her with kindness. She shall be named ‘Oblivia’ from now on…
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And so as the dimple from her wee head in the cot springs back* and the kitchen utensils are back in their rightful places**, it’s time to cosy in and perhaps steal a few moments to myself to peruse this illustrious publication which landed in the porch last week.
I didn’t have high hopes, if I’m honest, but I didn’t expect the rising blood pressure culminating in a string of profanities after just a quick flick through. A brief sample:

“Because one is not enough.”, Marco Pierre White on why he has TWO AGAs. He is insane and must be stopped.

“Isn’t if funny how the colour of your AGA becomes so important?”, guest columnist, Lucy Young. Er…NO actually Lucy. What is actually important is the protective clothing required when retrieving the cremated remains of the dinner you lovingly prepared then condemned to a fiery death.

“I’ve learned that AGA food tastes the best”, Daisy Lowe, Fasion Model. Fuck off Daisy. You clearly haven’t eaten a square meal in years, let alone cooked one.

And my favourite:
“When British business man Chris Ruffle built a Scottish baronial castle next to his vineyard in China, an AGA was an obvious choice…”. There are no words. Apart from, WHATTHEACTUALFUCK?????

I’m already looking forward to the Christmas edition. Hopefully this wasn’t just a one off teaser.

*SOB
**I don’t want to appear ungrateful for helpful guests but they were bloody useless at putting things away. I found an egg brush** in the knife compartment and an array of spatulas in the wooden spoon jug.
***didn’t even know I had one.

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All about Olivia

1150299_10151826911375239_1315310409_nPredictably, I cried buckets upon meeting fabulous Olivia for the first time. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of responsibility as her auntie and the role I have in her life. It is my duty to provide her with non-parental advice and support, sundry crocheted items, designs for her first tattoo and a castle to visit whenever she likes. I won’t let her down.
She looks exactly like my sister as a baby but luckily I don’t have the same jealous urges to do mean things to her. Poor Louisa went through a lot at the hands of her evil big sisters. Once we made her drink dishwasher powder under the pretence it was Cremola Foam(tm) and taunting her with lies about being adopted was an every day occurance. I do believe it is Karma that she has a wonderfully content baby who already sleeps through the night aged three months, whilst after three years, I can count the nights of unbroken sleep on one finger. The middle finger, as it happens…

DSC05298I’m already dreading Olivia’s departure. It’s been wonderful to get to know her in person and to see my girls trying to break loving their baby cousin. I hope they have a close relationship all their lives. They have a lot to offer each other by way of scottish castles and Manhattan apartments. Also, I don’t want to put Olivia under any pressure at this stage in her life, but she could actually be president of the United States of America one day and it’d be super nice if she mentions her scottish relations in her inaugeral speech. Just saying.

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