Category Archives: Random

And Back In The Room……….



The Witch is back!! New adventure has begun, and I am riding the crest of that wave!! Scary, but of the sort that makes you want to shout at the top of your lungs from sheer exhilaration!! Returning on a permanent basis  to my home country is quite odd, it is a place in which I am an intimate stranger. Everything is familiar, and yet very new. I am like a small child in a toy shop, running from one display to another, unable to believe the choices laid out in front of me!! 

Shopping, which I normally hate with a vengeance, is suddenly hugely enjoyable. The array of products available, the speed at which they are obtainable, the special offers that  abound, to entice you in, all of these are quite magical to someone whose shopping experience has been limited to a single street. Even the much maligned postal system here is meteorically fast in comparison to that which I have been accustomed. No more five week waits for an item ordered online! No more trawling through pages of order forms, only to be told that the company doesn’t deliver to your country! Broadband that works. Constantly! And doesn’t require that you go make dinner whilst you wait for a page to load! Amazing!


I know the novelty will all wear off at some point, probabbly in the depths of winter, when my feet are blocks of ice, and the public transport has ground to a halt. But for now, I am relishing every moment!! Even the weather has conspired to make my transition easier, with glorious sunshine, and endless opportunities for drinks in the garden, surrounded by the most glorious array of flowers and fruit. And grass!! I hadn’t realised how much I have missed grass. The feel of it under my bare feet!! Wonderful!!

Best part of all? Free phone calls as part of the deal with my mobile supplier!! For someone who talks even in her sleep, that is the most wonderful gift ever!!! Torn-apart and I are like a pair of teenagers, spending hours talking utter nonsense to each other, just because we can!! The sort of conversations where, if asked, you couldn’t actually say what you had been talking about.


So in all the excitement I have sadly neglected my writing!! That little scribe voice hasbeen becoming steadily more persistent, and it has finally won, I am back at the keyboard again. More irreverance, madness, random photos, and occasional attempts at grown-up writing, with an odd poem thrown in!! I missed you all, and can’t wait to catch up on everything, and everyone!!

Oh, just one more thing!! A new photo!! Having lived for so long in a country where the sunrise and sunset times remain pretty constant all year round, my body doesn’t quite understand that daylight does not necessarily mean morning as we know it!! So I find myself wide awake at silly o’clock, while the rest of the household sleeps! This morning, I decided to mess around with my webcam, and of the 16,537 photos that I took, I found one that didn’t make me look like a convict, or a cabbage patch doll!! I duly posted it on facebook, and it has been met with universal approval!! Which is wonderful since I wasn’t wearing make-up, and hadn’t brushed my hair!! I think I shall adopt this approach for all further photographs!! And just for the record, it was a strappless top!!


Good to be back!!!


My Hero!! R.I.P. Rick Mayall





Lord FlasheartCliff Richard – Living Doll, The New Statesman – Alan B’stard

There will be a lot of you who will probably have no idea who I am writing about. But today Rik Mayall died, and I am devastated. He was my hero, the man who made me laugh louder than anyone, with the sole exception of my Torn-Apart and my boys. He was completely mad, a huge breath of fresh air after the British sit-com culture of the seventies. Along with his best friend Ade Edmondson, he exploded on our television screens in the early eighties, and won the heart of every teenager. The Young Ones was anarchic, rude, chaotic and hand over face horrifyingly dreadful at times. But any of us from that period can quote the script by heart.

The charity single he and the rest of the cast performed with Cliff Richard was wickedly awful, but I can’t hear the original of Living Doll any more without expecting the shouty chorus!! His series The New Statesman, in which he played a highly ambitious and ruthless Tory M.P. was all the funnier due to its almost perfectly accurate depiction of many a real life member of parliament. And his role as Lord Flasheart in the brilliant Blackadder series was sublime!!

As with a lot of successful comedy actors, the frantic gurning he employed belied a really handsome man. He always reminded me in some strange way of my Torn-Apart, which may be why I actually cried at the news of his death. In 1998 he had a near fatal quad bike accident, and as a result of the head injuries sustained, he suffered from fits, and it is suspected that this may have been the cause of his death today. He was only 56. British comedy will never be the same. Without him, it would have spluttered to an end a long, long time ago.

R.I.P. Rik Mayall





I love to watch you as you sleep.

Your face wiped clean of stress and care.

The furrow gone between your brows.

The pillow tumbled mess of hair.

A leg escaped from tangled sheets,

Still sweet scented with desire,

Your body languid in repose,

Sated after passion’s fire.

I love to gaze upon you thus,

Feel my heart swell with loving ache,

Then nestle close against your skin,

And hold you safe until we wake.





My Littley is not a lover of insects. More of a loather in fact. Despite his ever-increasing height, he stubbornly refuses to accept that they are a damn sight more scared of him. I have lost count of the times I have had to remove a *killer* moth or spider from his room, so when he phoned me at work to tell me he had abandoned our flat, along with daft dog, because it had been invaded by a *giant* centipede, I must confess I laughed.

And continued to do so all the way home, teasing him mercilessly, despite his protestations that it was a creature of man-eating proportions! As we entered the house, he and daft dog took up positions behind me, and he pointed to a spot worryingly close to my bedroom door. My laughter died in my throat. I am normally unphased by insects of any sort, likewise snakes, bats or rats. With the sole exception of cockroaches, which reduce me to a quivering wreck!! But I was stunned into silence by the vision in front of me.

At least eight inches long, and a girth the size of a small cucumber, a virulent shade of orange striped with black, this really was the largest centipede I had ever encountered. A giant set of pincers adorned its rear end, and a fearsome set of mandibles its front!!

“Told you!!” said Littley, as he and obviously totally useless guard dog edged away from me! My normal tools of glass and card were obviously sadly lacking in the capture of this beast, and I had no intention of getting any closer to it than absolutely necessary. So I resorted to the time-honoured practise of insect ridding, the vacuum cleaner!! Attaching the longest hose I had, I aimed it at the beast, and sucked it up!! It hit the bag inside with a loud thud, and dog and boy both let out a sigh of relief!! My mind raced on, however, as I envisaged it crawling back up the pipe to wreak revenge. So I grabbed a refuse sack, and deposited the Hoover in its entirety inside. Tied the top of the bag tightly and put the whole thing outside!! As far away from the front door as possible! To be thrown away the next day!!

Suspect I may be exaggerating slightly? Then behold!! I searched it on the internet. Turns out it is poisonous. Deep joy!! I just wonder how long it had been lurking in my bedroom!! I have insect screens now!!

giant tiger

P.S. Gibraltar is also home to the largest bird eating spider in Europe! Don’t tell Littley!! He will never sleep again!!


Dance Like There’s No-one Watching!!


James at sports day

I had to hunt through my files (OK bags!) of paperwork recently on a fruitless task of finding my Littley’s innoculation cards. I became completely distracted by all the old photos of and pictures drawn by my kids, and spent a few happy hours giggling with the boys at their early artistic efforts, which were always proudly displayed on the living room wall. My oldest son said we looked like a poor man’s Meet The Fockers!!!

This photo in particular still makes me giggle!! It is at the sports day of my now a Nearly Non-Teen when he was three years old. Just like his mother, when the urge to dance comes on, there is no resisting it!! So as the rest of the children filed neatly off the playing field, he danced like there was nobody watching!! To the delight of the crowd that actually was!!

Unexpected Guests


old woman shoe

Thirteen years ago, I answered a knock at my front door on a hot august evening, to find my cousin and her three children standing outside. Surprise enough, even more so since I hadn’t seen or heard from her for over twelve years.

“Hallo,” she chirped. “I’ve decided to move back to Gib, so I thought I’d stay with you for a while.”

What I should have done was shut that door, lock it, and hide behind the furniture. What I actually did was smile in a stunned manner, and allow them to file past me into my woefully small living room. Space being at a premium here, the apartments command London prices. Our joint income didn’t amount to much, so my husband, my four children and I were already shoehorned into a very compact and bijou flat. Now I had suddenly acquired an extra adult, two sulky teenagers, and Victoria. And thus the nightmare began.


My cousin and I are polar opposites. On every level! I am the tall, posh, skinny, redhead, she is the short, chubby, bleached blonde with a just south of London accent. She smokes, I don’t. I do housework, she doesn’t. Where we differ the most is in our attitude to parenting. None of these things concerned me when she lived a considerable distance away, but trapped in a confined space with her, it quickly reached the point that even the sound of her breathing incited me to murderous rage. On numerous occasions my family were left open mouthed by her family’s behaviour. Her three daughters fought continuously, until I actually banned them from speaking until I had left the house in the morning. The youngest one turned out to be riddled with head lice, which resulted in my spending hours in the bathroom with traumatised kids, while cousin lay on the sofa nursing her vodka and coke. The oldest girl took to stalking the unfortunate son of one of my neighbours. Just to add to the festivities, my husband lost his job, and I was suddenly the only wage earner for a family of ten!! I started to gallop rapidly towards a nervous breakdown.


I am very blessed to have fiercely bright children. I have always thought of very young children as being like sponges, soaking up information, and made it my focus to keep them supplied with a healthy flow of stimulation. This included talking to them constantly, from the moment they were born, much to the amusement of people around me. My cousin had adopted the opposite approach, avoiding conversation with her offspring as much as possible. As a result, the youngest in particular had a very limited vocabulary. I began with the best intentions, gently correcting her, encouraging her to use the correct word. By the end of a fortnight, I was grinding my teeth in frustration. Breaking point arrived as I was unpacking the groceries whilst the rest of the household concentrated on practicing their best reclining positions. My cousin’s youngest daughter bimbled in as I placed a bunch of grapes in the fruit bowl.

“Aunty Nikki, can I ‘ave one of them berries?”

After thirty seconds of bemused searching for berries, I realised she meant the grapes.

“They are grapes, Victoria, and yes, you may have one of those grapes.”

A few moments passed.

“Aunty Nikki, can I ‘ave another one of them berries?”

“They are grapes, and yes, you may have another one of  those grapes.”

“Aunty Nikki, I really like them berries!”

Audible grinding of witch teeth.

Grapes, Victoria. They are grapes.”

She wandered back into the living room and announced to the world in general,

“I’ve just bin eatin some berries in the kitchen.”

I tried. I even clamped my hand over my mouth, but the words had already taken flight.

They are grapes!!! FUCKING grapes!!!!!”

They moved out shortly afterwards.



25 Days – 25 Songs #3 – Song That Reminds You of Your Mother/Father



I’ve cheated a bit today, because I have three songs. Hope you will forgive me, but it wasn’t easy finding a song to define either one of  my parents. These choices though are from very strong memories I have of them from my childhood.

For my Fragrant Mother, I have chosen Happy Talk from the film South Pacific. She took me with her to watch this at The Gaiety Theatre cinema in Bristol, when I was about five years old. I remember it so clearly because she armed me with tissues, and then promptly stole them all back off me as she sobbed her way through the film, much to my embarrassment!! But we used Happy Talk as our survival song for years afterwards, whenever things weren’t too pleasant. I can still do all the actions!! I have never cried on my daughter in a cinema!!

For my Father, Bobbing Along from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. We weren’t close, and he very rarely spent any time alone with me as a child, but on two occasions I remember him taking my sister and I to the cinema. The first time we watched The Poseidon Adventure, which traumatised both of us, (we were very young!), and the second time was to see Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I managed to walk into a traffic meter just as we arrived, and so he made me sit with a coin pressed on the bump for the entire film. I also remember we went to a pancake house afterwards.

My parents used tp throw the most amazing parties in the early years of their marriage. My mother has always been a fabulous hostess, and her dinner parties were legendary. My father was a lecturer at Bristol University, and so the house was always full of students. The party I remember most clearly was a Hallowe’en fancy dress. The living room was decorated with all things witchy. and had a net pinned up into the ceiling, filled with pumpkins and spiders. i remember my sister and I hiding at the top of the stairs, watching people arrive, until we were spotted, and sent back to bed. I could only have been four at the time, because my middle sister hadn’t arrived yet!! I also remember one very drunken guest stumbling into our room during the evening, and peeing in the corner, much to my horror!!

I chose Something Tells Me.. by Herman’s Hermits, because it always transports me back to that time!!






25 Days – 25 Songs #2 – A song that reminds me of my most recent ex


lou reed

Lou Reed – Perfect Day

My ex-husband and I may not have had the most perfect of marriages, but there were a few things that we did agree on, and this track was one of them. I fell in love with the Transformer album in the very early eighties, my ex, who was twelve years older than me,  had loved it from the moment it was released. We didn’t have a big wedding, quite the opposite. But we did have this played as our song. And despite everything, we both still love it!!






I am constantly surprised and irritated by the instant assumptions made about a person based purely on their appearance, circumstance, or beliefs. I have recently read two really good posts that serve to highlight this, by Nate and Claudette, and it reminded me of a few of those moments that I have had to deal with in my life.

I will happily admit that I have always bucked against the constraints of *normal* preferring instead to relish my individuality, and celebrate that of others. How dull and colourless would this world be if we all followed the same path. I have actively encouraged my children to do the same, and delight in the amazing, vibrant people they have become. None of them a carbon copy of me, each has developed their own sense of style and thought. My own actions have never been as a result of malice, however, I have no time for bigotry or spite. But I thought I would share some of the assumptions made about me.

I left school at fifteen. Not because I wasn’t academic, as would appear. In fact I was three years above my peer group because I was blessed with a fierce brain. I simply wanted to follow a non-academic path.

....... and after!!!

Beware it may bite!!!!!

I was a hairdresser. Therefore, in some people’s eyes, I was stupid, because intelligence is not a prerequisite for that career. In fact, success in that world requires not just a natural artistic flair, but also an innate ability to assess and understand individual personalities in a very short space of time. To be able to converse easily on any subject, and to listen, because people treat their hairdresser as a confidant and counsellor. And to be constantly smiley and positive, even if your world is collapsing around you. My flamboyant make-up and hair quite often meant that I was ignored in shops, and refused entry to bars. Small children were steered away from me, because I was obviously dangerous to be around!!


Three blue hearts for my boys, one red heart for my daughter.

I have tattoos. I love my tattoos.They were not as a result of a drunken bet, but very carefully thought out, designed by me, and each has a huge significance. They obviously make me a thuggish individual, with totally unsavoury character traits!! My Darling Daughter hates them, the boys love them!! My Fragrant Mother’s reaction was priceless, when I sent her a photo of my first, rather large one on my back. “Well done , darling, you look like an ageing lesbian!” Made me giggle for days!!


None of these have bothered me particularly, just made me smile. But it was my experience as a single mother that left me stunned by other people’s preconceptions. I had been in a relationship with my son’s father for three years.He was only my second boyfriend. He had left me for another woman when I was five months pregnant, and I was forced to go home to Mother. All of which was distressing enough, but then I discovered that I was, apparently, a woman of loose morals, who had a voracious appetite for men, and had got my come-uppance. Oh, and that I had deliberately become pregnant in order to gain housing/benefits. Absolutely amazing!! It has to be said that I have met a few women like this, but the majority of single parents are such purely because of a series of unfortunate events. It did afford me the opportunity to have one of my more glorious moments however.

A short while after returning home, I went for lunch with Fragrant Mother and her partner at their local pub. I was introduced, for the first time, to the landlady of the establishment, a large, loud, blowsy woman by the name of Audra. She knew nothing of my background, but jumped in feet first to the whole slutty single mum scenario!! Her opening line to me, in her very loud voice, was, “So, do you know who the father is?”

An instant hush ensued, as all eyes turned to me. I took a deep breath, smiled sweetly, and in my very best cockney accent, accompanied by obvious chewing of gum, I answered.

” I’ve narrowed it down to twelve. And if it turns out to be black, then it’s one of three!”


Just a bit of an update. I thought you might also like to read this wonderful post by NS on inkriched, concerning the same subject. Well worth a read.

Butterfly Moments


butterfly moment

My Nearlynonteen had his butterfly moment today. That moment when he finally spread his wings, ready to fly. He had the first of his A level exams this afternoon, and by ten o’clock this morning he was pacing the floor with a major case of nerves. He has worked hard for this, condensing two years work into one, and juggling two jobs at the same time. So those wings were spreading already. But today he was angry. With his friends, who hadn’t bothered to study, who couldn’t understand why he was so concerned about doing well. That’s when I knew the butterfly moment had arrived.

Darling Daughter took herself off to Nepal for six months when hers struck, to live up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, with a family who spoke no english, to teach sexual health to teenagers. Loved it so much she did the same thing in Cambodia the following year!! Eldest Boy went to Uni, moved in with his girlfriend, ignored all those who said “It will never last!!” and ten years later the two of them are still blissfully happy and having a ball!!

Mine was at seventeen, when I left home, moved to Edinburgh, and had the most amazing two years of my life!! The Eighties were a good time to be a teenager, and a hairdresser to boot!! I spent half my time in London, did hair shows in the States, prepared models for photo shoots, and partied like there was no tomorrow!! I met my Bestest Friend Ever, and was still with my Torn-Apart. I could run in ridiculously high heels, and dyed my hair a different colour every week. I lived every second of it, let the sun shine on my wings.

So the Mum in me felt a pang when I realised that he was going to fly. But the rest of me thought “Yes!!” Because I want him to relish his butterfly moment, every damn second of it!!!

P.S. Just thought you might get a bit of a chuckle from these photos!! Looking at them, I was less of a butterfly, more of a Death’s Head moth!! It was the Eighties, that is my only defence!!



....... and after!!!

……. and after!!!


A Different Country!!



We think of our Gibraltar as a totally separate country from Spain, despite their constant claims on our sovereignty. Just to prove it, we produce our own weather!! This is not a photoshopped picture, this is known as The Levanter, a cloud that forms over the rock when there is a strong easterly wind, combined with high humidity. While the rest of Spain is bathed in glorious May sunshine, we have our own little bit of very British greyness!! This was my view as I came back into Gib yesterday. Incidentally, the road you can see in the foreground is the only way into Gib, for pedestrians and cars alike. It crosses our runway, and is closed when the flights land. There is always a slight sense of panic if you are halfway over,and the alarm sounds for an approaching plane!! Amazingly unique place!!

gib runway

Well This One Took Me By Surprise ……….



very inspiring blogger award

I want to say a huge thank you to A Worried Student for this nomination, especially given the title of Inspiring!! The most I ever seem to inspire is deep sighs from my geniuses, who do not, ever, at any time, find me in the least bit funny. Actually, that only inspires me to annoy them even more!!

So here we go, seven facts about me.

  1. I can’t sing. I really can’t!! I sing all the time, at the top of my voice, but I defy anyone to actually recognise what I am singing!! It is a talent I inherited from Fragrant Mother, everything she sings sounds like the theme tune from Kojak. And that wasn’t great!! My brother sings like an angel. I have longer legs!!
  2. As a child,I used to tear off small bits of paper from whatever I was reading at the time. My father got so annoyed by this, he made me eat a paper sandwich. It cured me.
  3. I still have dreadful nightmares. I haven’t learnt to navigate my dreams, and frequently wake up completely terrified. I also sleep walk.
  4. I have virtually no sense of smell. I have odd days when I have big whiffs of things, but most of the time I have nothing. My sense of taste is not affected by this, if anything it is enhanced. I am almost obsessive about personal hygiene as a result.
  5. I love swimming, particularly in the sea. I would quite happily spend hours in the water, and frequently end up pruney!!
  6. As a teenager, I was quite often mistaken for Hazel O’Connor. One bloke got really angry with me one night because I wouldn’t admit to being her!! I didn’t mind that comparison, I wasn’t so keen on Princess Anne!!
  7. I have always wanted to be call Tabitha!! I may yet change my name. I fully intended naming my youngest child Tabitha. He turned out to be a boy. Even I am not that cruel a mother!!

So here are my seven bloggers that I have found inspiring.

  1. Dandelion Fuzz
  2. I Shit You Knot
  3. Hugh’s Views and News
  4. Meredith’s Musings
  5. The Chocolate Teapot
  6. To Search and to Find
  7. The Relative Cartographer

And the all important rules!!

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate a list of bloggers that inspire you.
  5. Include this set of rules.
  6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

 Hasta luego!!!