The reasons Jasmine doesn’t like me today..

Because Kieran won’t play Uno with her.
Because I make her eat her tea.
Because of my face (?)
Because a bird pooed on her head last week.
Because I don’t let her eat pudding if she doesn’t eat her befores.
Because sometimes at school other girls call her names.
Because sometimes at school she calls other girls names.
Because Daddy tickled her too much.
Because Daddy won’t tickle her.
Because I laughed.
Because Daddy laughed.
Because we didn’t laugh.
Because I made her fold up her clothes.
Because I suggested daily teeth cleaning would promote healthy teeth and minty breath.
Because I don’t love Zayn from 1D.
Because Baby Abigail frightens me to death and her eyes follow me round the room.

Reasons Jasmine likes me:

Because I’m hers. (I’ll let her off then)



One of those days, data, dog socks and my face!

When I was little I was so sure I was going to be a herbalist, I was going to be self-sufficient, live in the mountains and heal myself with the bountiful world around me.  So how find myself in university admin I don’t really know… it just kind of happened when I wasn’t looking.

So today wasn’t the greatest days.  Looking at it rationally, nothing drastic happened, no-one died but it was one of those days when you sit staring at your screen, seven hours after getting into work and wondering to yourself just where it all went wrong. At what point did I give up my dreams of a life in the wilds harvesting herbs, breathing deeply, doing yoga and wearing cheesecloth? (Ok then remembered that it had something to do with wanting a mortgage, a fondness of warm water and the inability for anyone to look good in cheesecloth..)  but I haven’t given up on my dreams completely, I’m just taking the scenic route to get there.


Plus, it’s good practice to readjust your view of your daily life every so often, that way you can re-focus your efforts and prevent pressure sores.

Bottom-line: I don’t think I am designed to work in an office. This fact is hampered by the fact that I’m occasionally good at it and that I love my wonderful work family.  The work itself isn’t bad, it’s just frustrates me when things happen which are beyond my control and find myself awake at night neurotic about whether or not I’ve used the right parameters for filtering my results and as a result of this, whether I’ll end up looking like a moron who is only just keeping a lid on her crazy.


And why am I worrying? Am I going to lie on my death-bed and wish that I had managed to more accurately display data? No, I’ll hopefully be thinking that re-trying fire juggling was a bad idea in my 90’s but what the hell? The grandkids got some amazing photos.

So I appear at work, saddle up the software and ride the wild rollercoaster of data… I work in phases, I have moments of zen like concentration followed by periods of absolute drivel.  My brain will be trying to work out averages and percentages, whilst simultaneously battling the urge to sing hits from the Sound of Music or ask random questions to the people around me.

(NB: Julie Andrews wouldn’t be at all worried about data, she would sing a classic show-stopper about curtains and punch a Nazi in the face).


So today (well this week really) hadn’t gone to plan and I was having a proper strop. In true Maria Von Trapp style I decided to count my blessings (What would Julie do?) I have a job, I have lovely colleagues, I have a home, I have a wonderful partner and brilliant kids… I am blessed with friends and mad animals, my health and a lovely family.  I have everything I need right now…

Julie Andrews is a legend.

So by the time I got off the train, I wasn’t feeling as mopey… I opened the front door and the cherry-on-the-cake greeted me.

Poppy’s new ‘dog-socks’. (Poppy cut her foot a few weeks ago and had developed a habit of biting her feet, the vet suggested a week or so of dog socks…) I can’t put my finger on why exactly I found it so funny, was it her bewildered face? The odd look she gave me? Or the way she pranced around the house like Bambi with no knees… Who knows? But I flopped on to the rug in complete hysterics, still in my coat and hugged her like mad for dispelling my bad mood once and for all.

2015-01-21 18.06.21

So the chickens are safely in bed in the coop, the furries are snoozing on my feet – I switch on my computer to find that the Shortlist Gallery is up for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize and as I add that to my list of reasons to be happy (and excited and amazed and overwhelmed!!) I realise that everything is going to be just fine.

So I may not know quite where I am going or how I have got here, I may not know how I am going to continue but I have love, excellent company and Julie Andrews. Who could want for more?

Fathers Day and New Additions

Originally written Sunday 15th June 2014

Today is Fathers day… we showered Mr Williams with love and breakfasts (mostly eaten by the monsters), we then gave him presents (mostly opened by the monsters) and treats (mostly eaten by the monsters).

The best part of the day was the most amazing card from Kieran.  Proudly given to him with the declaration that he did it all himself:  “Daddy, this is a picture of you falling to your death in a giant glass of beer whilst we all watch”


So touching!

Then, the moment we had been waiting and preparing for, for what seemed like weeks! We then all bundled in the car to bring home our new arrivals! Off to Monmouth to meet Charlotte from the British Hen Trust and bring back our ex-battery chickens who we pre-named Ekek, Wakwak, Baba-Yaga and Harpy-Dave (Yep we like our mythology in this house – ok, so Baba-Yaga was not technically a bird creature but her house has chicken legs!)

hensWe were warned that they would be in a bad condition but I think we were all a little shocked. Very thin, very pale and missing, in some cases, all of their feathers.

hen1 hen2 hen3 hen4

But they learnt, and they ate, and they scratched, clucked, dug, ran, jumped, pooped, laid and flapped their way back to health…. By the end of the summer we got nearly 30 eggs a week and they went from strength to strength.


We discovered they each have their own little personalities, they love sweetcorn, fight over worms, can climb stairs, get through cat-flaps and will happily stroll around the kitchen and eat the dog food…All whilst being completely non-house-trainable and pooing everywhere with mud on their feet and joy in their hearts.

I have to admit I am not always so chirpy about chicken poo… but when I think about how they had been, my heart melts and they make me smile.  They are now very much loved and part of the family.


Jasmine has become the chicken whisperer…. following her around like the chicken pied piper and attacking the dogs like poultry ninjas…