A Tale Of Two Trees

Like my middle-aged paunch, Christmas has crept up on us without us really noticing. I have one full week left at work, which includes our team night out and our band night out, so that paunch will be getting a little paunchier by the end of it.

It was only five minutes ago that I was sneering at folks on social media for daring to mention the word and now mild panic is setting in that we’ve bought nothing and we’re only on our second Christmas tree.

Yes, you read that right. Having ordered a fake one from The White Company for the price of a small family car, as “it was perfect and would last us years” it arrived early last week and much time was spent decorating it. Twenty four hours later, Louise had declared that it was not satisfactory and it had to go. So it was stripped, boxed up and sent back and in its place now stands a seven-foot real one atop a three-foot pile of needles.

We’ve done well so far to only lose one decoration to the jaws of Bean, we can only hope it can go the distance to the big day. If it doesn’t then Bean may not either!

On Friday night, Louise and the girls went to an Anne Summers party hosted by one of Louise’s fellow nurses. Emily and Rebecca were quite worried about attending such an event with their mother, fearing it may scar them for life, and it is probably for the best that I don’t know what went on aside from the few Snapchats the girls posted. I took them there (and picked them up) which was quite a nice throwback to the “driving years” when my main role in life was to transport them around the planet.

It has been quite some time since it was the four of us in the car driving somewhere and it was in a strange way very nice. The night involved a fair amount of alcohol and with Rebecca not having drunk for a year and Emily being, let’s be frank, a huge lightweight when it comes to drinking, Saturday was pretty much a right off for both of them. Of course, I should also congratulate Tom for coping on his own with Freddie for the first time too whilst Rebecca was out.

At the moment, our Disney plans have assumed a position on the back burner of my priority cooker. This happens at times during a long countdown I’ve found. Beyond the occasional glance at flights, I haven’t given it much thought really. Well, I always give it thought, as in, it helps to get me through the two-hour commutes that I have been enduring over the last few weeks, but I haven’t really thought about it from a planning perspective.

I do need to find time to go over the plan in detail again, to firm up the day by day activities. I suspect my usual routine of doing the parks in the order we always do may need some attention as we have to factor in the day we will be at Mickey’s Not So Scary and the days that the running of that may impact on our potential planned visits to the Magic Kingdom. I also need to run the busy day guide against our plans. I don’t usually use these in any meaningful way, but it’s always wise to make sure there are no obvious clangers being dropped which can easily be avoided.

I have a suspicion that much of my well laid plan may be cast aside once we’re boots on the ground with young Freddie with us. Our activities will of course have to consider his needs and moods so there may be a bit of going with flows.

As some of you may have seen, I did a Facebook live on the Mkingdon Facebook page when Rebecca, Tom and Freddie popped round during last week. At such a young age he changes so much in the few days between visits and it’s just fascinating to see that happening. He’s had a cold recently which has been fun for Rebecca and Tom, but other than that he’s doing brilliantly, as are they.

He is photographed and videoed more than The Kardashians, which is only right, as he is more intelligent and newsworthy than all of them put together. I fear for the amount of coverage he will get during his first tour of Disney. He’ll never have another first time, so it may just be easier to do one long Facebook live for the whole two weeks!

I have big plans for the rest of the day and they are to rest my ageing tired body. With my taxi duties on Friday and another Mustard gig last night I have had two late nights and my middle-aged frame is protesting this morning. Louise is going out shopping for her outfit for her Christmas party so I intend to be best friends with the couch, watch some football and I have a song to learn for a Mustard rehearsal tomorrow. Next week’s blog may just be me moaning about how tired I am as this coming week, I have to work of course, but I have a rehearsal on Monday night, my team night out on Tuesday (huge Chinese meal and a few drinkies) and then our band Christmas night out on Friday (huge Indian meal and a few drinkies). I’m beginning to understand now quite how that middle-aged paunch happened.

Till the next time…..


Discount Disney Tickets


Stripping – A Beginner’s Guide

I have sensed the anticipation and excitement building for a few weeks now. Everyone is talking about it and so I can deny you no longer. Here, after two weeks of tangible yearning, is the photo of our new fireplace that I promised you. I was inundated with a request to share this so here you go….

Exciting stuff for sure. Last week the decorator came and re-decorated the front room. It was a true dilemma, as my natural tightness was fighting with my absolute hatred of wall papering, but sense prevailed and every penny spent on my not having to do it was worthwhile.

In under two days he had stripped all the old paper off, glossed everything that should be glossed and re-papered. For me that would have been a two to three weekend job and a real threat to my will to live. It helps when you have the right tools of course. He had some instrument of medieval torture to strip the walls with which had a blade so sharp he needed no steamer or much elbow grease. He just applied a little water, wielded his diamond edged blade of death and not only did the wallpaper surrender itself with ease, it had the good grace to leave the old lining paper on the walls too. The pathetic stripping tool we own is pitiful in comparison and it takes several days in steam room like conditions to get a few strips off the wall.

When it came to the actual papering he had a pasting machine. Who knew these things existed? He just passed the paper through it on some roller thing and it applied a perfect layer of paste in about three seconds. No wonder I’ve been crap at decorating. I just don’t have the right equipment!

He’s done a great job, better than I could ever have of course, so it is money well spent.

Having just spent a couple of hours at a garden centre, crammed full of Christmas shoppers decorations, I would struggle to put most of the latter into that same category. We bought a few things, mainly some new lights for our tree as last year’s new lights will be in a ball somewhere in the cellar. With a few extra bits for Louise’s colour scheme this year we left with our financial health relatively unscathed. Having looked at a few items which we thought were nice only to find we’d need to sell the house or a kidney to have them, we decided to try elsewhere.

Being a Grandad has clearly changed my life immediately, as spending Sundays in garden centres is my destiny and I embrace it. I have ordered my cardigan and slacks and my Honda Civic is due to arrive any day now.

I had a night off from gigging last night, and it was nice not to have to load all the gear into the car in the rain (it always rains when I do that) for a change, so we had a look for a decent film to watch. Now, we have several streaming services at our disposal, with literally thousands of films to choose from. Nothing jumped out that we haven’t already seen, so we (well, it was Louise’s choice) decided to invest a fiver to buy a film from the Virgin Movies thingy. That film was a Tom Cruise film, which usually promises an hour and a half of turn your brain off entertainment and action. In this case….not so much.

We watched The Mummy. It was incredibly poor.

Bobbins

Before I get to the “plot” it was most confusing that the woman out of Peaky Blinders used more accents than a french person spelling lots of words with Es in them. British, a bit of American, a touch of Irish and many more. Perhaps she was demonstrating her vast range of dialects for future projects.

The plot was wafer thing, been done to death, not least by all the previous Mummy films and I fell asleep for about half an hour which did not prevent me from understanding what happened. Spoiler alert, The Mummy is defeated, Tom gets the girl and the comedic sidekick makes some very poor jokes just before the titles roll.  Poor Tom, very poor. Must do better. By the way, you owe me a fiver and about ninety minutes of my life back.

The most worrying thing about it was that the ending pretty much guaranteed their plans to make this into one of those franchise things, with multiple sequels being a distinct possibility. Having done so earlier this week, I can assure you that I really would prefer to watch paint dry.

Right, I have stuff to do, Emily is sat watching Hercules for the gabillionth time and at some point the dogs need walking.

Till the next time…..