It's beginning to feel a lot like Xmas

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, dear reader,

my mince pies are made,

the commuting male is having a wobbly

my tree is up

the mulled wine is by the stove  (yes Mr Him is cheating )

and  has been drunk

the wild animals have become enlightened

My fridge is smelling of ripe brie fresh from France  (French market visit )

Merry Xmas from our house to yours

Elfing Around

Dear reader, enough is enough.  I've taken finance department Xmas festivities into my own hands, or head.
The most intriguing comment I had was 'it's surprising how normal it looks.'

Mrs No Name - Christmas Tree Challenge

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, in other departments at work, not mine.  In legal they have a chocolate advent calendar suitable for, well me really.  In human resources they've had a Christmas tree competition. In finance we have the flipping auditors!  This is getting to be a habit.  

Not long ago  HR bake had a cake Bake Off and the legal team bring a dog in day.  What did we have in finance. ..year end accounts!

The HR Christmas tree challenge operates like this. You take a photo of your tree and give it an anonymous name.  The pictures are placed on a wall and everyone has to guess who's tree.   I love the anonymous names, Kate Moss  (tall skinny tree), it's not a range rover (must be a man's tree ). My favourite is Mrs No Name. What's your favourite?

Anna does Tidying

My fastidiousness to being neat  is cutting edge. My attunement to orderliness is razor sharp.  The result is a house that's harmonious in ambiance and cupboards that are uncluttered.  I am Minimalist Woman.  In my dreams!  This very week my 21 year old cleared some surfaces and dumped left about recipe books and CDs outside my bedroom door. The meaning being 'put these away where they belong.' At work, Petra, shuffled papers on my desk mumbling ' look you don't need these. Let's get them out the way over there so you can see what you're doing. ' If I go to take bits to a charity shop I invariably come out with more, because ' I always wanted a lime green pencil skirt for the chihuahua, and at that price...'

When I read Sue at My New Life in the Country saying that she's doing a reverse Advent calendar I thought what a darn good way of putting real order into my space.  The idea is that I find something each day to donate.  So far I have given an unwanted last year present, still wrapped, to Mr Him s work raffle.  Donated some pottery jars from my dressing table to my 21 year old. I'm putting a box together in the attic for when she gets her own place. I've emptied a drawer in Mr Him's chest of drawers (it contained clothes for decorating flopping.) Really they could be in the attic given how often he flops.  Half were thrown out.  He really was not going to fit into lycra age 17 again anyway.  What have I done with the space?  Used it for my scarves, of course.  I've also put aside for charity a pressure cooker and my lycra gym trousers (it's only fair really).

Seasonal Outings for Glass Slippers

Dear reader, December has been hectic and we're only in the first week.  
Last week the One Team Thunderbird had her 21st birthday.  

This event was to last a week, according to her note on the fridge.  The birthday, as it turned out, also occupied the freezer for a week.

 After two days  we Mutton people (Mr Him and I ) were exhausted, and in desperate need of putting shopping away in the freezer.  Her note had also dictated she was to wake up to balloons around her bed and be given an x box 3. She was disappointed. The balloon fairy did not arrive in the night but her boyfriend did get her an x box.

She went out to a Western themed restaurant on her big day with her work colleagues.
The next day she had dinner out with Mutton Woman  (moi), Mr Him  and her friends.  Now I must mention here that I had had my work Christmas lunch that day so was very overindulged myself  (although it didn't include an x box 3, which is as well as I wouldn't have known what to do with it if it had.)  

At my Xmas lunch I was a designated photographer.  As such, as colleagues posed I took thematic pictures of the walls behind them, signs to the restrooms, decor, food and drink.  My colleagues thought this was weird,  funny and disappointing for their Facebook friends, all wrapped up in one seasonal feelings parcel.  

The newly 21 year old enjoyed her dinner out with us but equally did not understand my attitude to pics. 

The next night she and her boyfriend went to his work party at The Grand in Brighton, where she took pictures that I didn't understand.  500 selfies appeared on facebook as she took selfies from various spots in the hotel.

 She wore my shoes and glitter cardigan and kept them out way after their usual bedtime. (note the freezer still loaded with her birthday bits).

 I found the shoes collapsed in an indecorous and disheveled heap in the hall the following morning.

For the sake of full disclosure I should tell you that Mr Him and I also went out that night and arrived home just before  midnight, unlike the shoes.  I realised the limitations of Mr Him and his appearance as the clock struck 12. My shoes appeared to rather fancy themselves as glass slippers that were impervious to the hour.  

Mr Him and I had gone to a ball the other side of the Kingdom county. The ball started with a vinyl disco 

which heralded in a male stripper, if you used your imagination.  The singer came on stage in an overcoat and stripped down to leather trousers adorned with glittery bits.


Vintage Fair Mutton Style

Is it wrong to not want to go out but just stay in snuggled watching TV and drinking Mr Him's sloe gin? That's what I wanted to do last weekend. We had -5c temperatures, we had a fire and we had sloe gin.  What is a mutton woman to do!  Spend weekend on sofa of course. This was interspersed with vacuuming, cooking,  cleaning, washing clothes and instructing Mr Him on bulb planting.  

The previous weekend however did see us venture forth.  We embarked on a journey to  a vintage fair.  Mr Him did whisper to me on the way ' you aren't planning on selling me are you. ' He had unfortunately  seen the label prepared earlier 'Bloggers giveaway' so I had to abandon any such plans until the next vintage sale. My element of surprise had been destroyed.

Oldest,  Team One Woman Thunderbird and her boyfriend the Automotive Engineer joined us.  We caught the train so as cocktails could be imbibed, as you might well anticipate as this is my adventure.  

The fair was in the old Corn Exchange in Brighton.  Although it was called a fair it was a sale.  

First Mr Him puzzled over how the Automotive Engineer managed to find a mouth laser.

One Woman team Thunderbird selected a flower for her hair.

 Mr Him pondered plaid shirts

Then we enjoyed cocktails with our young adults

I did however get a vintage hacking jacket, not quite tweed, Hastings Battleaxe, but close.

Clothing Experiments that put Mr Him to Shame

Dear reader, my oldest and I have separately and coincidentally taken part in clothing experiments.  Now I know its normally Mr Him that partakes of this sort of sedentary activity as he finds it less exhausting then jogging but oldest and I decided to find out what he sees in such occupations.

My clothing experiment activity took place at the black tie dinner last week.  When I say black tie I mean black jackets, black trousers,  black dresses. Yes 499 of the attendees wore black. 

The 500th, me, wore sparkling bright red.  Chris De burgh rather came to mind.  

Following in my footsteps the young online shopping genius one woman Thunderbird Team  (my oldest daughter) came home from work the next day dressed as Wonder Woman. As she's a dental nurse we at first thought this a major work attire faux pas, until she showed us the photos. 

Mr Him immediately sent off an email to the dentist requesting suppliers of such work based apparel. He has plans to fly to work in future.  

The trains have been diabolical recently, I do agree, so I can see why he's tempted. Below are queues and crowds I have experienced in the last 2 weeks alone. 

 Today we drove as there was signal problems. We rallied up one of his colleagues and one of mine so we had a matching pair and headed to work motor vechularly.  When his outfit arrives he's going to carry us on his back as he swoops across southern England.  We look forward to that.  He's working on his pricing tarrif as I type. 

A Year On and On Repeat

Dear reader, a funny thing happened on the way to the bank.

Last year I wrote  about a man I met outside our office.  You will need to either press control and click or copy and paste into a browser, but it will be worth it.

In that write up I mention that I hadn't seen him for a day, well over the last year I haven't seen him nor have my colleagues.

Last week, 3 days after Halloween, I left the office at one to go to the bank.  There he was.  Leaning on a trolley basket.  He called me over.  I suspected how the conversation would go, and it did.

'do you work there?'
'is it very stressful?'
'not too bad.'
'I worked there, don't let it get to you.' 

We said goodbyes and I moved on.  As conversations go its taken a year to find out the next part of his story. He had been a security guard. So I am left wondering, who or what is he. 

Talking of older blogs.  I am off to a black tie dinner tonight.  I wrote about this same event also last year. Out will come the same dress, evening bag and shoes.  I wonder whether there will be the same warrior attitude.

Remembrance Parade, mostly.

Dear reader,  you had a near disaster I'm afraid to tell you.  My laptop charger broke.  I felt for you, dear reader. I felt for you to such an extent I took my laptop to town and charged it in a pc shop! They've ordered me a new charger to be delivered to my home and totally free of charge.   I stressed the importance of keeping you up to date.  I really stressed it, to such an extent they felt your pain and rang a helpline.  The kindly young man was on the line for 20 minutes trying to obtain support for me, you and himself.  He got there in the end. I'm back and you can breathe easy. 

Other than solving my laptop problem for you what have I done?  In my distress for you I put on 3 pounds in weight by over eating. Pasta and dessert on Friday night at a family dinner in Zizzis then fish and chips and dessert at a meal at home for friends.  Yes, I confess,  if i invite friends over for a meal I sneak out for fish and chips takeaway.  The paper wrapping and grease, I insist, gives it authenticity.  Still its generally enjoyed by all.  

On Sunday my oldest, the one woman  team Thunderbird took to driving Thunderbird 1 as 2 was low on fuel.  She went to the Remembrance Day parade. I was very proud that she felt it was important for her generation to attend.  She dressed smartly and wore her best cream overcoat with a poppy.  She took the below pic.

In the meantime I went to the mall with my 17 year old who wanted to spend her birthday money (good old Primark). The 2 minutes silence occurred in the car for all (radio, me, cd player)  except her, and I couldn't speak to tell her to be quiet!  Once we were in the mall she said, 'oh we missed the 2 minutes silence, 'to which I said ' well, you did.'

Mr Him and I walked in the afternoon to the village with the dogs and watched the afternoon parade. We I then  discovered Blue moon beer which was served with a slice of orange.  Mr Him had already discovered beer.

One Woman Team Thunderbird

Dear reader, my oldest has sent a shockwave through my motherstolic system. Whilst I was causing havoc in the kitchen on Saturday with my Welsh cake making she was out causing havoc on the roads taking her motorbike test.  Motorbike!  She doesn't have a darn motorbike and has only rode pillion a couple of times on her dad's.  Now she's got a flipping licence!  What's a mother to do! !  I was in ignorance of this plan.  

When she powered her way home in the evening our drive was mostly taken up with her vehicles.  She rather fancies herself as a one woman Thunderbirds team it seems.  She spent Sunday out on Thunderbird 3 practicing all she learnt.  Dear reader,  my motherstolic system was so out of balance i forgot to take photos of Thunderbird 3 whilst it was in our drive.  She took it back to the bike hire on Sunday. 

However here are pics of Thunderbirds 1 and 2. 

Mr Him was so taken aback by all of this that he did some DIY. Yes, dear reader. Now you realise the shockwave  this bike scenario caused to the Himostolic system too.  Mr Him mended one toilet seat, he WD40'd door handles and he took a hammer to the  oldest's door frame (her door sticks and she has to slam.)  The latter  (door handles and frame) were in the hope we can get a full night's sleep. The Young online shopping genius tends to be noisy when she comes in at night.  That's before bringing a flipping motorbike home. 

I meanwhile headed for the kitchen and made a chilli for Mr Him and I. We needed distraction from the one woman Team Thunderbirds. It happens that I had been lectured by a colleague at work that I wasn't eating properly. With the kids now adult and adultsish they fend for themselves.  Mr Him and I are also fending for ourselves.  I've been eating weightwatchers ready meals  and salad when I get home from work.  Mr Him has tuna or some such salad.  The concern to my colleague is that I'm eating so much processed food so regularly.  She told me what I really know but gave up practicing.  Cook batches at the weekend.  Real food and freeze. With that in mind I spent time on a chilli going back to basics and wholesome ingredients.  I served it with corn on the cob and rice.  Four portions went in the freezer too.  

I admit that due to the imbalance of my motherstolic system I did hit the red wine whilst I cooked. Mr Him thinks this bottle is decoration.  If he were to look closely he'd see the damage


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