Friday, 29 July 2011

Have a nosey-Quick pic, Soppy gay dog's 10th birthday...

Yep, our soppy gay dog turned 10 on the 19th July...The kids and I made him a cake, 10 candles, chocolate butter icing and squeezed a giant dog poo shape on the top. It was by far the best cake we have ever made...! Well done us! Oh, and if you look carefully, you can just make out Esmie's lil chubby fingers doing the rabbit ears too behind Mitzi!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

'You’re getting your nuggets chopped off, then it’s back home safe and sound!'

First of all, I would like to start off with a big THANK YOU! To everyone who read my blog yesterday, it meant a lot to me that so many of you took the time to read it, so thanks…

There’s some idiot moth, trapped, apparently, in my light. It’s flapping about like Hitler had been reincarnated as a moth, and was on his way to execute him for being ‘mothish’. Go AWAY from the light, moth, toward the breeze….nope, he is not getting it, preferring to be flapping around a light bulb, mms close to their death by scorchy lightbulb, cant help but follow the …sh*t *scorch*, I’m dead. Anyway, how was your day? Hey? Didn’t spend it flapping round a scorchy lightbulb till you died? No, but you would have preferred that to the day you did have. OK, I understand. To be honest, I feel genuinely as though I have THE worst parent deal this holiday. I have guests, kids on school holidays, and RAIN, not just ‘a light shower’ of it, bloody f*ck*ng shed loads of it, enough to drown a… fish…?


It’s seriously no fun. I was actually nearly chest pumping myself in the mirror, after getting 4 kids, after not running an ounce of energy off for weeks, to sleep tonight, by 9.30 pm. What’s that about? the food shop was a genuinely glorious occasion-we got to go out.

Bumble, the cat, went to have his nuggets chopped off at the vets today. As Monty holds him in the car, he whispers into the box, stroking him reassuringly, ‘it’s alright, Bumble, you are going to the vets to have a little operation, you’re getting your nuggets chopped off, then it’s back home safe and sound !’ then pushes the lid firmly shut. And I hope he comes back less agressive. I am sure it’s him who sent Weetabix running off. He had become all territorial about the house, and was fending off Weetabix, his adoptive sister (sure it works the same with cats) and so she fled. I am gutted. Today, we deciede to go look for her, and I had quite honestly one of the most awful, upsetting experiences of my life. We go round, me the kids and dog, to various neighbours, asking them to keep an eye out, and had they seen, and so on, my cat. We approach  the neighbour on the corner, I go through the open gates, timidly and excuse myself to the older dude in a wheelchair. The minute he sees me, he starts shouting at me to get off his property, to leave, or he’d ring the police. I was astonished, asked to listen for a second, as in fact I was his neighbour, and we’d lost our cat, he carried on shouting abuse at me, and I was so shocked and upset, I started to cry, the kids ran round, clinging at my legs, all of them crying too, big gulpy, distraught tears, I tell him through my tears (which he screams after me still threatening me, telling me my tears are fake, you should have seen me, I was doing the hiccuppy thing and everything I had been so distraught, no ‘pretend’ tears here, b*****d), that he is inhuman, he should be ashamed of himself for being such a bully and a horrible person, that he thought it was OK to treat people in such a manner, and make 4 young children cry. And then Oliver made it all better…He sh*t right on his drive! Yey Oliver-you do have a purpose, bless ya! But I am still upset. I am a tiny little woman, I was with 4 little children and a soppy gay dog-how threatening?? So all in all, he is a hideous human being. But the problem was, the kids were so disturbed, they cried all the way back to the house. So I decided to try and help them understand what had happened. I explained how, even though he was a total looney, hateful, spiteful and all the rest, that we did not know what kind of life he had had, to actually behave like that to people like, in that instance, us, innocently asking if he’d seen our pet, there had to be something wrong. We should feel compassion. I read them a story out of my favourite ‘Buddha at Bedtime’ story book, which illustrated this perfectly. It calmed them all down at least, my poor little babies…

The sign the kids made for the ducks so they know where they live, Daisy, Minnie, and Posh and Beaks...

Their mother is, however, struggling with the compassion thing, and wanting to go and throw stuff at his house and let the wheels down on his wheel chair…Is that really wrong?

See you tomorrow,

Tamsyn x 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

We will always remember you, Harry Yirrell...with love from us.

Today, I am sending out big love to all my husband's side of the family. 6 years ago today, Harry Yirrell, aged 20, died, losing the battle to Malaria. Harry is so very, very missed, and it upsets me always that my kids will never know him. We talk about him, remind the kids of all their cousins, and always include Harry. His mum and dad, I admire enormously for the strength and courage they have shown dealing with their tragic loss...Please read his story, told by his mum Jo, and follow the link to make a donation to 'Malaria No More', thank you. Here's his story, my edited version, but you can read the full story here.

Walking into the classroom, filled with smiling children, Jo Yirrell was overwhelmed with emotion. Little hands tugged at her clothes as everyone wanted to talk about her son Harry.
But as the children broke into a song of welcome, Jo, 45, struggled to hold back the tears. The keyboard being used was Harry's. He had taken it to the school in Ghana, leaving it behind when he returned to Britain.
'I looked at it and my heart broke,' says Jo. 'Harry should still be playing his music.'

Six years ago Harry died of falciparum malaria, the deadliest form of the parasitical disease.

Since his death Jo has made malaria education her life's work - trying to help eradicate the disease and educate other youngsters setting off on gap year trips about the dangers of not taking their anti-malarial drugs. She has become an ambassador for Malaria No More.

'I needed to see the place Harry had fallen in love with,' says Jo. 'It was also the place that killed him and I needed to see that side, too. Until my visit I'd wake up every morning and still believe it was a dream.

'I'd pop my head around his bedroom door, hoping beyond hope he'd be there. Now I know he really isn't coming home.'

Young and super fit, Harry made the fatal mistake of believing he was immune to malaria. He gave his anti-malarial drugs to the villagers. 

*The Malaria facts bit*
Malaria is contracted after a bite from a female Anopheles mosquito carrying the malaria parasite. The parasite is released into the blood stream and makes its way to the liver where it rapidly multiplies before re-entering the blood stream to attack the red blood cells.
In most people, symptoms begin ten days to four weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as seven days or as late as one year later.
Worryingly, the number of malaria cases among British people is on the rise as travellers fail to take the necessary precautions. Up to ten people a year are dying from malaria in Britain, with 1,500 cases diagnosed.

This is particularly alarming as it's a disease which can be prevented and cured.

Harry had been thrilled when a family friend suggested he join a volunteer team in Ghana for four months. Once he was out there, he fell in love with it, typically, he couldn't do enough to help. He even sold his mobile phone to buy some furniture for the school. 'I was cross' says Joanne - 'it meant I couldn't reach him but he argued that in an emergency I'd find him.' 

But Harry's selfless generosity would sadly cost him his life. One little girl, nine-year-old Cynthia Ofori, had suffered malaria three times and kind-hearted Harry couldn't bear to see her suffer again. Unbeknown to Jo, at some point he gave her and some of the other children his tablets.

Four months after he'd left, on July 6 2005 Harry returned home. 'He grabbed me in a bear hug,' laughs Jo. 'But the first thing he said wasn't "Hi, Mum" or "How's everyone?" It was "I'm going back. I love it and I want to spend a few more years in Ghana." I was pleased for him. It sounds a cliché, but he had found himself in Africa.

'He looked terrific - tanned and healthy. And he had so obviously fallen in love with the place and the people.'

Harry had been home a few days when he admitted he hadn't taken his tablets. 'I gave them away because I don't get malaria,' he laughed.

On Friday July 15, nine days after his return, Harry started running a temperature. Having dismissed a few other symptoms as 'post night out with the boys', now, Jo became worried, fearing something more serious, she calls the Dr...
'I rang the doctor and told him Harry had returned from Africa and hadn't taken his malaria tablets. The doctor said it was extremely unlikely that Harry was suffering from malaria but told me to take him to hospital if he got worse.'
The next day Harry appeared to rally. But then on Sunday he woke up, saying he felt like death. Jo took him to the accident and emergency department of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, close to the family home.
He was seen by a doctor two hours later and given strong pain killers. Five hours later blood tests confirmed Jo's suspicions that he had malaria and treatment began. Harry was started on a programme of intravenous drugs.
'I was relieved he was getting help. One of the doctors did mention that malaria could be deadly, but it was just hinted at,' says Jo. 'It still didn't set off any alarm bells and Harry wasn't frightened, thank heavens. 
'In fact when one of his friends popped round, Harry had a huge grin on his face. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine," he said. That's what we all believed, that the medication was already working.

'We never imagined that would be the last time we would hear his voice.'

Two days after being admitted, Harry developed breathing difficulties. The malaria had attacked his lungs. He was suffering from the most deadly type of the disease, falciparum malaria, which can kill within hours. Red blood cells infected with the parasite tend to cling together and tissue starts to die through lack of oxygen.
By the time Jo and David arrived at the hospital, after being called back urgently by nurses, Harry was attached to breathing equipment and heavily sedated for his own comfort.
The consultant explained that, although Harry was extremely ill, he was still expected to make a full recovery. 'He'd need nursing for a long time but he would live. It was an enormous relief,' says Jo.
Yet despite his body being pumped full of medication, the infection continued to overwhelm Harry's body. He was transferred to the Centre For Tropical Medicine in Oxford for specialist treatment.
At 3am on Wednesday, July 27, the hospital rang urging Jo and his father David to come quickly as Harry had taken a turn for the worse.
'It was one of the worst journeys of my life,' says Jo. 'Harry had chest drains, to try to clear the fluid but every breath was a battle. His body wasn't getting enough oxygen and his organs were shutting down.'
The couple were told he wouldn't last the night.
'We couldn't believe it,' says Jo. 'Barely three weeks earlier we'd welcomed Harry back safe and sound. Now he was dying. His dad held one hand and I held the other. We stroked his hair and kissed him. He looked so beautiful.
'Hearing is the last sense to go so I talked and talked. I mentioned his brothers, his family and all his friends, passing on messages of love I knew they'd have for him. I felt as if my heart was being ripped out.
'It was agony but I am so grateful to have had those last few minutes with him. If he'd died without me beside him, I couldn't have carried on. Harry died very peacefully. His lungs just stopped working.' 

Revisiting the place where Harry had been doing his volunteer work, Jo says 'I met the people who'd meant so much to him. When one little old lady told me how he used to help carry her shopping home, I fell apart. That simple gesture was my Harry.

'My life's work is now to raise awareness and to raise money. A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds in Africa. Just £5 will buy a mosquito net which will cover an entire family for five years.'

Dr Behrens echoes Jo's words: 'Protecting yourself against malaria costs between £5 and £20 a week, depending on the course of drugs you choose. Although a minority of patients can suffer side-effects such as disturbed sleep patterns, these drugs save lives. Take them.'

For more information on malaria or to donate go to

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My interview with the Guardian...I have finally been recognised...

Yes, I have been tagged, this time by  the most gorgeous Super Amazing Mum, ( )

The idea originated over at Mrs Lister's (another lovely blog) who likes (apparently) to spend her Saturday's eating poached duck eggs (ooo, I could give her a few, when me ducks start laying!) and reading the Guardian in bed (lucky, lucky her).  So without further ado, here is my interview with  the Guardian.............

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Oooo, kicks off with a tricky question. Err, Philip Schofield? For saying NO! To man-hair-colouring, and going natural (I really had NO idea...did you?), even though the sudden change was a shock to us all. No OK, not Philip, but it’s tough, there are so many people I admire, for so many different reasons, I admire most people in some way-everyone’s strengths are admirable. So there we go, that’s my decision, I admire you all! I have reflected, since, on this, and there is a lady Jackie Pullenger, who has done unspeakably amazing things for drug addicts in Hong Kong, kids caught up in gangs etc, and much, much, much more. She got on a boat in 1966, with £6, her guitar and the clothes on her back, determined to ‘make a difference’ and boy, she has. She didn’t know where she was going, put her trust in God, and disembarked in Hong Kong, she set up the St Steven’s Society, which you can read about here

When were you happiest?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I walked round the Supermarket, after coming back from the beach, not realizing I was parading my front bottom to the local shoppers, skirt tucked into knickers- but the front way round.... Note to self, look in mirror more often.

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A Gucci watch, with my first student loan!! I was broke the rest of the year!

What is your most treasured possession?
My photos. All the memories and amazing times we’ve had, especially the kids’ ones. Time flies too quickly, and we forget to take full advantage of every thing going on right now, in front of us, and before we know it, we’ve forgotten to appreciate the moment, and then…the eldest is nearly 8…

Where would you like to live?
Where I am living right now! Maybe Hawaii for a bit though….but it’d have to be in a mansion over looking the sea…so I’ll hold out for a bit…

What’s your favourite smell?
Chocolate cakes cooking in the oven after having spent a few minutes baking them, and the rest of your LIFE clearing up the mess the kids made, and clearing up the kids…

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Marge Simpson would, she’s ace. Although she’d maybe have to bleach her hair…

What is your favourite book?
I have a kiddie story book, Buddha at Bedtime, which my best friend in England sent to me. They are moral stories, which encourage your child to think and hopefully grow up in a respective manner of others, and appreciative of their skills and what they have, how they can be kind and loving and helpful. I love it, it’s so calming, and positive, thanks Lena!
What is your most unappealing habit? 
I bite my toenails…no I don’t, I suppose it’s my little tidying obsessions, things vanish, important things..never to be seen again. I ‘tidied’ them, sorry.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Snow White, she’s so pretty…

What is your earliest memory?
Eating ice cream, and hating it, as it was so cold.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Ooo, now that is  going to have to be sensored….

What do you owe your parents?

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Probably a lot of people, so sorry everyone…

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My kids and my husband.

What does love feel like?
Coming in from a long Winter walk, frozen toes, frozen nose, pulling off your boots and then hubby hoying them in your face then putting your feet in front of a gorgeous warm open fire, with a hot cuppa and digestive biscuit in your hand….to dunk.

What was the best kiss of your life?
My first kiss with my husband, of course!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Right, that is IT, everyone, in the car…We are going to Mummysrus to buy you a new mummy…’

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Telesales, good God that was boring as f*ck.

If you could change one thing from your past, what would you change? If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Oooo I really don’t know, the decisions I have made, who I have been, have all brought me here, and I wouldn’t ever want to change that. Although maybe I have done some idiotic things that have offended people, and I am sorry for that, and would edit out that…

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Errrm, save this for another day, perhaps??

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Moving to France and pursuing ‘The Good Life’ for the family (see Alex, our plan's failing, I still have no donkey, goats or sheep…) and my family, that I made all by myself (with a bit of help, it takes two to tango and all that…)

When did you last cry, and why?
Friday night, when school finished for another year (no, not because it was 2 months of kids’ holidays, although…), and my 6-year-old came home devastated that she was going to big school, not in the same class as her 2 best mates, and the fact that my baby is 6. It’s too fast, time. So all of these factors made me weep it up Friday night!

 How do you relax?
Reading, walking, painting, making things, writing my b*ll*cks blog, locking myself in my special cupboard (sometimes).

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
How my body deals with stress…it’s shit at coping-I have had stomach ulcers and all kinds…so yep, that’d definitely help, because where there is kids life, there will always be stress!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To always be aware of how you are being, and work endlessly at yourself, your relationships with people and with God.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Shearing his beard and dogs’ bits alike…

‘No, this time, that IS weird’, I reply to Alex, who has misplaced his clippers (he still has no idea of the multi-purpose they serve, shearing his beard and dogs’ bits alike…) He laughs a bit too ‘in my face’ ‘Weird?? No, it’s not weird, where have you ‘tidied’ them?’ Hmmmmm, good question, this time though, it really is weird, I have not touched them…honest.

No, this is not what you think it is.....
'Right!’ I bellow enthusiastically, play dough time, yeah! I woop a bit and fist pump it up, the little 2, almost as excited, Lola’s alright still with the activity, and Monty looks at me, raises one eyebrow and asks ‘really? Really? Mum? You mean for me?’ So it has happened-my first child who has grown out of the play dough phase. How depressing does it get? Last Summer I was suddenly flung, arms flailing, legs akimbo with the speed at which it happened, into ‘Mumdom’, long gone the ‘Mummydom’, it happens to us all. Time for the FIFTH! *hears the car wheel spinning out of drive as Alex leaves a ‘gone for good’ note*

Friday afternoon, the rain paused for a few hours, our good friends who we have not seen for 3 years, as they moved for a few years to Uganda, Dan and Carol Smith and Daisy and Solomon, and it was brilliant! The kids actually got to play outside together too, Alex wouldn’t let me keep their two, who are Gorgeous! Whilst we are outside, we see a deer! All too exciting for my nature loving son, who excitedly squeals that there are 4, 2 Bambis and 2 adults. They come at night to eat bread we leave out for them. Monty spots them, and endeavouring to let him do more things without me ‘surveying’ his every move-I tell him he can go into the field, sit there, with bread and wait for it to come…In reflection, I should have let them all do this, and had an afternoon off. As we have friends there, I can see him out of the corner of my eye, fine. I walk off to pick up a crying child/chicken/duck or something, and then come out and call Monty, who does not answer. Panic stricken, I dive into the field and call his name repeatedly. He had followed the deer and then gathered some apples off a tree in the neighbour’s orchard! He had been scrumping! Oooo, I’ll make some cider. At least he was fine, but there are some ‘deer watching guidelines’ to be closely followed in future. The fields are full of 2/3 metre high corn, and then it leads down to forest, so he could easily get lost, not to mention the road at the other side, and everyone who passes by…so I am not being too neurotic, you just never know, it only takes a millisecond, and a few more clichés…

The kids are abounding with pent up energy at the mo, due to rain and not much outdoor activity. There’s so much noise at the dinner table table tonight,  that I quip to Alex, that we should sell them. They protest, I say I’d sell them and buy myself loads of sweets, to which Lola comes back at me with ‘yeah, well we’d sneak back and eat all of them!’ Brilliant! But what a pity, that they’d find their way back…

With the ‘rents still here, desperately seeking to venture outdoors in France, my frantic prayers to ‘let the rain stop, please take pity on me as a mother, my sanity is letting up…’ were answered, the rain stopped for a record 1 and a half hours on Sunday. Wah hey! So we walked, and we walked and we walked, well in truth, every child took a bike, so 3 adults (my parents) and 4 kids and 4 bikes seemed almost a fair idea. Although in truth, after today’s experience, I shall never, ever be attempting this expedition again with any less than 5 million fully trained army soldiers accompanying us. I nearly killed my parents through stress, and as at one point my mum is storming ahead ‘checking the way’, holding onto her bad hip and halts everyone, screaming ‘CAR!’ in the loudest voice I have ever heard anyone ever shout, and I nearly keel over from a heart attack on the spot. I tell her this was a little frightening, could she maybe whisper it next time? She nearly made Mitzi cry too, it was so loud!
Raincoat...a 'Summer in France' essential...

Anyhow, the weather is black skies and more rain, and I am thoroughly p*ss*d off, we are are going to be going back to school 8 stone heavier at this rate, I have been doing some kind of baking everyday, (kid entertainment) which for kids is usually biscuits/cakes/pizzas…Somebody tell the rain to stop! I don’t want to be going back to school, 8 stone heavier, having suffered a nervous breakdown and pasty skinned!!

See you tomorrow,

Tamsyn x

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Thought for the Day. Week 7...

 I stumbled upon this during the week, and liked it. thus today, my thought for the day concerns 'happiness'.

It's very true that happiness has to be worked at, it is not necessarily something that we just wake up feeling-I have never once seen anyone leap out of bed in the mornings, singing joyously, apart from me, that is. We feel we warrant it, it should just be there, but really, it has to be worked at, we have to do it for ourselves. And yes, that does mean appreciating the little things, blessings, things that happen, however small...

'Happiness is always a by-product.  It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular.  But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.'  ~Robertson Davies