susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Sunday, September 30, 2007


"Have you ever been drunk before? "

"Yes, darling, on MANY occasions, and fully intend to be drunk FREQUENTLY in the future."

"You are weird ..." She's got that right.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My three beautiful gorgeous girls and 2 of my granddaughters

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kate and Luke - Luke's birthday 21 September

Rachel and Rodrigo's English wedding

with one of their bridesmaids, Ebony


Oh it was going back to a familiar place in my past. I hadn't dived for six or seven years for various personal reasons, and the first dive after so long, in a new wetsuit, unknown weight requirements (guesses), hired equipment, new place - was speculative, to say the least. I rolled back off the rib and hit the water with my shoulders, and felt the water gush cold down the back of my neck. I was holding my right hand over my mask, in case it was dislodged, as I wasn't wearing a hood, and it could have slipped up over my hair. As my head went under, the cold automatically made me inhale - and oh! I knew it would be alright - at home again. I'd inflated the stab jacket pretty full, just in case, and bobbed chest high in the sea, checking the gear, then let air out, ducked under again, held my nose to clear my ears, and headed for the anchor warp, signalled OK to my bud and sank down to the rocky, basaltic, volcanic seafloor, hovering over the silt, the spiny sea urchins and their attendant electric dark blue damsel fish. I felt my breathing slow, checked buddy, depth and air gauge - and off we went, finning gently, meditatively. The thing - one of the many - I've always liked about diving, is that it's flying somewhere I'm not meant to be. You have to obey the rules of physics and physiology, everything drops away except that immediate present - it's my life on the edge, yet it's also very natural. Wipes the brain. Fish watching. I dived with turtles, hovered alongside a giant sleeping atlantic ray, rescued a baby turtle caught by its back leg in a strangulating plastic bag, went into caves and saw my exhaust bubbles turn to liquid mercury on the cave roof, around, under and inside a couple of wrecks, played with my chums, murdered urchins for a fish feeding frenzy. Afterwards, I had to stomp and stumble, fully kitted up, over a beach of soft sand, around acres of sunbathing flesh, trying not to drip salt water or kick sand, edging between the sunbeds, inhaling the scent of sunlotion. Then - blessed relief - backing up to the dekitting table at the dive shop, and feeling the weight of the tank removed from my shoulders, stripping off the malodorous neoprene, shower and dress, stickily, in teeshirt and skirt. All this on a tiled floor, dangerously slippery with salt water, echoing to the teasing grinning friendship of people I've known for nearly 20 years.

In the land of the elasticated waistband and mock Crocs

I have at last found the land inhibitions forgot - beaches on T*******e. They all hang out here - tums, tits, bums - acres of reddened, rippling flesh, hanging out and over, basted and roasted, wrinkled and toasted. Skin cancer, anyone?

I could fit in here quite nicely, thank you.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Off on my hols

Only a week, but do I need a break - rather an emotional year one way and another. I'm going to Tenerife, Islas Canarias. Diving!! Next year it'll be 20 years since I started diving ..

Speak soon, peeps.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's see if this works, eh?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lily, 3, tests out a couple of career options

Today, I'm sporting a brand new hair style - little bunches, sticking out sideways over my ears. Oh, and I've had my teeth cleaned for me with one of those tiny wee interdental brushes.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Career choice

Hyperactive Zia, 10, to his Aunty Rachel: I've been talking to Grandma about what I'm going to do when I grow up. I want to work with animals.

AR: Which animals?

Zia: Monkeys! But I don't think I can work with them.

AR: Why not?

Zia: Because I won't be able to help myself from swinging round their cages.

AR controls facial muscles, with difficulty.

Speak no evil ...?

Parking in a central C*******e yesterday, I was yet again irritated by talking ticket machines at the car park. So - if the driver is deaf, he or she is unable to hear the helpful squawk. And if the driver is blind, and needs to be told the information ... hang on, I see a teeny flaw ...

S x

Monday, September 03, 2007

On a visit to the cinema

Ebony, 7: 'Please can I have some cockporn?'

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Weddinged bliss

It was a beautiful day - radiant bride and handsome groom and cute baby! Rachel the perfectionist had worked so hard to organise everthing beautifully - and we were all under strict orders - and it did all go to plan! Nearly cried when I read Auden's poem about love .. very emotional. When Rachel and Rodrigo read out their commitments to each other, it was amazingly touching - lots of ooohhs and aaaahhs from all of us.

The celebrant was from the Humanist Society - a small, intense Irishwoman, who tried to recruit me into the Black Arts of Humanism.. when she started bashing all religions, and shouting the feminist cause, I thought I'd keep quiet about the church shop volunteering, and shuffled nervously in my pretty frock and FM killer heels.... There's no doubt about it, but being polite under all circumstances has advantages in public circumstances - I have a bright, interested, somewhat bland facial expression which seems to cover all occasions. hehe

The wedding blessing, baby naming and reception were held where Rachel used to work, and where she met Rodrigo. It's part of the University of R********n, a simply beautiful building, set in formal gardens. The reception/wedding room gave out on to a broad terrace, overlooking the gardens, with one of those statue fountains set in a circular pond. Oh, and we could park directly outside - so none of that dreary struggle and then walking miles, and then worrying about parking limitations.

It was lovely to see my sister and her family - been a little while - I had no car, and she doesn't drive far - and to meet Rachel's friends. I knew some of them - old school friends - but the ones she's known from her London years were new to me. Everyone was very glamorous and informal - such fun! Lots of laughing and talking and lounging around on the terrace - lucky with the weather, sun, cloud, but warm - even .

I sneaked out to the car at one point for a ten minute interlude - and Luke, Kate's fiance and official photographer, saw me. There's now a photograph of me sitting upright in the driver's seat, head lolling, mouth hanging open. Rotter!

Tim was in charge of the music at appropriate intervals, got a bit nervous, covered it with alcohol and bravado - by the time we were going home, he was the drunkest I've EVER seen him!! Still just about walking, but somewhat incoherent. We stuffed him into the car, tied him in, and I drove home. I also had Jess, Zia and Reg (Zi's dad) in the car, plus two very large bouquets of flowers and the wedding cake box (NOT my cake, you'll be delighted to hear - but a proper one, smoothly, sleekly marzipanned with no thumbprints..!! Oh, the relief when I saw it!). Oh, and a couple of bags and various articles of clothing. All in a Peugeot 106 - they are tiny cars! Anyway, we got home - took 2 hours to get back, instead of the 3 hours it took to get there with the vile traffic. Fell into bed and died.

I think T & J will be sleeping in all day..! And I slid out of bed, leaving Zia and Finn still snoozing gently. Now I'm going to listen to the Archers quietly and peacefully on my own.

R&R are coming back here today, so I shall be waiting for their phone call to be picked up at the station. Otherwise, it's going to be a very quiet day.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The last word

We're a family of last-worders. Imagine what that must be like - it means you can never get to the end of a conversation, because we're all vying to get that last word in. Oh, and we're all instructors at heart - never can let a verbal error pass by. After all, the person to be instructed in the errors of their ways will thank us for it and be eternally and grovellingly grateful.

Lily, 3: Grandma, it's 'purple', not 'pairple' (the way she used to say it)

G: I like pairple, though (last word? Whatja think?)

L: But it's 'PURPLE', Grandma (and that's final then.)

G: Your name must be Lily Last Word S****n. (statement, not question - that would invite a reply)

L (with emphasis): No-oo. It's LILY ELLA ROSE S****n.

Who's the adult here? I concede. Just this once, mind..

Mother of the bride

Apart from attempting to make a cake look cool, I'm peeling rose petals off their stems to make confetti. The colour scheme is red and white/cream. I now have a box full of these beautiful velvety petals.

I've got to read a poem (Auden) at the wedding ceremony - it's wryly amusing with a tear jerker last couple of lines. I've been practising it - going for the laughs and ending with not a dry eye in the house. I'm good! But I know what will happen - I'll gabble it in a monotone and lose all the emotion. Deep breaths, gal, deep breaths.

Oh, and I have strict orders - Rachel has told me, if I think something is funny, I have to hold my tongue and say nothing - because, she says, it WONT be. PMSL.... again!

PS I kept a very straight face the other day. Rachel had had herself fake tanned and was cuddling Isabella, who licked her mother's chest and got a brown face..

A cowardly arse

How many years does it take to get over a divorce?

For some people, obviously 13 years isn't enough - so we'll call that NEVER, then? Rachel's father won't be coming to see his daughter get married, and even more importantly, to her, to meet his newest granddaughter, Isabella. And all because he doesn't want to meet his former wife - you know, the one who finally put her foot down.

The badly made bed

Today is NOT the day to be experimenting with putting marzipan on your daughter's wedding cake.. but needs must.

Yesterday, I slopped quantities of lumpy apricot jam on top of the cake the dog didn't eat, rolled out some marzipan very thin, so it would cover the cake in one go - no patches or joins, because it isn't going to be covered with all forgiving icing. It looked like a very badly made bed with a lumpy body left under the bedclothes. There's only so many disguising rose petals I can strew over it..

One sleepless night later, I fall out of my own badly-made bed (does this tell you something?), totter into the kitchen, grab the rolling pin and another slab of marzipan, bash it into something like the circumference of the cake, water down what's left of the apricot jam, splodge it on with the 1" paint brush (cleaned for the occasion) and slap this new circle on top of the old. Stand back and admire. Not perfect, but improved. Slap more jam over this and the sides. Roll out another slab to cover all, trim edges. Cross fingers and hope - it's the best its ever going to be.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, Kate has ordered a proper cake, as a fall-back. PMSL.