A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
605 posts
Mrs Average,

Thanks for the heads-up about holes in pots. I checked and it hasn’t got any in. That’ll be rectified tomorrow…. A case of duelling drills at dawn!

I was in two minds about whether to post about the Monday charity shop stuff. Current affairs may mean that some think I’m being insensitive. But, you know what… Sod it!

It’s not my fault if a bunch of Russian spies go around trying, and sometimes succeeding, in murdering each other. I should imagine being a double-agent earns you no brownie points in the popularity stakes, on both sides.
I feel sorry for the bloke’s daughter – talk about the sins of the fathers visiting their kids – but I’m buggered if the antics of, probably, Putin or Russian Mafia backed lose cannons is going to stop me posting on CUK.

I was going to get SM to take photos with his posh smart phone of my outfits to illustrate this post. But a) He’s a pretty rubbish photographer, and b) I couldn’t wait for him to return from Wales. Patience is not a virtue I’m over endowed with, so I took them myself yesterday.

Maybe I should’ve waited, because they’re a bit blurry, especially the third one. But I like the third ones blurriness; it’s kind of arty. That’s my excuse for using it instead of taking more photos till I got clearer ones.
I couldn’t work out to do a full length Selfie, if indeed you can? So I stuck to that time honoured method of photographing myself in my mirrored wardrobe doors. That way I could get the distance I needed for full length Selfies.
Just one problem. Because I wanted to show the KGBness of my first outfit, and the Winkie-like shoulders on the third one, I could only use the one hand when taking my mobile phone photos.
Have you ever tried to take a photo with a mobile one-handed? It’s bloody difficult, I can tell you; hence the blurriness. The only properly focused photo is the middle one, and that’s because I could use two hands on that one.
I must have taken, and deleted, about 50 piccies after my dawn walk before I got seriously pissed off and bored, and thought, “Bugger it! That’ll have to do…. They’re for CUK’s forum not bloody Vogue for Christ’s sake!”

Where to start? The beginning seems like as good a place as any. I going to get my blood test results and have a discussion about them with the nurse.
The snow had gone, the wind had dropped, the sun was shining and, even though it was still cold, it was clear that spring had finally sprung. So I decided to moth ball my ski jacket and kecks for the day and wear my spring coat (A Karen Millen charity shop find) and a colourful summer skirt (another charity shop find.)

Come to think of it, every item of clothing I was wearing that day was a charity shop find except my bra, knickers and socks. I thought I looked really swish, almost elegant even. So I was a bit surprised by some people giving me funny looks, as though they’d seen a ghost or something.
“No accounting for some peoples taste,” thought I. I now realise that they were probably thinking the same about me!

Once I’d finished my chin wag with the nurse I almost skipped to Weatherspoon’s where I’d arranged to meet up with SM.
He found me in what passes for the beer garden sipping my cappuccino and puffing away on my ciggie. He was carrying an espresso when he sat down opposite me.

SM: Why meet here? I thought you were boycotting Weatherspoon’s.

Me: I was. But that was before I found out they were selling cappuccinos for just over a quid. They’re like £1.99 elsewhere, minimum, AND you get freebie re-fills too. Mind you, you now have to serve yourself, but I can live with that for such cheap cappo’s.

SM: So price has triumphed over your principals… just why were you boycotting Weatherspoon’s anyway?

Me: I’ve forgotten it was so long ago. Something to do with their employment practices I think.

SM: Some revolutionary you make! It’s freezing out here; let’s go inside when you’ve finished that death stick of yours.

Me: No probs.

When I put my ciggie out, and stood up to go inside to the warmth, SM nearly choked on the remains of his espresso.

SM: GOOD GREIF, WOMAN! You look like a leftover from the KGB. Don’t you know that the Berlin Wall has fallen and Stalin is no more?

Me: RUBBISH! What self-respecting KGB leftover would wear a Marie Claire daffodil on their lapel?

SM: One who was trying to blend in which, I might add, you have singularly failed to do.

Me: You reckon? That might explain the funny looks I’ve been getting.

SM: You don’t say! And while you’re at it, you’d best keep an eye out for dodgy characters with poisoned umbrellas…. Did you say we could get free re-fills?

My KGB leftover look.
Just check out that pinkie. No self-respecting KGB agent, leftover or not, would ever do anything so quintessentially English as crook their little finger now, would they?
a fake ruskie cos pinky.jpg

Once inside, I took my furry Russian hat and coat off. Now SM’s reaction to my clothing went from the uncalled for to the sublime.

SM: Oh dear Lord! NOW you look like a Babushka.

Me: I’ll have you know Mister Smarty Pants that this look is called bohemian chic… So up yours, Smart Arse!

SM: It suits you, Marm. But ‘Up yours, you Smart Arse’ is hardly a chic expression, is it?

Me: Whatever! What actually IS a Babushka?

SM: I don’t know, I just know the word from the divine Kate Bush and that it’s Russian.

Me: Ah, so you were a fan too. I bet you had a poster of her like my brothers did… why don’t you look up it up on your phone.

SM: Will do….. Oh dear. Are you sure you want to hear this?

Me: Hit me with it, Sunshine.

SM: According to this website a babushka is a triangular head scarf tied under the chin and worn by East European women.

Me: That’s not so bad. Loads of women wear them, including the horse & hounds set in middle England and…..

SM: I haven’t finished yet. A babushka is also an elderly Russian or Polish woman, especially a grandmother. It’s an informal, but not impolite, form of address.

Me: So let me get this straight; you’ve just told me I look like a Russian granny!!!!! Cheers for that, matey!

SM: Well, strictly speaking, we are both old enough to be grandparents, and it’s a….

Me: Bit late for backtracking now. You could’ve at least said I looked like a Kulak instead. They can be any age.

SM: So you’d rather be called a peasant than a grandmother?

Me: Yes!

SM: Why does that not surprise me…. Fancy a bite to eat? I missed breakfast this morning.

Me: Yes, but first I want to check out the charity shops. There’s loads here, and I want to buy a new second-hand winter coat. The lamb special on today ain’t goin’ away.

SM: Isn’t it a bit late to be buying winter coats?

Me: Are you kidding me? This is the best time to buy winter coats. They’ll be half, a third, of what they were charging just a week ago. Take my word for it.

SM: Do I have a choice? You’re obsessed with charity shops. Let’s get it over and done with.

My Russian granny look, but a chic one who originated in Bohemia. I was actually born in Broadgreen hospital, but Bohemia sounds more exotic and romantic
a fake ruskie babu.jpg
Underneath my black top is a Burgundy polo neck jumper and thermal vest as it was still really cold right up until today.
And underneath that really colourful summer skirt I’m wearing my Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ Lycra running leggings doubling up as long johns. I even slept in them when SM wasn’t around!

Now my ‘To Russia with Love’ sartorial desires went from the sublime to the ridiculous. For, at the third charity shop, I spied out the corner of my little eye the most beautiful coat I’ve ever laid eyes on. It was love at first sight.

SM was busy checking out the book section, so I went over to it. The material felt fantastic, super soft. It was a size 10. Brill, it should fit nicely even when wearing winter jumpers and stuff. It did look a bit long for me, and weighs a ton. But coats can always be shortened, and coats should be heavy for winter.
I put it on, buttoned up its bright shiny buttons and yelled to SM on the other side of the shop.

Me: OY! SM, what do you reckon on this coat? (Doing a twirl) Its ace isn’t it? I love it.

SM: OH MY GOD! Now you look like Anna Karenina. All that’s missing is a muff. It’s a bit long for you isn’t it.

Me: (Looking in the full length mirror for the first time) No, I don’t look like that drip Anna Karenina…. But I do remind myself of someone.

SM: I’d have thought Anna Karenina would’ve been a heroine of yours.

Me: Are you kidding. The dozy cow committed suicide by sticking her head on a railway line and getting decapitated by a train. No heroine of mine would do that, especially over a failed love affair. What a wuss!.... Now who do I remind myself of in this coat? it’s on the tip of my tongue.

SM: She wasn’t decapitated. I think you’ll find she threw herself in front of a train from an embankment.

Me: Same difference! It’s the poor train driver I feel sorry for, not her. The daft bint probably traumatised him for life…. I’ve just remembered who I look like; A Winkie!

SM: You think you look like an American chocolate bar??? Can’t see it myself. For a start, that coat is grey.

Me: A Winkie, you twit, not a Twinkie. Have you never seen the Wizard of Oz?

SM: No I haven’t.

Me: Then you haven’t lived; it’s one of the best films ever made. I’ve seen it loads of times and never tire of it. The Winkies are the guards protecting the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle, and they wore coats just like this… kind off. I’m a Winkie!

Shop assistant: That coat called out to you, didn’t it?

Me: You got it in one. Just like the song in South Pacific…. Come to me, here I am, your special coe oh tuh, come to me, come to me, COME TO MEEEEeeee….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ8zf5h ... tu.be&t=75

Just substitute the words Bali Hi and island for coat, and this song sums up perfectly how my special coat called out to me.

SM: Don’t give up your day job….

I can dance like a demonic angel but there’s no way my singing voice is ‘as sweet and clear as can beeeee’ so I agree with SM. There’s not a snowball in hell’s chance of giving up a day job for a singing career!

SM: I take it you’re buying it?

Me: To right I am.

Shop assistant: Would you like me to put it in a bag for you? They cost 15p each.

Me: No thanks, I’m going to wear it now.

SM: You’re not seriously going to wear that now are you?

Me: Course I am. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise, would I?

SM: Isn’t it a little impractical?

Me: What have practicalities got to do with anything? I’m in love with it.

SM: It’s way too long; you’ll dirty and scuff the bottom.

Me: Well Anna Karenina never bothered about things like that did she? So why should I?

SM: Because Anna Karenina would’ve had servants to clean and repair her clothes. You don’t, that’s why.

He had a point, so I reluctantly paid an extra 15p for a plassie bag, on top of the 5 quid for the coat, knocked down from £10. I was right about the reductions for winter coats.
I’m getting it shortened next week by a dress maker that SM has used in the past to get clothes altered. It’ll cost far more to alter it than I paid for it… being a short arse has its draw backs.
In fact, getting it altered will probably cost more than the coat originally cost brand new as it’s a Primark coat!

I want to show off my blurry photo of my new winter coat on the same post as the Winkie image I tracked down on the internet.
So, I’m going to start a new post to follow on directly from this one as I can’t trust my Winkie image will be an actual picture and not one of those awful attachments………………………………………………………………………….
Cue drum rolls……..


TA, DA……

The Winkie coat……
I look like I’m giving myself the Evil Eye with my fingers pointing the way they are. Shirley would have something to say about it!
a fake ruskie AK or wink.jpg

And a real Winkie, well a model of one, anyway….
Wiz of Oz WIcked Witch Guard.jpg
When I showed SM the image of a Winkie, he didn’t think my coat looked much like the one the Winkie was wearing. He must be joking!

I told him that all he had to do was imagine me wearing a white furry Russian hat instead of a black one, with red curtain cord ending in tassels wrapped around my waist and neck whilst holding a garden rake or something wearing gauntlet style gardening gloves and I’d THEN be the dead spit of a Twinkie in my new coat.

SM: Yes… AND if I were younger, slimmer, shorter with blonde hair, blue piercing eyes with high cheek bones I’d be the dead spit of Christopher Walken in the Deer Hunter… but I’m NOT!

Me: Now you’re just being plain silly. What have deers got to do with Winkies?

SM: Have you never seen the Deer Hunter?

Me: No.

SM: Then you haven’t lived….

We’ve come to an arrangement. On Sunday evening we’re staying the night at his and are going to have a vid fest. I’m to bring my DVD of The Wizard of Oz. He’ll provide the popcorn and we’ll then watch his DVD of The Deer Hunter.

I’m so excited about my birthday I can’t sleep. You’d think I was an eight year old rather than a fifty eight year old… or at least I will be come 6am.
I happen to know my exact birth time because I was born by Caesarean section, and those births are recorded as they class as an operation.

No chance of any kip now, so I’m now going to try and guess what pressies I’ll get, and from whom, from my list, as follows:

Dad: Waterpik Water Flosser Cordless Plus Model WP-450

Well Bro: Braun Oral B Pro 600 3D CrossAction model 3757

SIL: Portable sewing machine or bread maker from Aldi both £20

Ill Bro: Black leather bum bag, not too big, not too small, with 4 zipped compartments.

Ill Bro’s girlfriend: Manual dental kit or Beverly Hills whitening tooth paste.

Nephew: A Memory foam pillow or kettle as my one’s on its last legs.

Nephew’s girlfriend: Another memory foam pillow or a belly dance DVD by Hilary Thacker.

Niece in Scotland & fiancée: A £15 voucher from Superdrug for some make up I want that only SD sell (I think.)

The other three things on my B’day List were a shiny silver coloured metal peddle bin for my flat, a silver free standing liquidizer (any make) also for my flat and, last but not least, Black Opium perfume.

I can’t see anyone buying the perfume, considering I don’t even know if I like the way it smells or not, and considering it costs a king’s ransom. I thought it would be about £15; it’s over £50!!!!!!!

Can’t wait till its dawn. Then I can plant one of the blue moons up in my giant, soon to be bottom holed, plastic terracotta pot (£4.99) Only about two hours to go now.

Once I’ve posted these two posts up think I’ll watch Gladiator on DVD and swoon over Russell Crowe in his leather mini skirt wrestling with tigers and stuff. That’ll kill some time.

And now for something completely different.


Chow for now XXX
Just a quick(ish) post about my birthday. God alone knows why I made such a palaver about my birthday given that 58 is hardly a landmark year. 50 yes, 60 yes, but 58, no. It’s a nothing in particular age. Yet, for some reason, it was important to me, and I don’t even know why :-???

That’s my excuse anyway for being such a fuss making, demanding, over particular, avaricious material girl.
I bordered on being OCD about my list. Not only did I type it out beautifully, but I included makes, model numbers, descriptions, places & prices were said potential pressies could be purchased.

I even asterixed them :shock:

Three asterisks meant this pressie was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY necessary for either the health of my body and/or my spirit and I was too brassic to afford it without spending AGES saving up for it (implying either my physical health and/or mental state was in jeopardy; talk about emotional blackmail.)
Two asterisks meant I’ll really, really like this but I wasn’t about to drop down dead from some physical aliment or be plunged into depression if I didn’t get it for my b’day.
One asterisk meant I wasn’t bugged one way or other whether I received this or not.

Being ‘a Material Girl in a Material World’ worked, though. I got ALL of the *** pressies, some of the ** pressies, and even the one & only * pressie (kind of.)

But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. First the litter picking, as follows:

I’d finished up planting my Blue Moon twig of a rose bush and then kitted myself out as if I were going on an Arctic expedition, complete with thermal vest, polo neck jumper, hoodie, 2 pairs of trousers, woolly socks, mum’s old gardening wellies and all topped off by my padded ski jacket and much beloved Ruskie hat.
All of that yet it was a glorious day with the sun shining, not a breath of wind but still a bit parky… I am nothing if not a wimp!

It was now about 9.25am and I set off to the meeting point on foot. I passed my dad and WB getting into WB’s car. This was unusual as they both like their lie-in’s on a Sunday.

Me: Where are you two off to at this time in the morning?

WB: Aldi’s…. Fancy a lift?

Me: But they’re not open till 10; it’s a Sunday.

WB: We’ll just wait in the car park till their open then.

NOW that really was unusual. One thing neither my bro nor my dad can stand is hanging about. But I thought no more about it and accepted the lift.

As soon as I pitched up at the meeting point (all of two minutes walk from Aldi’s) I was kitted out with a high vis vest, grabber stick thing and a hula hoop thing attached to a large plastic bag.
I volunteered to walk to the rocks and litter pick there as nobody else seemed to want to as it was just under 1.5 miles away.
This wasn’t public spirited enthusiasm on my part… Oh, no! As the rocks aren’t far from my dad’s house, I thought I’d be saving myself a walk back home.
I didn’t realise I’d have to walk all the way back again to return said litter picking gear until after I’d volunteered to go to the rocks.

Regardless, it was a beautiful day and I actually enjoyed the litter picking. It’s dead easy with the grabber thing and hula hoop bag. However, on one stretch there was no litter at all; just thousands & thousands of razor clam shells. I got so bored I started to pray to the Gods of Litter to dump some near me so’s I’d have something to do.

THEN I hit the rocks; the gods had clearly heard me, and I had litter galore to pick up. There’s either a manic menthol ciggie chain smoker, or a group of menthol smokers, frequenting the rocks, because I must have picked up at least 100 Consulate butt ends.
I lost count of the amount of discarded wet wipes I prevented from contaminating the sea, and I can categorically state that Snickers bars are a very popular snack on the rocks.
I’m very confused as to why some dog walkers would bother buying dog poop bags, going to the trouble of scooping up the poop and then leave the black bags lying around. But lots do :unsure:

I somewhat overloaded my rubbish bag and it ended up rather heavy. You can’t drag them along the ground or they’ll split open, rather defeating the object of litter picking in the first place.
Plus I ended up carrying back a chunk of boat I retrieved from the Natterjack marsh (didn’t see any; they’re elusive little shysters apparently.)

End result of being overloaded with clothing, litter and part of a boat:
I ended up sweating like a race horse at the end of the Grand National and seriously out of breath with an aching back by the time I returned.
Still doing it again, though. I’ll just be a bit more measured next time.

Some photies now, taken by one of the organisers which he e-mailed to me.

SM: I don’t believe this… NOW you’re looking like a latter day descendant of Genghis Khan in this one.

Me: Not my fault the photographer took it with a railing sticking out of my hat, is it!
b day litter picking 1.jpg
P.S. The sun had gone by the time the litter picking was ending.

I look like I have buck teeth in this one; I do not! That white thing nestled in amongst the litter bags is a part of my boat bit.
b day litter picking 2.jpg
It’s just past midnight, so time to call it quits. SM has to be court early tomorrow and doesn’t want to be late.

Chow for now X
It’s battering it with rain at the minute. So good excuse not to do any gardening and blob out with dad who’s watching those blasted property programs he’s so obsessed with, closely followed by bailiff ones like ‘The Sheriffs are Coming’ (had to look up what a sheriff was these days for him) and ‘Won’t Pay, we’ll Take It Away.’

So on to the b’day itself and the all-important pressies; all important to me, anyway. I pitched up at dad’s after litter picking expecting SM to be there. He wasn’t, which worried me a bit.
I got changed into my Babushka/Kulak outfit - it’s my party, and I’ll dressup if I want to – and SM still hadn’t arrived. Now I was really worried as he’s Mr Never Procrastinates/Ultra Reliable, and he hadn’t even texted or phoned me to let me know he’d be late.

I was one worried bunny as we walked to the lodge. But SM was sitting in the beer garden with a really nice surprise awaiting me. He was sitting alongside my befriendees Mr Grumpy and Mrs T.
That chuffed me to bits, and I was really pleased to see them.
SM had invited them because my SIL couldn’t make it as she was doing a weekend shift, and neither could my nephew’s girlfriend as she was in Sweden visiting her mum.

I was less chuffed to find out that after all that pre-booking by SM, dad forgetting it was booked and then booking for Saturday, and me having to cancel the Saturday booking that somehow, somewhere along the way, the Sunday booking had been cancelled too.
Probably because SM had booked the table in dad’s name not his, and when I rang up to cancel dad’s Saturday booking they must’ve cancelled both as I never specified a date assuming there was only the one booking.
The upshot of all these mix ups is that we had to go elsewhere… on Mother’s Day of all days!

WB: Let’s go to Weatherspoon’s instead. Nobody in their right mind would take their mum to Wheatherspoon’s on Mother’s Day. It’s bound to be half-empty.

Me: I suppose you wanting to go to Weatherspoon’s has nothing to do with their scampi, does it?

WB: They do do a mean scampi, and I love my scampi! But where else can we go?

He had a point, but I was not very enamoured about going to Weatherspoon’s as they no longer do Sunday lunches, just these crappy brunch things and their normal menu.

SM drove off to Weatherspoon’s with dad, Mr Grumpy and Mrs T, and the rest of us non crock’s walked there; all of five minutes away if that.
It was heaving, so no joy there… Thank God! No scampi for WB that day.

WB then popped up the road to another pub – one of my faves as it happens for pub grub – and managed to secure a table that had been cancelled (hope their mum was o.k.)
So, I had my lamb Sunday roast after all, with all the trimmings. It was only then that I realised nobody had turned up with any pressies. I didn’t say anything, but I think SM guessed my thoughts by the disappointed look on my face.
When I popped out to the very pretty beer garden for a ciggie, along with WB and IB’s girlfriend, SM, surprisingly, joined us (but not for a fag, he hates smoking with a passion.)

SM: Promise me you’ll never play poker; you’ll be bankrupt within five minutes.

Me: Eh?

SM: You have the worst poker face I’ve ever come across. You can drop ‘the sad-eyed, I’m trying not to cry because nobodies bought me any presents’ expression contorting your visage. They’re all back at your father’s.

Me: Nice one! Are they wrapped properly?

SM: Every single one.

Me: Are any of them surprised wrapped?

SM: I thought the whole point of wrapping a present was to make it a surprise. How can you surprise wrap gift wrapping?

Me: Easy. Gift wrap the pressie, then plonk it in another box with scrunched up newspaper and gift wrap that, then put that one in a larger box stuffed out with newspaper and so on…. Bit like one of those Russian dolls.

SM: I don’t think there are any Russian doll style presents awaiting you, just normal ones. Now, what are you ordering? I'm designated order taker for the day.

Me: LAMB! And extra gravy and Yorkshires.

After stuffing ourselves on roast dinners we all piled back to dad’s. My SIL had let herself in after her shift finished at 2 and had laid on an afters/evening snacks type buffet, complete with New York style cheesecake and both stewed gooseberries and stewed rhubarb as side dishes for the cheese cake. My dozy bro couldn’t remember which one I’d specified so my SIL made both types of compote.

But SM was wrong, I did kind of end up with a Russian doll type pressie, courtesy of my ill bro’s girlfriend.
I’d assumed my ill bro would get me the new bum bag(*** pressie) I needed as he’d bought them as pressies for me in the past. However, it was his GF who got me one, and inside two of the four zipped compartments were two more wrapped pressies: The manual dental kit(***) and a Toothypegs temporary repair kit in case I damaged my crowns and couldn’t get to a dentist quickly enough. How thoughtful was that? Very.
The Toothypegs kit wasn’t on my list because I’d never heard of it. She got it instead of the toothpaste I’d requested as she lives in a bit of a shopping desert, and though it would be more useful. She was right.

My ill bro is renowned amongst us for his off-the -wall pressies and had no intention of taking a blind bit of notice of my list.
However, he had noted the perfume one though, and decided I should make my own perfumes. To which end he bought me a box of 15 essential oils, 6 droppers, sweet Almond carrier oil and 6 small brown empty bottles to put my homemade perfume in. He selected the oils himself, and he selected well.
The hyacinth one is amazing; it actually smells of real hyacinths, my favourite smell ever. I’ve added 10 drops to one of bottles full of carrier oil. It’s too good to mix with anything else and lasts for ages yet is really subtle; like perfume should be.
My first successful mix was 4 drops of Tea Rose, 3 drops of Attar of Rose, 2 0f Apple Blossom (slightly citrusy) and 1 of good old Patchouli. It doesn’t smell much at first, but after about half an hour I’m in seventh heaven, and it really suits me. Even SM thinks my recipe is very ‘evocative.’ His words, not mine.
This pressie is going to give me hours of fun. The most bizarre smell he selected was Chocolate, and it really does smell of chocolate too. Don’t quite know what I’m going to do with that, but I’ll think of something.

Dad did indeed get me the Waterpik flosser, but he also got me a pair of Aldi hiking boots in view of all the early morning walks I go on, over some pretty rough terrain too… sometimes :whistle:

That’s what my WB and dad were doing so early at Aldi’s on my birthday. The hiking boots were one of those Aldi ‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone’ special offers.
They got nattering to two young women who were there even before dad and WB, both hoping to bag a couple of pairs of the boots on ’Early Bird Sunday’ before they sold out.
Dad told them about my litter picking and they wanted to do it too. He got their emails to send them details. That’s his excuse anyway, the old goat!
My boots are dead comfy, and fit really well with fluffy socks without pinching… Nice one, dad!

As predicted, my WB got me the Oral B Pro 600 leccy toothbrush I’d set my heart on. It’s ace. The toothbrush head is so much better and easier to use than the rather large and awkward old sonic one, now discontinued anyway.
Just one problem with the Waterpik and Pro 600; they both needed to be charged for 24 hours before use, so I couldn’t use them straight away. But I’m using them now… diligently!
The Waterpik takes some getting used to; I'd end up forgetting it was on and squirting myself in the face. It's so powerful it can hit the ceiling! It doesn't half do a good job when you get used to it; a 1000 times better than floss.

My SIL didn’t get me either a portable sewing machine** or bread maker**. Her reasoning was that any adult sewing machine being sold for £20 brand new was probably little more than a Micky Mouse toy and a waste of money. Likewise with the bread maker. Instead she got the Belly Dance DVD*** I’d requested. She actually got the box set of all 3 dance instructions: Beginners, Intermediate and advanced. It was cheaper to get all three apparently, than just the Intermediate one I’d specified… Cool!
Just as cool, she also got me a deep red shimmy/coin belt, shown on top of the table on the LHS of the photo below. I’m going to have real fun with this shimmy belt in my classes, which I started again late January, and am loving it. I haven’t belly danced for about 12-13 years so am somewhat rusty. Those DVD’s should really help me get back into the flow.

I half got my nephew and his girl friend’s pressies right. I didn’t get any memory foam pillows** from my nephew and his GF as I thought I would as SM advised him against them. They retain an awful lot of heat and are murder to sleep on in summer apparently.
But my nephew got me a dead good kettle*** and his GF got me this very unusual Tutankhamun style torque necklace for belly dancing (from Home & Bargain of all places!) plus a black/purpley/greeny/bluish iridescent upper arm bangle to go with it. Although she didn’t know it she also got me a pair of Wizard of Oz updated shoes. Instead of ruby slippers, she got me blue canvass summer shoes with glittery amethyst fronts and diamanté aquamarine butterflies on the side.
I ordinarily wouldn’t look twice at shoes like these. But when I tried them on, I really liked them. I shall have to try clicking my heels together and see what happens?

My niece and fiancée didn’t send me a £15 Superdrug voucher as I’d hoped; they sent me a £25 one. Every penny of which I spent on make-up. Most unusual for me, but my dance teacher throws belly dance haflas (parties) and I've got to look the part so some make up it is!
I bought an ace box of beautifully coloured eyes shadows, some separate ones, some Lip Cote, some really light Garnier B & B cream (not too sure what that is, but it’s like a very light foundation) 4 brightish/darkish pink lipsticks (suits me much better than the dark reds and purplish colours I’d previously used all of about 4 times a year) and a few other things.
But best of all was the card the voucher was sent in. She’d made it entirely herself with little butterflies and jewels on it, and sealed at the back with an actual wax seal. Now that’s what I call style. I wanna send letters with wax seals too now :woohoo:

The Jean Paul Gautier body lotion in the female shaped bottle is from an entirely unexpected source, my dad's next door neighbour that we've know for 40 years. I didn't even know she knew it was my birthday. She came to the evening eats and came with a platter of figs and cheeses. Figs & cheese go together a treat and we polished the lot off.

And last but by no means last, Mrs T and Mr Grumpy. Mrs T got me this gorgeous box set of teeny Dior perfumes. They all smell really nice but I particularly like the one called Addict which, according to my sarky WB, figures.
Once I’ve used all the perfumes up, I’m going to fill the bottles with coloured water and keep them on display as the box is so pretty.

In many ways, Mr T’s was the most moving and poignant present I received. Under my encouragement, he joined a local evening class. He choose a water colour art class as he’d always fancied doing water colours.
He’s on medication for his Parkinson’s and still has what he calls his major motor skills. But he’s beginning to lose his finer ones and has had to give up his art classes. So he presented to me his water colour box/mini easel full of acrylic paints, water colour paints, brushes and spatulas.
He also gave me a full box of 30 water soluble Cran d’Arche colour pencils (very high quality ones) which I think must be brand new as not one has ever been used.

I was very touched by his very personal gift. He knows I’m an ex-artist but, in his book, there’s no such thing as an ex-artist. I think he’s trying to encourage me to start again for he strongly believes that being an artist is a gift from god, and to waste a gift from god is a sin. If so then I’m one hell of a sinner, as I haven’t so much as picked up a pencil to draw in nearly 20 years!!!! I think I’ve forgotten how.
Even so it was a very moving gesture for him to hand over to me his precious art stuff given what its loss represents. It was the most costly present anyone has ever given me… very humbling.

But not for long! To prove how much of a material girl I am, I spent ages yesterday posing my gifts, and gloating over them, before SM got back from his food bank outreach stuff in the evening to pick me up.

Photos below, including a close up, for no good reason than I felt like it. The beautiful purplish veil with stars on it draped over the manky mini-table was made for me by mum about 13 years ago. All the belly dance veils I’d ordered from the internet were made for 6ft 6” Amazons, which I’d get tangled up in when I tried to dance with them. So mum made me one suited to my size… Thanks mum!
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One of mum’s Blue Moon twigs planted in the pot early in the morning of my b’day. Plus some of the replacement window boxes for the manky ones we currently have.
Those broken solar butterflies surrounding the blue moon are my cunning plan to deter the foxes from digging up my baby rose bush if they try to get to the bone meal.
I took note of Susieq’s warning and have soaked the cloth wings in Dettol, and then smeared them with Fiery Jack liniment. If that little lot doesn’t keep the foxes at bay, nothing will!
The mini tea rose in the background I bought for 50p in a discount tray. Not too sure what to do with it. Is it supposed to be an indoor plant, or can I plant it in one of the window boxes? I only put it outside to let it get some fresh air and sunshine. I've bought it back indoors now. Any suggests gratefully received as ever.
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P.S. Still don’t know how SM’s court case went today. But he should be here by 10ish, so will find out then. He was being an advocate for a young family who’d been served with a no-fault Section 21 for eviction. SM is trying to get them registered as no fault homeless so the council HAVE to help them. But first he needs the paper work from the court. So his court case is more a formality than anything.

I STILL don’t know where we’re going for a mini-break or what we’ll be doing. I’ve a sneaking suspicion it’s some kind of retreat. I hope it’s not full of monks OMMing away, forcing me to meditate and force feeding me mung beans and puy lentils :dry:
If so, I’ll be doing a Colditz, and escaping to the nearest internet café to munch on bacon butties and gobble down Jaffa cakes or something :evil:
That sounds like a great birthday, and nothing less than you deserve :)
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