Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Bailey House Rules

Despite my threenagers now being twonagers, I still experience, what I will term as, a load of bull from them on a daily basis. Whether its fingers in the sugar, litter in the bedroom or simply refusing to move off the sofa for anything less than a promise of a 100g bar of Cadbury’s best, I do find myself at the end of my tether most days.

Fed up of whingeing, whining, back-chat and tantrums, I have decided to set down my own 10 non-negotiables for surviving in the Bailey household as a teen.

1)   Please be aware that dirty knives should be located in the dish washer, sharpy point down.  This alleviates any need to attend A & E after severe laceration of the fingers.

2)   Daily ablutions should be conducted in a civil fashion with all toothpaste, soap and gel being confined to the sink or bath only and not smeared across all surfaces and windows.

3)   Erect toilet seats will be severely punished.

4)   All soiled linens and clothing items must be confined to the inside of wash baskets and not placed on the top or distributed around the room.

5)   Collections of the following items are banned forthwith: spoons, plates and cups.

6)   Empty milk cartons (or indeed any empty boxes or vessels) must not, under any circumstances, be replaced in the refrigerator.

7)   Any uneaten food items should be placed in recycling and not on bedroom floors, beds or desks as mice food.

8)   The distribution of; perfume, aftershave or body spray should be strictly confined to bedrooms only and not randomly throughout the house. It should be rationed to one squirt per usage so as not to pollute the whole town.

9)   Shower time will be monitored and rationed to five minutes per day and saunas are strictly off-limits thus ensuring that the remainder of the North West inhabitants have at least enough water to wash their face.

10)  At no time will there be a waitress service available.

*  *  *
Please note - No teenagers were harmed during the writing of this blog post (or at any other time.)

What is your top non-negotiable for promoting a harmonious household?

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Monday, 5 September 2016

Snow in Summer

Squirrels in the planters,
 Slugs in the veg,
Blackbirds digging in my pots,
 Cats pouncing from the hedge. 

This sounds like an excerpt from a children’s rhyme and I may make it into one but it most aptly describes my garden on most occasions. I shouldn’t, then, have been shocked to discover what I saw when I crawled out recently from beneath my covers, shuffled downstairs and stood bleary-eyed at my kitchen window. The scene - a mass of white.

 I know what you are thinking – snow, as did I….initially. (It is summer – what else?) As it looked quite patchy I realised it warranted further investigation. To my amazement, as I reached the door I realised that instead of snow, the covering on my lawn was, in fact, feathers. Lots and lots of fluffy, downy white feathers. What on earth had happened? Asking myself this question prompted me to ponder on what the children would think of my ‘blanket of feathers’ outdoors. 

When they arrived, later that morning, I remarked at the sight outside and asked them, firstly, what they thought it could be. As they looked out from the patio doors they could see what the elder one described as “white blobs.”  We had to go out and take a look.  Under close supervision we trooped out with our magnifiers to inspect my garden.

The magnifying glasses revealed the filaments of the feathers, larger versions of which they have happily played with indoors.

“How did they get here I wonder?” I began the conversation.
The eldest child thought the birds must have “left them for us.”
I wasn’t so sure and I couldn’t quite believe that one bird could have so many feathers. 
On retiring indoors we began some research. There are some amazing facts about feathers. (As a childcarer I am constantly learning.) Here are a few ‘Did you know..?’ facts.  Apparently, the number of feathers on a bird varies according to; species, size, sex, age, health, season, and temperature of habitat. Most songbirds have between 1500 and 3000 feathers and  there are 7 different types of feather. I have quite a collection of my own and we looked at the contrasting types. 

All this was very interesting but this didn’t answer my question; what happened to the now, presumably, featherless bird? My own knowledge of my garden is inclined to lead me to believe that it was a fox.  I have seen of them in broad daylight confidently prowling in the bushes and some of the extremely large, slow-moving wood pigeons are easy prey. This brought me to an additional problem; how to discuss the apparent savagery of such a well-loved wild animal?  I say ‘well-loved’ because the children are young and are used to tales of ‘Foxey Loxey’ and the not so unfriendly fox in the ‘Gruffalo.’

I decided to take my lead from the children and see what other explanations they could come up with after talking a little more about birds, feathers and wildlife generally.

“I know some foxes eat birds”,
I offered when the children became quiet.
The reply?
 “I won’t be a fox - don’t want to eat pigeon with fluff on it!”
How fantastically sensible.

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