“You think YOU’VE had a bad morning?!”

I thought I would share my morning with you all. You know that thing where someone says “Oh you won’t believe the morning I’ve had!” And then someone else says “You think YOU’VE had a bad morning?!” Which is very annoying because the original moan-er doesn’t get any sympathy because obviously the second moan-er’s morning is far, far worse. Annoying, I know, but this morning I really am the second one in this scenario.

7:00am – My partner and BOTH teenage daughters get up because we are leaving for school in half an hour. Not one word is passed between us, we’re all too busy with the Herculean effort of waking up.

7:30am – Suddenly (and without my knowledge) I become responsible for absolutely everything that is wrong in my younger daughters’ world. “Where’s my bag? Where’s my water bottle? Where’s my blazer? Where are my shoes? What’s for dinner? Are you going to make my bed today? Do we have any Nutri-Grain bars? WHAT? Why don’t we have any? You KNOW I always take them as my snack!” We live right next door to a shop so this is easily remedied, but they only have one of them left. Don’t they know my daughter always takes them to school as a snack? But, as anyone with teenagers will know, you don’t attempt anything other than the quietest murmurs of assent first thing in the morning, otherwise you’re putting yourself at risk of a teenage death stare.

7:33am – We go to the car. ‘We’ is older daughter, younger daughter, the dog and I. Dog has decided that he’s never ever seen anyone else in his life before, and certainly no other dogs, which means that he’s leaping around the place frantically trying to say hello to absolutely everyone, getting his lead twisted and flailing around our legs as we are trying to organise ourselves into the car.

7:34am – “Why does she get to go in the front? Why do I have to go in the back? But she listens to her AirPods all the way anyway! It doesn’t make any difference!” *Younger daughter slips quietly and unseen into the front seat*.

8:06am – We arrive at school. Youngest daughter drags herself out of the car with a low moan, looking about as happy as Anne Boleyn heading off to her certain death. “Have a nice day!” I say brightly. “Urgghhh” = the response. With a slam of the car door I feel slight relief at – surely – not having sole responsibility for all of her worldly problems.

8:25am – I drop oldest daughter to her father’s house, which involves a journey through a hideously complicated one-way system through a town that I’ve never been to before. You know the type of thing, cobbled streets twisting perilously in a sort of maze where you can get so confused you end driving the wrong way. And which certainly wasn’t meant to accommodate the huge Jeep that I drive, and I nearly go wrong, more than once.

8:30am – Ahhhh, more relief! I calm down nicely on my way home, which I am almost into before I remember the dog, sitting quietly in his crate in the car. I’d forgotten that I’m going to walk him as early as possible before the heat of the day renders us all incapable of, well, anything really. If you ever want life to slow down a bit, pray for a heatwave.

8:40am – Drive to some fields, extract the dog so he can burn off his remarkable quantity of energy. I myself do not feel energised. First hurdle is a repetition of what we had before the school run – except now he can actually bomb up to people like he’s been solitary confinement for ten years. He hasn’t done that for ages and it takes a few seconds before he graciously acquiesces to me yelling his name. It’s not his fault, he’s only young, I just thought we were past that chaotic stage. Oh no, silly me, he’s a spaniel.

8:42am – I realise that I’m wearing flip-flops, which are in no way sturdy enough for a walk through the fields. My choices? Go home and change, or keep going and hope for the best. I choose option B.

8:47am – I walk through a patch of stinging nettles.

8:50am –  I walk through some tall grass and my feet immediately begin to itch.

8:52am – My dog runs over proudly showing me the carcass of what I believe to be a rat, spinal cord completely exposed. It’s roughly a foot long – have I missed a documentary series about ‘Supersize Rat?’.

8:53am – My dog does the biggest poo I’ve ever seen him do. It’s definitely a two bag job. I bend down and gently scoop the first lot up – and immediately feel warm squishiness on my fingers. Oh dear God, no. Please. But yes, it had happened, I’d managed to put my actual bodily part in his poo and it is all over my nails (I have long nails) and we are only a short way into our walk. Mindful of the increasing heat, I decide to try and ignore it and press on, bag firmly tied in a knot, along with the second one which had behaved itself.

8:54am – I glance down to see dog poo on the palm of my hand, all over his lead and a gentle, stinking, trace on my jeans. What?! Upon closer examination the bag had a big hole in it, allowing the excrement to ooze through and attach itself to whatever it came into contact with. For **** sake. I put the old bag in a new bag and carry on. I mean, I didn’t have much to lose at this point.

9am – Despite everything, I am actually enjoying this gentle walk in the early sun. The fields are deserted so the dog isn’t jumping up at everyone he can see, no matter how far into the distance they are. And when I say jump up, I mean all four feet bouncing off the floor, which is impressive in its own way because he’s quite a chunky spaniel.

9:20am – We come full circle back to the first field and there are now a couple of people there. I drop his lead by mistake – and accidentally step onto the second poo bag that I didn’t realise I’d dropped. As I bend to pick it up it explodes all over my flip-flopped feet. I now have dog sh*t on my hands, clothes, feet, legs, it’s on my phone, it’s on the lead – absolutely horror. I stand there for a second, wondering what the best way to deal with this is, when I spy a woman walking towards me out of the corner of my eye. Oh dear God, it’s a fellow mum from the school.

9:24am – I’ve cut and run, taking the coward’s way out, and got back to my car, which now presents its own problems. How can I get in and drive with dog sh*t all over me?? It’ll get everywhere! I glance around for something sacrificial to wipe myself down with, but of course I’d only recently had my car valeted so it’s spotless and – and empty. There are no stray towels around, or packs of baby wipes. Because of the heat I am only wearing a t-shirt, and it takes me only a second or two before I realise that in order to save my car from smelling of revolting poo, I am going to have to sacrifice the only thing that I can – my dignity. Yes, I stripped off my t-shirt, cleaned up as best I could, and drove home in my bra. Not too bad you might think, but I live in a village with no allocated parking so I then had to cross the square, with my dog poo clothes in one hand and the spaniel in the other, still determined to declare his love to anyone that he sees. I deal with this by holding my head up high and pretending that I am in a different life.

(PS. On the note of the Rudest Man in Fareham, I haven’t heard a peep. Nothing. Not even a syllable of his promised ‘belittling’. I don’t mind saying that I’m quite disappointed. I might go back and park there again out of the kindness of my heart, just so he has something to occupy him for a few minutes).









Fareham’s Rudest Man.

Well! I had the dubious pleasure of visiting  Hampshire Sewing Machines the other day. Actually, the only pleasure to be found was enjoying the momentary novelty of coming face to face with Fareham’s Rudest Man. My daughter is doing A-Level textiles and needed a new embroidery foot for her sewing machine. When we googled we found the Hampshire Sewing Machine just a few miles away. Perfect. We found it easily enough – it even had customer parking right outside, great! The car park was empty apart from us – this will become an important point.

It was a hot day and there was a newsagent just across the road so I nipped over there to get a bottle of water first (less than two minutes), leaving my daughter in the car – a clear sign to the majority of people that we haven’t just parked at the dodgy end of Fareham (because clearly my car would be safest there) and merrily waltzed off to the shopping centre for the afternoon. As I was coming back to my car there was a gentleman (or actually, just a man), standing outside the shop waiting to accost me.

“Why do think you’re exempt from the rules?” he asks.

“What?” I’m confused. Who is this man? The owner? The cleaner??? There are no clues.

“You’ve parked in our visitor’s car park, why do you have the arrogance to think that rules don’t apply to you?”

“What? We’re coming into the shop right now!”

“What are you buying then? Prove it”

“OK…..I’ll just get my daughter from the car and she can tell you.” (I know literally nothing about sewing machines).

“I don’t believe you. You’re just arrogant.”

I’m still a little lost here, “We’ve parked there to come INTO your shop.”

“I don’t believe you, you’re lying.” Of course I am, I’ve clearly done this journey and parked outside his deserted shop, especially to visit a newsagent that is so small it’s barely visible to the naked eye.

I am absolutely astonished by this point and don’t quite know what to say, but it’s all right because The Rudest Man in Fareham has a little speech prepared, even if it is slightly boring. He won’t ever get asked to do after dinner speaking, put it that way. In fact, he actually dispenses with sentences here and goes on a sort of loop consisting of ‘you’re arrogant, you’re arrogant, you’re arrogant, you’re arrogant.’

I then decide no way are we going into this shop so I tell him that his attitude has put me off buying from him and he’s just lost a potential customer. To be absolutely fair to the man, it’s probably been such a long time since he saw an actual customer that he’s forgotten what they look like and he says: “I don’t want you in my shop anyway.” Yep, that’s right, he doesn’t want a paying customer inside his shop that’s so deserted it resembles WW1 trenches after the war. Then he starts up his familiar chant: ‘you’re arrogant, you’re arrogant, you’re arrogant, etc.’

I then tell him that I’m going to write an honest review online. He says he doesn’t care and that if I do that he will go online and ‘belittle’ me and he repeats this two or three times. I point out that I have nothing to lose here, he replies that neither does he. What? He’s supposed to be running a SHOP! As a direct result of bad reviews online he could lose valuable custom. And it’s only HIS behaviour that has caused this little scene. I’ve since read elsewhere that he claims to have forty years of experience in the industry, during which time he’s apparently managed to learn precisely nothing about customer service. I wonder what his IQ is?

He’s still droning on about arrogance or something, and I question whether he knows what arrogance actually is but I don’t receive an answer. Maybe he’s programmed only to say sentences with the word ‘arrogant’. The scene comes to an end when he turns around and heads back to his ‘shop’, waving “Bye bye, bye bye” at me. I think he meant to be patronising, but it comes across as someone who doesn’t have the mental capacity to actually end a conversation. Presumably there’s a limit per day to “You’re arrogant” and he’s reached it.

I later found out that he’d approached my daughter in the PASSENGER seat of the car and asked her if she was driving it?! IQ…..? 

So, needless to say, I cannot state emphatically enough that if you want a sewing shop, DO NOT go here. If you need a little more persuasion then read through the other reviews, they’re almost all about his appalling attitude and his, frankly unhealthy, obsession with his car park.

It only leaves me to guess what he might say in this ‘belittling’ of me, but let’s give it a go:

#1 – I was arrogant.
#2 – I was lying about going into the shop.
#3 – I was there longer than two minutes (maybe five if you count the ‘discussion’).
#4 – I’d parked over the pavement. This is true, I hadn’t pulled my car forward enough, but I immediately accepted the blame.
#5 – I was arrogant.
#6 – I was arrogant.
#7 – I was arrogant.

If you live in Fareham or surrounding areas, and need sewing-related services then don’t panic, you do have other options, you don’t have to grace The Rudest Man in Fareham with your business. In fact, I can’t recommend https://www.darnitandstitch.co.uk/ highly enough.

I’m already excited about this belittling of me! I shall post it here as and when…..

Duck Tales

Oh dear. Is it just me who goes out on a sunny bank holiday for a civilised drink with friends and comes home at 1am wearing a bra and their spare Hawiian garland having a booked a holiday to Florida? Yes? Thought so.

And none of the above would necessarily be an issue were it not for the fact that:

  1. It is now no longer a bank holiday.
  2. It was my long suffering partner who had to come and scrape me off the bank holiday floor.
  3. Said long suffering partner is a GP who has to go and be responsible for people’s lives in the morning.

You may imagine my current popularity.

It’s all so unfortunate because I always MEAN WELL. I’d taken all the necessary precautions. I’d tidied and cleaned the house, I’d organised dinner, I’d informed my children, I’d sorted the horse out. What had escaped me was the fact that I’d left the rabbits in their run outside, our ducklings in theirs and today is a busy day when the Spanish tutor is coming round and then we’re going to meet the ‘buddy’ of my daughter at her new school and her mother. As it stands at the moment I’ll be turning up in last night’s clothes doing something straight out of the Ministry of Silly Walks with a duckling under each arm. It’s bad enough catching two rabbits who are thrilled to be having a sleepover in their run, it’s quite another gathering up five evasive ducklings whilst in vino veritas. They’re sweet things though and they belong to my daughter who has entrusted them to my splendid care whilst she’s abroad.

In fact, she’s entrusted them to my care from the word go. It wasn’t meant to be like that, she was due to sit her A-Levels, take a Gap year, earn some money and then go travelling for six months when the ducks were fully grown and needed minimal input. However – enter Covid 19. Funnily enough, my daughter will also be 19 in November. Perhaps a joint birthday party? That’s written in a bitter tone, if you can’t tell.

Anyway, she’s wanted ducks for a while and I’ve been subject to many pleadings over the last few months (years). It’s gone something like:

“Can I please have ducks?”




“But I love ducks and I’ll do it all myself.”


“I’ve wanted them for ages.”


***Covid 19 tips up and destroys all plans***


“OK, fine.”

What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll start with the hatching. For those who don’t know, duckling eggs have to be lovingly incubated for 28 days or thereabouts. The incubator has to be sitting somewhere safe, the eggs will be turned every so often, you have to keep their atmosphere humid and above all you have to LEAVE THEM ALONE. I wanted to pester but I was kept at arm’s length by my daughter who had done some solid research. She bought the eggs, she sorted them out in their incubator, she worked out when they would hatch, she tidied the shed, she commissioned a duck house for said shed and all in all, she did a heck a of a lot of preparation. Slightly before they were due to hatch she had an eighteenth birthday party to go to in Cornwall (about 150 miles away). She said she was going to the party but she would come home a day early because the ducklings were due to hatch – all fine. She left on the Friday to return on the Tuesday and I was left in sole charge not having a clue about these eggs, but all I had to was water them every so often. Or so I thought. I waved her off happily on the Friday morning, content with my instructions, and later that evening I went to start my duck egg duties. The first thing that went wrong was that one of the eggs had split in half. I know this sounds ridiculous but when I saw this split-in-half egg it took me a moment to realise what this meant and to my horror I swiftly spied a tiny duck staggering about.


I stared. I panicked. This wasn’t meant to happen! I phoned my daughter, “Congratulations darling, you have a duckling. What the **** do I do now???”

“LEAVE THEM ALONE. They should all hatch together and they don’t need anything for the first 48 hours.”

“But do I need to – “


“Are you sure?”



Slightly uneasily I went to bed, expecting five tiny ducklings when I woke up, however I was disappointed when I opened my eyes– there was just the one duckling still.

“Darling, there’s still just one duckling.”


I’ve never been good at leaving things alone.

From this point onwards, I was a duck midwife, running a duck labour ward. The stress was unbelievable, I couldn’t keep away. It’s all very well being told to leave them alone but I was fascinated and petrified in equal measure. These things were precious and dearly loved already. So I pretty much sat and watched them hatch in fear – this wasn’t meant to happen!

 After the second duckling was born all the shells began to crack and it all started happening fairly swiftly. The incubator was sealed, I had one older duckling, one only-just-born-duckling, two eggs cracking with tiny beaks making an appearance and one egg stubbornly doing nothing. For some – STUPID – reason I thought this was a splendid time to move the incubator to somewhere more central where I could live my life as well as keeping an eye on the cracklings. So I unplugged it, picked it up – and DROPPED it. The horror was entire – I had half an incubator, two newborn ducklings, two cracklings and one egg, in my LAP. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there for a moment with the words ‘leave them alone’ on a loop in my brain. Somehow I gathered up all the bits and returned them to the incubator and made a solid pact with them that we would never mention this again.

24 hours later I had five, perfect ducklings. But it was 24 hours of zero sleep, lots of panic and even more worry. I was calmer when my children were born.

It’s all ended well though because we now have five toddler ducks who are very happy and very spoiled. And very loud. I knew they were ‘call’ ducks but what I didn’t know was how loudly they ‘call’. It isn’t the eggs that are splitting these days.

It’s my ears.