Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Hop across to the Greek Islands

Hi, no post from Dorset until I am back from my hols. But please hop across to the Greek Islands from The World from My Porthole.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Friday, 19 June 2009

Maddie's Odyssey

I'm off to Greece soon, sailing around mythical Ithaca with Mr Grigg and going to all those little coves and places you can only reach by boat. And boy, do I need it.

I came home from the council Death Star yesterday and burst into tears for no apparent reason.

So I probably won't be blogging much over the next fortnight. I have hand luggage full of reading books, OU text books, a laptop and the first three chapters of my novel to be getting on with.

That's about it
Love Maddie x

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Fun in the sun

I had the pleasure of Number One Son's company for our village fun day weekend. He has come back from university and sprouted a beard. My first reaction was that Shaggy from Scooby Doo had just walked through the door. But Mr Loggins reckoned he looked more like Jude Law.

The scarecrow competition was a huge success and judged so graciously by CBeebies star Cerrie Burnell, who was simply lovely. The children adored her and the dads seemed pretty smitten too.

Here she is with the winner of the contest, the BFG:

A selection of scarecrow photos for you:

So fun day has been and gone for another year. Hundreds of people, glorious weather, a score and ten scarecrows, a bagpiper leading the village parade, loads of stalls and sideshows, a bouncy castle and tea ladies in dalmatian gear for the theme of children's fictional characters.

There were very few glitches on an almost perfect day. The new sound system made me sound like Norman Collier and the new dishwasher filled up the hall kitchen with water as Mr Grigg did his best Gordon Ramsey impersonation for the big village breakfast.

Today, my feet are tired and bruised after dancing the night away to Tuppence's band and Mr Grigg has a hangover.

But just don't mention the dishwasher. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.

My favourite scarecrow was this one - Harry Potter wearing his invisibility cloak. Genius.

And mine? A cardboard cut-out better known as Flat Stanley. Rubbish but easy and effective.

That's about it
Love Maddie x

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Stone the crows

The stress is beginning to show as the village fete gets closer. I am still no nearer to coming up with an idea for a scarecrow for Saturday. As you can see from these pictures, the standard is extremely high and every time I say 'it's the taking part that counts', the always competitive Mr Grigg rolls his eyes. If winning means that much to him, he should make the bloody thing.

I am meant to be working at home tomorrow but still have to buy, sort out and label prizes for the tombola; dust down the village organisation shields for the parade; lay my hands on the roll-a-penny board; assist Mr Grigg in preparing for Saturday's Big Breakfast in the village hall; remove any pots of importance in the garden before Number One Daughter's two dogs arrive for a weekend visit while she swans off somewhere courtesy of free coupons in The Sun; make two beds up for Number One Son and Number One Stepson and then come up with some wording to introduce the official opener, Cerrie from CBeebies.

Oh, and I also have to make a scarecrow.

Oh how I wish I was the jolly allotment holder I heard last night singing All the ducks are swimming the water and then cheerfully whistling The Sound of Music as he chugged away with his rotavator across the valley.

Perhaps the plants that grew univited on our postage stamp last year and looked like this

have spread to his allotment.

And to top it all, Mr Grigg is suffering from flatulence. Last night, as we walked with Nobby Odd-Job from a hearty barbecue to celebrate the joint birthday of Manual and a local farmer, a rasping noise popped out from Mr Grigg's nether regions.

'What's that?' I said, moving upwind. 'Did you just drop one?'

'No, it's just my bottom speaking,' Mr Grigg said.

Nobby Odd-Job beat me to it with his response.

'Well, you always did talk out of your arse.'

That's about it
Maddie x

Monday, 8 June 2009

Put the flags out, it's fete time

My mother told me the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the road to West Bay certainly is. We didn't make it last Friday night. Instead we were lured into our neighbour Mrs Bancroft's house with the cry: 'Coo-ee, fancy a glass of wine?' So we popped in and, an hour later, fell out again.

The draining board was full of her best china from earlier, after the 'girls' (average age 65) called in for tea, cake and salmon and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. This was a pre-fete meeting, where Mrs Bancroft butters up the ladies to prepare them for helping out with the teas. Each year, they dress appropriately according to the theme. This year it is children's fictional characters and she had an idea. But how would they take it? Hence all the grub.

'How about 101 Dalmatians?' she asked, dipping her toe into the water.

'Woof, woof,' they barked in unison. If they'd had puppy dog tails they would have wagged them.

So that's them fixed. The next day, the 'boys' (average age 55) were putting the flags out, ready for the big day next weekend. I was pleased that, for once, Mr Grigg listened to me and did not do his usual trick of going up a ladder in open-backed slippers and a load of bunting wrapped around his neck.

Yesterday, he rigged up a bucket on a string outside our window for Mr Sheepwash to put our paper in. We are just a few yards away from the village shop but Mr Grigg and I were too lazy to get up and, as Mr Sheepwash was passing anyway, it seemed like a good idea. We were still in bed by 9.30am, waiting, but there was no sign of Mr Sheepwash. I went to the window and tugged on the string. The bucket was empty.

So Mr Grigg put on his best Sir Alan Sugar voice as he rang Mr Sheepwash to tell him as a paperboy he was fired.

'I'd even put a tip in there for you,' Mr Grigg said, after hearing that Mr Sheepwash, eyes tired from the night before, had failed to see the bucket hanging out of our window.

However, it is probably just as well Mr Sheepwash did not see the bucket. As an Observer man, his reaction to Mr Grigg's request for the Torygraph would probably have been a rolled up copy of the Sunday Sport and a dog turd.

This week, in between work, we are trying to come up with an idea for the village scarecrow competition. It is being judged by Cerrie Burnell, a presenter from CBeebies, a friend of a Sheepwashlet, who is also opening the fete.

We usually do something peering out of the window, so we only have to do half a scarecrow. Last year, for the Olympic theme I did just a pair of legs sticking out, with a big bamboo cane attached and called it 'An Over-enthusiastic Pole Vaulter'. This year I have an even better idea. It'll be called 'Imaginary Friend' and be completely invisible.

That's about it
Love Maddie x

Friday, 5 June 2009

What a mistaka to make

We are about to go down to the sea again, to the beautiful sea and sky. Bella has come back from the menders with a new regulator and clutch and is purring away like only an old VW Beetle can. The noise is a bit like a bass Singer sewing machine powered by a large elastic band. Music to my ears.

We'll probably stop off for fish and chips, look down our noses at the holidaymakers and then turn our gaze to the West Bay cliffs and out to sea. I was once told that if you sailed out in a straight line between the two piers the first land mass you would hit would be Brazil. But as this was told to me by an old journalist who could belch God Save the Queen, I wouldn't want to try it.

It will be our second meal out this week, despite the credit crunch. The first was on Wednesday at the pub when we joined Nobby Odd Job for the weekly steak night. Mr Grigg had something of a first - steak surprise. It came as the landlord's daughter wiggled out from the kitchen, proudly carrying his steak aloft as if it were a haggis. The surprise came just as she was about to put the plate on the table. She let out a squeal, the plate jumped out of her hands and landed in a steak and chip and onion ring mess on the carpet.

She ran into the kitchen, got a dustpan and brush and then got down on her hands and knees to clear it up.

That's when I heard him utter the immortal words: 'While you're down there...'

I nearly picked up the steak myself and introduced it to the Ginsters pasty.

That's about it
Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Everybody needs good neighbours

In September there is a village outing - two nights in a rambling, old fashioned hotel in Woolacombe. Parlour games, communal meals and swimming. Blog heaven. But for the second year running, we are going to miss it. Last year we were on holiday and this year it's Number One Daughter's wedding. If I were paranoid, I could be forgiven for thinking the timing was deliberate.

But I am not paranoid, which is just as well because two sets of neighbours either side of us have 'sold' signs like bookends on their houses. Is it us? Mr Loggins thinks not. He turned sage on Sunday when he said: 'The fact they've both sold means there are people who actually want to come and live next to you.'

We are pleased our neighbours have sold in a so-called bad housing market but sorry they are leaving. They are village 'lifeblood' people and the square and our community will miss them. They will be a hard act to follow. Our elderly neighbour Gandalf is the wisest man I know. Our growing children were convinced he was a wizard, particularly after I told them the sound of his Flymo was really a hi-tech flying carpet.

I first became aware of his superpowers seven years ago when the square was to be the venue for a street party to mark the Queen's golden jubilee. The skies were black and we were all sure it was going to be a wash-out.

Gandalf emerged from his front door like one of those little people who go in when it's raining.

'What do you think the weather's going to do Gandalf?' I asked.

'At three o'clock, the sun will be shining,' he said.

At about 30 seconds to three, the clouds parted and the rays burst through as if we were in a Disney film.

I almost did a Wayne's World-style 'we are not worthy' at Gandalf's feet. It was a couple of years later I discovered he regularly listened to the weather forecast on the Radio 4 Farming Today programme. So it was the power of the BBC rather than the power of magic.

I wish him well in his new home. Which reminds me of a lovely song that comes courtesy of my Number One Son iPod playlist.

Here's the live version. Hope you enjoy it.

That's about it
Love Maddie x

A horror film for Halloween

On Halloween, I head out under the cover of darkness, a tub of sweets by the front door for young trick or treaters on the prowl with their ...