Marooned in the Modern World

In conjunction with my book "Swiss Family Suburban" this blog is from my diary; the diary of a wife and mum in a world where neither is valued highly. Beth Bill.

27th May 2011

I don't know if it's because I've been spending so much time with old, ill and dying relatives (Great Uncle Reg died earlier this week) but I've really been thinking that it's time to DO some of the things that we've been waiting to do once the kids are older and my responsibilities at home are a little less 'hands on'. I'm certainly not complaining, because I truly believe that family should care for family (at least, if not others too as far as we are able) but I do feel conscious that there are certain things I would like to do before I'm too old to enjoy them....

So, we've bought a motorbike!! David used to have a bike before we were married but my mum didn't allow me on it - I think motorbikes are like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. When we got married we couldn't afford a bike and then we had the kiddies. We've been married for nearly 20 years and I've only been on a bike twice, so I thought it was high time to get going. We don't go on holidays so we thought we could stretch the finances for a second hand bike. We visited our local Triumph dealer (it has to be a Triumph). They have always been so helpful giving David access to bikes to photograph for reference for his artwork (which coincidentally is mostly motorbikes at the moment - it's in the air!) and it just so happened that they had a Bonneville in, in British Racing Green colours - perfect. Just after we'd bought it they had five telephone calls enquiring about the bike. His (its) name is Wiggins - a jolly British name for a jolly British bike.

That night it was like seeing Donkey Rides up and down Blackpool beach as David gave the kids and our friend rides on the new bike. Everybody had my leather jacket etc. on (rescued from the loft where it was waiting in hope). On Tuesday David and I took the afternoon off (and I took a holiday from choir, much to Em's disdain) and we went for our first ride. It was amazing! We rode to Nuneaton, the scenic route, to have a brew with our friends there and then we came home via The Red Lion at Checkley ( for a gorgeous meal. The patrons are great guys, and have bought David's prints to put in the corridor of the pub, and the food is amazing. However, after 150 miles I was a little saddle sore!

14th May 2011

Some years ago I got so fed up of continually being asked, several times by each child in rota it seemed, "What's for tea?" that I wrote it up on a chalk board and refused to answer (or at least after the third time!) However, after looking at today's report I'm not sure that I've quite got the point!

Out of interest, the chalk board was a bargain as whatever should have been stuck on the blue centrepiece at the top was missing, so I stuck that heart on instead (which was on the gift tag of a mug and saucer given to me by a guest from Romania who was staying in our house for a week) and obviously something is missing from the left hand corner. I think it cost 99p. "Make do and mend" as ever. I always feel like I've failed if I just buy something!

11th May 2011

Each week I sing with Ceramic City Choir, and Em now sings with me. Our last concert was one of French music including Faure's Requiem, Le Cantique de Jean Racine and works by Widor. Our next concert will include Vivaldi's Gloria and Handel's 'Chandos' Anthem. However, last night we took a break from our usual genre and spent the whole evening singing Tom Jones' Delilah!! The reason being that ESPN were filming us to us the choir in the build up to the Stoke City FA Cup match at the weekend. It was very surreal! I don't really like football - but as my Nan said,"All in life's rich pattern."

5th May 2011

I do wonder if acting as reference models continually throughout the children's childhood might have had a long enduring effect (good or bad is debatable). The other day Jonti (aged 17) accosted me in the kitchen wearing a colander on his head and brandishing a slotted spoon in a menacing manner. The reason, it unfolded, was that I was the dragon that was guarding the newly made chocolate cake and I needed defeating! Years ago Matt posed for reference for a painting for a Fantasy card game that David was working on where he was pretending to be a soldier charging on a rocking horse wearing kitchen ware as his armour and weaponry.

The cake in question is an adaptation of a chocolate digestive cake which is very like Rocky Road - basically melted dark choc, broken biscuits, chocolate buttons and a new addition of mini marsh mallows chilled in the fridge. Yummy!

Em and I absolutely love the colander in question - which seems a little out of proportion, but it's so very 'country kitchen'. Em and I refer to it as 'playing house', or the old fashioned phrase would be home making. In reality it's trying to be creative on a budget - a £1.99 which just so happens to tie together the theme in the kitchen based around original 70's tiles. It just matches the table runner that I made - with the all important wooden button detail.