Do Yoga. Breathe Deep. Just Not Too Deep.


(Artwork provided by, and copyrighted to Patrick Barrett Instagram: patrick_barrett_art. No reproduction without written permission from the artist.)


One of my best friends recently discovered the joys of yoga. “I feel all floppy,” she said. “I feel as though I want to hug everyone.” Thankfully she didn’t. I don’t cope well with hugging at the best of times, and less so when they are being dished out by the newest member of the Happy Clappy Brigade. But it took me back to the time I attempted to ‘find myself’ through the power of Yoga.

I was twenty-six. Working, travelling, socialising. Life was fabulous. Sleep got sacrificed. Eight hours a night reduced to seven, six, then five. It took its toll. It was with grey skin and baggy eyes that I fell through the door of the class, dragging my house-mate behind me. Clutching our newly purchased mats under our arms, and wearing our newly purchased co-ordinated outfits, we confidently strode in. We were delighted when were greeted by what could only be described as Gaia, in human form. She had long flowing hair, skin like a baby, eyes that twinkled with an all knowing wisdom, henna tattoos across her feet and jingly jewellery around her ankle. Her voice was hypnotic. Melodic. We felt as though we’d been blessed by the time she pointed us to a spot in the center before gliding away to meet others.

We flipped out the blue rolls like pro’s, lay down and gazed skyward. We listened to the dulcet tones of our leader as she began a guided relaxation to ease us all into the right state of mind.

And it worked.

I was utterly at one with the universe when I came to and opened my eyes, and had a casual stretch. I was oblivious to all as I wandered back over the lovely dream I’d just had. I had another stretch. I glanced over and sniggered at my snoring housemate. I stretched again, this time, with my eyes focusing, and rolled over … and this was when I:

  1. Remembered where the hell I was
  2. Noticed that the rest of the class was in, what was obviously the middle of a sequence and
  3. Looked at my watch and discovered thirty minutes had vanished.


I whispered to H out the corner of my mouth in the hope that no one would hear me. No one did hear me, including H. I whispered louder (shouted!). Spluttering, she rejoined me in the land of the living. With overly exaggerated nonchalance, we climbed to our feet, wiped the bogies from our eyes and dribble off our chins and proceeded to swing into The Mountain Position. Breathing in this new air of wonder. Firm in our heady belief that life would never be the same again; that our stresses would be a thing of the past. Yoga was to be our new path and our bodies, our temples. There was joy in my heart as I swooped over into The Triangle. So engulfed in my new angelic hedonism, I was unsure if the fart I’d heard, let out by Head-Band-Man (in front of me who was also triangling inches from my face), was actually a fart. I looked around. As had happened with me and H earlier, no-one reacted.

I returned to my zen zone.

Commanded by Gaia as she swished her tie-dye skirt at the front of the room, we all got into The Downward Dog. This time, there was no mistaking what some in that collective may have referred to as a ‘spiritual release’ as he directed his bottom towards the stars. And from then on, with each and every move, the same thing happened.

No one had warned us that that could be a side effect of this great exercise as it works the inside of the body as well as the out.

I swear to god I still have the scars on the inside of my mouth. I almost bit through in a bid to control my laughter and I was doing well(ish) until I swivelled towards H and found her, bent double, upside down, with silent tears of laughter dripping off her cheeks onto the floor, unable to lift herself up into the next position for fear of what would happen.

We made a mutual decision right there and then; that Yoga wasn’t for us and made an apologetic exit. Apparently, they could still hear us laughing from beyond the car park.

Needless to say, we weren’t asked back. And we didn’t ask if we could. The blue mats stayed in the cupboard until we had the next party and ran out of seating in the garden. So not a complete waste.


I recently decided to have another crack at the whip. It was a twenty-minute session that mostly consisted of The Warrior … which is ‘standing’. Essentially.

I was knackered.


Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.



Gardening Tip No.1 (According to The Captain).




We, The Captain, The Colonel and I, were driving back home one day, not  that long ago when we passed a newly sown lawn. Dotted around the edge were multiple wooden stakes with numerous plastic bags attached to them. Blowing in the wind. Rustling for all they were worth.

“What are the carrier bags for Mum?” Asks The Captain, pulling himself up to the back of my driver’s seat.

“The gardeners use them to stop the birds from stealing the seeds and damaging the new grass when it begins to grow,” I replied.

There was a pregnant pause as he leant back into his own chair, the cogs turning as he considered the answer he was given. Suddenly the penny dropped and he sat bolt upright and screeched,

“ … So you mean they use the plastic bags to suffocate the birds? …


Not quite child of my loins, not quite.

The mind of an Asperger’s teen is a wondrous thing … unless you are a bird … living in their garden.


I’ve Got This Dog That Steals Pants …


(Artwork provided by Kk  Instagram: of_art_and_science/  Aluria Arts ) 


To be fair, it’s not the only thing she steals, but pants are her favourite. She’s not fussy whose pants they are (as can be verified by a few guests who have stayed at Chez-Annas). She hasn’t singled mine out due to any dubious or questionable hygiene habits ( or lack of them). She just likes pants. Fresh out of the drawer, or fresh off ya bum. Either / or. She also has a penchant for cucumbers and will steal those too given the opportunity. (I know right? The whole thing is quite questionable). You wouldn’t think it was a circumstance that arose, but in our house it does, because I also have a child (The Colonel) that nicks cucumbers. Whole ones at a time. Because I once said, many moons ago, that I didn’t mind him helping himself to healthy nibbles out of the fridge.

And so he does.

A few nights ago he took one and stashed it somewhere in his bedroom for later. No, I have no clue why. As far as I am aware there was no impending national shortage of cucumbers and nor had we reached such a dire state of financial destitution that we wouldn’t be able to purchase any in the near future either. Whatever his reasoning, the cucumber ended up at eye level. Fetish-Dog eye level (who I should add only weighs 3kg and is not much bigger than the average roasted peanut). Fetish-Dog didn’t waste a second. She promptly whipped it out from its hiding place and scarpered across the landing at a hundred dog-miles an hour. Tail and ears flattened to enhance her aerodynamics. Straight under my bed. Bearing in mind that the cucumber was about the same length as her, it was quite a sight to behold.  I’d like to pretend I was shocked and stunned at the antics, but the reality was that I barely raised an eyebrow. However, it was more entertaining than the writing project I was sat trying to complete at the time.  In traditional fashion, I rolled my eyes and then flipped over the edge of the mattress for a front seat view of the ensuing hoo-har. Just in time to feel the breeze coming off my second born (the victim in this scenario) as he also arrived at the scene. Horizontally. A bit like superman, but with less grace and more spots.

There was initially a bit of a standoff. Fetish-Dog buried her salad-treasure under the nest of stolen pants (that’s where they’ve all been disappearing to!!) in a bid to frighten the enemy, and for a moment or two, it worked. The Colonel looked at the pants, looked back at the dog, looked at the cucumber and weighed up the odds of survival. He gave me a fleeting glance, a thumbs up and told me he was going in.

I gave him a thumbs up back … because I’m a supportive parent like that …

What happened next was a little more than a heated debate. He argued his case well. She argued hers better, and in typical female fashion, chose to ignore him completely and do whatever the hell she wanted anyway; dragging the cucumber and the pants even further back into No Mans Land. I think it would be a just assessment to say that The Colonel lost … both the cucumber and his dignity. And I also think it would be fair to say that I shall be needing to take a trip to M & S very soon in order to stock up on supplies. Of pants. Not cucumbers.

We are going to stick to purchasing lettuce for a wee while.






Bacon Butty. Red? Brown? Discuss.


It’s a debate that has been going on since the beginning of time, or at least since the invention of red sauce and brown sauce. The core of the campaign ( I think it would be fair to say), sits in the UK. I’m yet to discover another place that is so passionate about its bacon butty. Nor am I yet to discover another place that does them quite so well. And yet even with this accolade, as a nation, we are unable to agree on what actually creates and defines the perfect butty.

This isn’t just a battle of two sides.

The camps are many. Mass-produced white bread or rugged fresh artisan? Sliced bread or rolls? Butter or no butter? Toasted or not toasted? Additions ( egg / cheese etc) or no additions. Smoked bacon or unsmoked? Fried or grilled? Red sauce or brown sauce or no sauce? And then, of course, there are all the combinations in between.

So why am I bringing this age-old issue up? You may well ask.

Because. I. Changed. Camps!!

I have no clue what happened! Or why it happened! Little did I know, as I was preparing breakfast yesterday, that by the end of that first mouthful, life would never be the same again! A red girl for my entire 45 years, I took that bite and something was wrong. I checked the bread.The bacon. The butter. All was as it should be, and yet my taste buds were disagreeing. I looked on with horror as my youngest, The Colonel, grabbed the brown sauce from the cupboard and suggested I give it a whirl instead. I was still mentally scarred from previous occasions in years gone by when I’d picked up the wrong butty by accident, and copped a mouthful of the stuff. It had been vile, and yet there I was. Contemplating shifting my flag from one loyalty to another.

My spot was hit. 

It was with pure self-disapproval and reluctance that I remade the sandwich, replacing the ketchup with some of ‘that stuff’. But I can not tell a lie. I don’t know what had happened to my brain during the night; what witchcraft took place; what alien probing went on, but something did. And I’m a convert. I saw the light / became a traitor ( depending on the stance you are reading this from).

I’m a brown sauce girl!

Apologies to the red team. You had me for a long while, but now I must spread my love elsewhere. The perfect bacon butty is now officially made with the brown stuff. With fried bacon. Buttered bread. Which must be griddled in the remains of the bacon juices in the pan. And the bread has to be good ol’ fashioned bought, white, sliced – cotton wool bread as we call it in our house because that’s the closest thing to its taste, texture and nutritional value. And there must never be any other ‘additions’. Never. Ever.

The only other requirement, the piece de resistance, is a mug of Yorkshire tea that’s big enough to swim across.

Breakfast Heaven.

All other combinations and offerings of this great tradition are, or course, wrong.

Next week’s debate: Daddies or HP?