A Housewifely Rant

A Housewifely Rant.
To the manufacturers of cleaning products: Please change the design of your bottles.

It seems that cleaning product bottles are shaped on purpose to fall over continuously when approaching a quarter full. Not only are the bottoms of these bottles subtly shaped to curve inwards, they also have an indented middle, thus leaving only a ridge to stand on.

May I (rather impolitely) suggest: V Shaped Bottles! Inverted, of course…

An inverted v-shaped bottle will not only NOT fall over, but will also pack well, i.e. tessellate wonderfully. Happy Housewife = Happy Hypermarket. Everybody wins.
I am now on the hunt for cleaning products whose bottles are shaped so they will not fall over when approaching empty. Any suggestions?

To the manufacturers of dishwashers: Please make sure your machines actually clean.

I have a brand new dishwasher (whose brand shall remain bland) that only cleans when the dishes are already clean. If I put something dirty in (heaven forfend), it comes out…wait for it…dirty! It would seem that this particular labour saving device does not work. I must rinse, scrub, and then load; then I must empty and dry the dishes afterwards. Hm. Not so much labour saving as labour intensifying. Is this a conspiracy? Let’s fool the housewives? (cue evil chuckle)


To the manufacturers of fridge-freezers: Please re-engineer them.

I am referring to the silly European design of having a small freezer box on top of a small fridge, not large American sized fridge-freezers. (Which are wonderful, I had one and miss it every day.)
I have a brand new in-built fridge-freezer that is economical! How wonderful, I thought, how clever, to bring freezing air down from the freezer into the fridge, thereby cooling without using extra energy! So now, of course, I have one and a half freezers. Everything I place towards the back of my fridge freezes! Amazing! And it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I must take out my vegetable box every day and wipe out the damp and place it the other way around to avoid freezing. Noooo, not at all. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that this paragon of modern design and economy ices up – both in the freezer and at the back of the fridge. Nope. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, this penchant for small fridges that are suitable for a family of one, not four. Nope. Not. At. All.


And now may I say ‘Thank You’ to Mr Dyson who invented a hoover (sorry, vacuum cleaner) that actually works! I have had mine for five years and it has never given me a problem. It still sucks powerfully and doesn’t complain when marbles get stuck in its pipes. Yes it’s noisy, yes it’s a little on the heavy side, but it works. Happy Hoovering Housewife Here.


Your turn. Share your rants!

Once A Foreigner, Always A Foreigner

I have just finished ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I am still thinking.

This is a book I will read again. It’s the kind of book you read to find out what will happen, yet while you’re reading know you must come back to this page because there was something that gave you insight into your own life. And then there is that page where the characters seem too rich, too characterful to be true, yet you know they are and you relish the time you get to spend with them. And then there are the blog entries which are well-written, educational, and illuminating about what it means to be black in America. To be Americanah in Nigeria. It’s the kind of book where you can dig a little deeper, discover the story beneath the story, the reality beneath the pseudo-reality – or is it the other way around…


I live in a country not of my birth and no matter how I try to retain my innate Englishness, it’s surprising how much of the adopted country seeps into me and when I return to the land of my birth it takes a while for the pseudo-sweetness of superiority to dissolve.
I first moved to Switzerland in August 2001 full of hopes and dreams, and assurance that I would find my own niche in this beautiful country. After a month of struggling with the language, people’s perception of me as a foreigner, and nobody to talk to, the shine began to wear away and leave the naked matte of reality. The solution was a language course. I made one or two friends and could thereafter communicate in shops, albeit on a basic level. If someone talked to me about anything other than carrots or potatoes or what my name was, I received a sigh for my pathetic attempts to mumble a few words. I often drew a blank even when I could communicate better – the momentary panic that hits when someone expects an answer before you’ve even begun to process their question.

Slowly, I began to absorb the values and ideas of my adopted country. Then I visited my home town in England. And discovered how foreign I was, once more.

I always assumed England and my home town would remain much as I remembered them, but as soon as I set foot in my familiar country, an unexpected alienness began to wind its way in and alter my previously held perceptions. I wondered whether I had changed, or whether my perceptions had been false when I had lived there. A paradigm shift. I saw the good about Switzerland reflected poorly in my home town. It was not as clean. People did not greet one another. Public transport left much to be desired. But.

I could talk! I could ask a question and someone would understand! Better yet, I understood everything going on around me without the unshiftable shadow of worry that cloaked me whenever I left the security of my apartment in Switzerland. If something happens, can I make myself understood?

Going back to Switzerland was like returning to England, just in reverse. Trains were wonderful and people ‘Gruetzie’d’ like crazy, but I was once again an alien in a foreign country, struggling to be understood, struggling to prove I was worthy.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you moved from your home town only to go back after a number of years and realize both you, and your home town, have changed?

It’s unsettling until we readjust, find our paradigms, and continue our lives.



Tag: You’re It!

Tag, You’re It!

Arrggh, I’m it. What is it?

Ah, a blog hop.

Blog Hop? What’s that? Bunnies jumping over logs in the forest? I think I have far too many of the chocolate variety in my house at the moment…

I had no idea what a blog hop was, but soon found out, and thought it a great idea from writer Alexis A. Hunter.

I was tagged by multitalented author B L Draper who lives in northern Australia where she is a sustainability teacher by day; and a writer by night. She has had stories published in Youth Imagination Magazine and Spellbound, amongst others, and hopes to one day publish her novel before she’s too old and senile to enjoy it. Visit B L Draper’s blog and read one of her wonderful short stories here.


So now it’s my turn to hop around and answer some questions about my writing process. (Writing process? What’s that? Not sure I have one…)

What am I working on?

Ah. This I can answer. I am polishing my first historical romance – ‘The Traitor’s Legacy’, as well as working on a second novel that may also work as a sequel, and a short story about 14th century highwaymen known as ‘The Ryfelours.’ I will be publishing this short story on my blog as soon as it has been through the Scribophile wringer.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know if I have a particular genre. My very first novel was about a girl winning a trip into space. Another novel (which will never see the light of day) was set in the first part of the 20th century. Some of my vignettes are present-day, while others are set in the past. I have always loved historical because I learn so much about what life was really like for women in those times and how they bore their particular crosses, or affected change in their hard lives.

Why do I write what I write?

In ‘The Traitor’s Legacy’, one of the questions I ask is: ‘How much can a woman endure before she realizes fundamental aspects of her character need to change?’ I am interested in what makes us who we are as people, what kind of trials shape our characters and how this affects our lives.

I think this is one of the keys in understanding relationships. If we can see how our attitudes and characteristics affect others, and our relationship with others, then we have the power to affect change. It’s something I find very interesting and may explore further.

I chose the 13th century because it was a fascinating time of upheaval in England when King Henry II was imprisoned and the first idea of ‘parliament’ was bandied around.

Although it’s early days, my second novel seems to be asking the question: ‘How far will a mother go to protect her daughter from an unscrupulous man?’ I am curious to see where this leads. I thought I knew where the novel was going, but when I edited a chapter, it re-wrote itself in a different direction.

I write because it’s a way of legitimizing a compulsion to escape reality at every available opportunity, and delve into someone else’s head.

How does my writing process work?

I am usually in bed when inspiration comes. My brain will decide it certainly doesn’t want to sleep – even though my body is tired from housework, taking the kids out on their bikes, and teaching English. So this is when I start thinking.

My ‘Glass-Half-Full’ vignette came like this. Sometimes I will remember key words so I can write it out the following day, sometimes I will sigh, put the light on and scribble for around half an hour. I get precious few quiet moments in the day, so I need this time to let my mind wander.

If I have no desire to write, I won’t, I’ll bake instead. So for the sake of my waistline, it’s imperative I allow myself the luxury of daydreaming. Sometimes I will purposefully not write for a few days, allow the frustrations or ideas to bubble and then I can explode it onto the page. Not all of this makes the cut, I’m happy to say.
I have tagged two very different, but equally exciting, authors to talk about themselves for the next hop:

Belinda Mellor is the very talented author of the fantasy novel, ‘Silvana – The Greening’, which had some great reviews on Amazon. I loved reading this, it’s the kind of book you can read over and over and discover something new. Her second novel in the series, ‘Silvana – Midsummer’, will be out in November. Belinda’s gentle and deft writing skills swiftly draw you into her world and you will find yourself reluctant to leave her characters because they wind themselves into you like fresh new shoots, and before you realize it, nothing can drag you away.

Belinda is also working on some short stories set in the same world.
Discover more about the fascinating world of the Silvana
Belinda’s facebook page


Another author whose work I enjoy very much is Demi Hungerford, who is currently writing several Regency Romances. I am excited by her work because the stories are unusual, and some of her character’s pop off the page with life. A snapshot of Demi:

I am married, my husband taught me so much about relationships, romance, and life. My goals include getting my first Regency Romance polished and submitted to an agent by the end of August. I love to read, I love to be read to, so I listen to audio books during my daily commute. Also my husband and I raise hookbills and some finches. We are down-sizing the flock and putting as many birds in ‘easier to maintain’ aviaries due to economic concerns and wanting more time for writing.
For a sneak peek at her latest novel
For her fascinating and humorous blog about birds


Belinda and Demi – Tag: You’re It!




Every Picture Tells A Story


Every picture tells a story.

Does  it?

I think every picture hides a story.

Think of the images we see on tv or newspapers. War-torn areas, disaster hit towns and cities, or horrendous accidents like the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh. Sometimes we see only a face.

People crying. Bodies. Chaos.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Grief. Pain. Anger.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Betrayal. Lies. Loss of Hope.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Despair. Death.


Writers paint a picture for the reader. We  ask:

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Hidden Agendas. Motivations.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Symbolism. Imagery.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

Themes. The real story.

Dig a little deeper. What do you see?

The writer’s soul. The reason we write.

Welcome to Spring

Spring!    Switzerland           


Welcome to my home, pull up a chair and ease your shoes off. It’s ok if they’re sweaty, slightly stale or even smelly, the window’s open and, if you look quietly, there is a bird out on the patio pecking at a stick. Maybe he thinks it’s a worm. Perhaps it’s a she, and preparing a nest for her offspring. Occasionally they nest under the eaves, but I have not yet been fortunate enough to see the hatchlings.

Early Spring is one of my favourite times. The cautious peeking of new leaves, the first blackbird to sing in the large tree outside, the first truly warm sunny day after a long season of grey. Last week someone mowed their lawn and the scent of freshly cut grass blew through the house. Of course, living in a farming area means less savoury smells abound too, but these fade into the background as the glory of irisies, snowdrops and primroses tantalize my other senses.

Spring is the promise that life isn’t over.

Spring is the promise of new beginnings.

Spring is the promise of warmth.

Spring is the promise that no matter what winter harboured, there is hope.

What are your hopes, this Spring?


Spring in Switzerland



Spring in Switzerland
Think I can put the stroller away now…


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