Monthly Archives: May 2013

When the night comes falling


At 7.30pm the siren sounded sending the childers into a nervous state of excitement; screeching with delight they all ran into the bathroom which isn’t exactly the safe room but it was where I was, bathing their sister.  Daddy came in too and little brother was shouting ‘emergency, emergency’.  No. 1 son was busy explaining that it was an exercise and that we all had to make sure we were together and in a safe place, he’d been through it earlier in a more orderly fashion when the alarm had sounded at lunchtime at nursery.  Daddy did a roll call, ‘here’ and when it was quiet they all trooped out and carried on as if nothing had happened.  Nothing had happened, it was a practice.  But it shakes me every time, what if, what if, what if.

Something else had been shaken and awoken in the garden and as night fell, the childers safely tucked up and snoring, I heard rustling in the dry leaves in the garden.  The neighbourhood cats often prowl in the garden, they drink from the paddling pool and pop it so I looked out to see if I could see it to shoo it away.  No cat.  But movement.  In the trees, in the fallen leaves.  A movement caught my eye, a crazed cockroach, the length of my finger running up and down the tree trunk. Euyuk.  The rustling was getting louder and was coming from further down the garden so being the hero I am, I sent husband to investigate.  Even he was horrified as he came upon a large group of large cockroaches all running up and down tree trunks, flying (yes, some can fly) between low branches and running through the dead leaves.  These cockroaches are like something from Indiana Jones, very fast-moving, giant with enormous antenna.  In short, they are revolting and their speed just adds to their repulsiveness.


Husband quickly shut the fly net doors which thank goodness all our windows and doors are fitted with and turned on the outdoor lights so I could behold the spectacle.  Vomit.  Just vile.  Where did they all come from and why were they in that one patch of garden?  It was like they were on speed and having one big rave in a patch of my garden.  Husband went around the whole house closing every window, blocking the space under the front door and plugging the sinks and baths (just in case) and then we went to bed. One ear cocked for a rustle.

We’ve had a history of cockroaches in this house.  When we moved in I was pregnant with the twins and we were advised not to get the exterminator in to spray the house as the chemicals used were dangerous for the babies.  The odd night-time visitor was horrible, but better a cockroach than harming the babies.  The babies arrived late summer and as they were so tiny we again decided not to spray and risk the babies’ health.  One afternoon we went out leaving our bedroom window open, there was a hole in the net.  As I climbed into bed one ran across the sheets, and these buggers can really run. Emitting a strange deep-throated yelp I ran from the room while husband chased it with a shoe.  Hysterical – I was 4 weeks post birth and the babies were asleep in their cribs in the bedroom – I was eventually persuaded it had been destroyed and it was safe to go back.  ‘It could have been worse’ I said, ‘it could have been in one of the babies’ cribs’, famous last words as I spotted a waving antenna from underneath a cuddly sitting on the top of the crib. Horror.  After the monster had been flicked to the floor I wheeled the 2 cribs out of the room and listened as husband whacked the floor with a shoe, swore ‘another one’, ‘another one’.  We were infested.  I sat sobbing on the sofa with my Mum who was over to help, incredulous that the babies and our 2-year-old were still sleeping and vowing to leave the house and Israel and anywhere with warm weather at the first opportunity.

The following year with the net fixed and the kids and I away the exterminator came in and sprayed.  Our indoors visitors are now a rarity.  He pointed out that the date palms and banana plants in the garden were prime cockroach territory.  Put me off bananas that’s for sure.

incident site - innocent site come the morning

incident site – innocent site come the morning

And so the mystery remains.  What awoke the creatures last night? What did they like so much about that part of my garden? Were they taking part in their own air raid exercise?  Where are they now and will they return tonight?  It may be cold and rainy in the UK but at least the bugs aren’t monster sized.   Sweet dreams everyone.


A Tale of Two Bootcamps



We are a house in recovery, I am recovering from my first sports injury, my husband is recovering from a gruelling week in the army and the children are re-adjusting to having daddy back home. I would say that I far prefer my bootcamp to hubby’s.

Mummy bootcamp.  So to the injury, not only is it my first injury it’s also from the first bit of sport I have done, in my life, ever.  Unless you count a small dalliance with popmobility (how 90s) at university, I have never been one for sports, exercise and perish the thought exercise classes.  PE lessons at school were dreaded and consisted of perishing on a Northern England all-weather pitch with a hockey stick – not sure why it was called all-weather because as I recall there was only one kind of weather; cold, rainy and sometimes snow.

Having struck 40 I thought it high time to bite the bullet and try to exercise my sagging limbs and even saggier stomach (carrying twins for 9 months has left me somewhat in credit on the stomach skin front).  So off I trotted (having toyed with the idea for 6 months) to bootcamp.  Twice a week. For an hour.  Every week.   To say I was petrified before lesson one is an understatement.  I did warn the instructor that I wasn’t concerned about being slow, I was more worried that they may have to take me home by ambulance.  Luckily 2 months in I have survived, so far, and dare I say I enjoy it.  Shock horror.  Have I missed a trick for the last 20 years?  Could I be an athlete disguised for the last 20 years as a lay-about?  Probably not, but I am not as crap at it as I had imagined and yes I really do actually like it.

Due to my inexperience in the world of exercise I quickly sustained my first injury due to my trainers, ill-suited to the rigours of bootcamp.  It came as quite a revelation to uninitiated me that there were different shoes for different types of running…hmmm.  Equipped with a new pair bought at great expense to the management from a store that filmed the backs of my feet running on a treadmill – yes really – I am quickly recovering and awaiting the arrival of muscles.

Daddy bootcamp.  Now this is the real deal.  Every year for a few days , weeks and sometimes a month the young men of Israel are summoned back to the army to train and serve as reservists.  I say young but it rather depends on what you call young, for some this holiday/ordeal/bootcamp goes on til age 45 and for some, beyond.  In my husband’s case it’s until age 45.  This past week his unit has been walking up and down hills carrying 40 kilos in the boiling heat, hiding in bushes, orienteering and generally practising for something  I would rather not think about.  Like his dearly beloved (that’s me), hubby is no sportsman.  He likes sport, if he can watch it on the TV and when I say sport I am talking every sport from rugby to basketball, darts and snooker to bull riding (yes really), but like yours truly he doesn’t take part, not recently anyway.  I should add (to keep him sweet) that he does work 6 days a week and is on his feet for 99% of the time so the opportunity (time) to play is limited.  Take this into account and you can see that army training for him is all the more gruelling.  No sleep for 3 days and hiking through the mountains must certainly put his non too active body through its paces.  He is not alone of course, most men in combat units do it to keep them battle-ready.  Sad really that it is necessary.

Now he is home and the kids and I are getting used to him being back.  He is full of thorns and blisters but seems chirpy enough, I do believe he quite enjoys it .  No doubt like me he is happy that he completes it without too much ill effect, possibly he is as surprised by his physical prowess as I am by my own (prowess is perhaps pushing it).  His next bootcamp is a few months off, mine continues as I endeavour to train my  lazy limbs.  Can’t wait to see what I’ll look like when, for the first time since I was around 15, I can say I am 100% physically fit.  Here’s hoping.


If you are based in or around Tel Aviv and fancy a go at bootcamp visit

Though you may be far away, we think of you



Granny and Grandpa magically arrive on an enormous aeroplane, we get to screech and jump on them at the arrivals hall of the airport and they bring presents.  Lots of presents.

Kitted out in our new clothes we listen to them reading us the new books (in English), play with the new toys and slowly but surely weave our magic grandchildren charm on them so that they are soon unable to deny us an ice cream or a pair of shoulders to sit on when our legs get tired.

At bath time they take it in turns to get a soaking, Mummy doesn’t let us throw buckets of water out of the bath but surely Grandpa won’t mind.

Their bark is far quieter than Mummy’s during a bit of good-humoured food throwing at dinner time .

At bedtime we fight over who gets to read us a story and have been known to manipulate an extra bedtime cuddle.

Grandpa knows all about gardening and space telescopes.  He’s funny and he always draws brilliant pictures on the etch a sketch.

Granny plays picnics and drinks special tea from pink cups.  She says she is stuck when she sits on the floor and Mummy has to come to help her up.

When Granny and Grandpa come we don’t go to nursery.  We go on trips to the beach or to lakes and waterfalls.  Every day is special treat day and an ice lolly is part of the schedule.

It’s extra nice for Mummy when Granny and Grandpa come.  She doesn’t have to do everything in the house.  Granny is always doing the washing and Grandpa brings her gin which tastes horrible but she likes it.

Granny and Mummy are always talking and sometimes we have to really shout so they shut up and listen to us.  Grandpa likes us shouting, he says he can hear us when he can’t hear everyone else.

Mummy says that one day we will all go to England to visit Granny and Grandpa.  We’d like that because we can’t really remember our last trip.  Daddy says they have horses in their back garden and a canal at the end of the road.

By the end of a visit we get a bit confused. Mummy gets sad and when we wake up in the morning we can’t find Granny and Grandpa. We see them on the computer but we don’t really like talking to them like that.

We like to tell people that Granny and Grandpa went on a big plane to England but really we’d like it more if they could go home by car and then we could drive to see them at their house all the time, then maybe Mummy wouldn’t be so sad when they leave.




Remember this?

Run with the dogs tonight


By the time you reach the grand old age of 40, have children, a family car and some kind of pet you will probably also find yourself living in suburbia.

No, you initially won’t want to, you prefer the bright lights of the city or the simple living of the remote countryside but there’s a good chance that your work, the schools, the kid’s friends, your extended family are all there, in suburbia.

So kicking and screaming or just with a sigh of resignation that’s where you will find yourself.  You will actually quite like it.  It’s easy.  Everyone is like you, or at least in your time of life, in your situation, in suburbia.

The parks are handy, there’s a local leisure centre to start the kids on their way to Olympic success, the after school activities and neighbours willing to take in your kids and keep an eye out for them makes you feel safe.

In suburbia there are teenagers, toddlers and tweens, lots of babies, a few old folk and some young marrieds, if you are single you are probably divorced or in the process, anyway you have kids so silly to move back to a city. Better to be in suburbia.

If you’re lucky during a holiday you may spot some 20 somethings but they make you feel old.  When they aren’t around you can pretend you are still young, fashionable, slim, not living in suburbia.

You may occasionally venture into the city but usually during the day, rarely at night when you will have to be back by midnight, driving. When you do go to the city at night you are shocked by the diverse mix of humanity that you haven’t seen for so long now you live in suburbia.

But it’s quite good to be home at midnight, sober.  You don’t need to look for an hour for parking, no-one’s been sick on your doorstep, there is quiet, a distant cry of a baby, perhaps a toot of an owl.  Your family is safely tucked up in bed and you will realise that at this point in life you don’t really mind living there, in suburbia.

Roll up for the mystery tour


It’s that time again when I am about to expose myself, my lack of knowledge and my inability to retain information. It’s time to take a trip north with overseas visitors. These visitors are not 1st timers so I can’t use my usual trick of talking a lot and saying very little, they are also more likely to catch me out in a white lie. These visitors are my parents and next week we will be going back to their favourite part of Israel, the Galilee.IMG_0620

I can wholly rely on husband’s knowledge of all things geographical, historical and social on our trip but when we get to the Christian sites,of which there are a lot in that part of Israel, he always turns to me.

I am not a religious person, if you had to put a label on it (me) I am Christian. I would like to think I am spiritual but I’m not convinced that I can even award myself that title. As a child I went to Sunday school at the local Methodist church because my Mum was religious and my Dad, a staunch agnostic, needed the peace on a Sunday morning. I have the children’s Bibles to prove I attended but can I remember more than a short smattering of the scriptures? Ummm no. In fact now that I live in the Holy Land it’s shamefully obvious how little I have remembered.

Back at the beginning of my life here I worked for a music promoter; when the bands from the States and the UK flew in, generally with a lot of very anti-Israel ideas, I was their whipping boy and one girl PR show for the positive Israel experience. I was the worst person for the PR role as I have my own love hate relationship with the country. Part of my role, when I wasn’t providing spoilt ‘rock stars’ with their every desire (my lips are sealed) was going on a lot of tours in mini buses with stoned/hungover/bored musicians. As you know from previous posts, Israel is an incredible place of natural beauty so it’s not difficult to impress but when we got to the religious sites I let my explorers down, luckily those who were awake/sober enough to listen were way more clued up than I.

Let’s just take for a moment the Christian sites, supposedly something I should IMG_0618have a vague clue about: I would take my Lonely Planet (not terribly informative religion wise) with me on all trips and surreptitiously read it on the bus. I deflected questions until we had our proper guide with us. Once I famously took a visitor to the many churches on the shores of The Sea of Galilee on Easter Sunday and couldn’t understand why they were all shut. Ignorance is too high a compliment. Maybe my goldfish sized memory is partly to blame. After so many tours and trips, having taken every visiting family member, friend, work colleague over an eight year period I should have ingested some of the knowledge. It’s in there somewhere.

So I have a weekend to get revising and try to link the places I know with the stories that I knew at 8. Site seeing is way more enjoyable if you actually have an idea what site you are looking at. If I don’t manage it I apologise in advance Ma and Pa, perhaps you should get googling.