Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Leaving Book: Update

For those asking on Twitter and Facebook, the book did indeed get signed.

Elder had a chat to the Head, who was baffled, and who over ruled the tit who had an issue with me and my family being not middle class enough for them  it (although the fact they were too lazy to do a book themselves, heard about it, then moaned says it all for their intelligence level frankly).

It did exactly what I wanted it to do, the book. It stopped Mini being as upset as she would have been had she not had some, absolutely lovely, messages from her closest mates to distract her. 

What I found sad was how few of anyone grown up actually said good bye or good luck, bar the few who have always just been damn normal human beings who chatted to us regardless. The type who don't look over your shoulder while they chat to you. The type who don't foist their opinions on you about stuff that has nothing to do with them.

The thing is, with that school, Mini has had it leave two types of mark on her. The first is very happy memories of her close pals, who she will undoubtedly miss, and who, via the medium of giving out our number to a chosen few, she and Littlest will hopefully still keep in contact with. She has passed exams, she is a clever kid, as is Littlest, despite being written off by a few who failed to look beyond his illnesses and his time off school. 

To be fair, exams don't fuss me at this age. They are hardly likely to go for an interview one day and have someone say that down to not passing an exam when they are six they can't follow their dreams. Exams, by design are more to see how good the teachers are teaching, not how clever my children are.

However, that said, the fact Littlest passed his phonics screening felt like a massive achievement for him, bearing in mind how at the beginning of the year, down to him being kept behind for months and thus being half a year behind his peers,(something we felt bullied into)  he was written off straight away and given books with no words despite being more than able to read and write at home.

The sad, and second mark Mini has is of being bullied and it falling on deaf ears.

This one child made not just her life hell but most of her class and a few in the other classes too. No matter how many times I tried to get others to go as a group to complain, no one else could be bothered. They were quick enough to sign up for making cakes and helping with trips, something which no doubt made them look good. It made me mad and baffled that women who would berate each other, and who were so competitive when it came to their kids, so forceful of them doing educational stuff, would happily allow one kid to make their lives appalling. Are their kids nothing but show off material to them?

I was thus on my own when it came to the battle to stop Mini coming home with bruises and scrapes and the damage it caused to her confidence. Even when not at school, she would bring the child involved up. And woe betide telling the school you wanted to speak to his dead behind the eyes Mother, apparently that was deemed unacceptable too.

I doubt its all schools, in fact I know its not, but sometimes I think certain parent's and their wishes outweigh others. Its such an outdated way to run things, were X child gets preferential treatment due to his Mum's involvement in the PTA, and Y child is over looked time and time again. It was the same with the Leavers assembly yesterday, same old faces doing the readings, rest of the kids may as well not exist. Maybe its a church school thing? I don't know!

It should be a case that each child and parent is treated on an equal footing, and I hope (and from spending time with the new school and the welcoming attitude received on Facebook on asking a local group what the school is like) that that is the new schools way.

It certainly wasn't that way at their old school, and I was far from the only, ignored by the staff and the snobs who felt they run things there, parent to voice anger at the running of the school.

That said, not everyone in our old town is a snotty idiot with too much time on their hands. We have some great mates we made over our time there. These are the people that made life bearable, the like minded people who liked us for who we were, not what they thought we were. 

You cannot at any point favour one over others, and I was never in the position of asking for that to happen. It was a sodding book, with about 8 pictures in, that made a 7 year old leaving everything she knows behind, happy.

And at the end of the day, what type of individual would deny that? 

***And in a rare move for me, comments are closed down to a persistent troll. Who will be reported to the necessary online people if need be **** 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Is It Just Me: Or Do Some School Gate Mums Need Reminding Its the Kids at School, Not the Parents?

This post should have a mammoth  gif that has a red alert warning on it. Unfortunately, I'm yet to manage the wonders of the gif so you'll have to picture it in your mind instead.

I make no apologies for ranting and possibly swearing in this post, so if you aren't keen on rants, look away now.

As you know, we have left Maiden-Snoot for good, and have gone off fourteen miles down t'road.No, they don't talk like farmers where we are but its homely and villagey and bohemian and nice. The t'road was meant to encompass that warm fuzzy feeling.

Unfortunately, despite everything else having moved, the school hasn't, and we're stuck driving (OK, Elder, stop pulling a face, you're stuck driving whilst I sit on my arse admiring the view) 28 miles twice a day to drop them off.

Its costing a bomb, and has caused nothing but grief as its not good for Littlest to be in a car and up early every day for long distances. Its not good for Elder's slipped disk either, and in this heat, its a bloody nuisance.

Regardless, Mini and Littlest want to make the most of being at the school as no doubt, come tomorrow at 2.15, I shall need a man sized box of snot rags due to the floods of tears both of them will be in, and their mates too.

You see, they have a lovely set of friends, who they have become quite close to. Sadly, despite the kids being lovely, and with a few exceptions, most of their Mums are ignorant, self important toads.

Yes, I've said it. Self important, snobbish, ignorant and condescending toads at that.

I don't have to see them after tomorrow, and I'm over the freaking moon at that. They have mostly gone out of their way to be ignorant to me, simply as they spoke to me a couple of times and then on realising I'm not an up my own arse, middle class bore with high up aspirations,  and that I wont be any good for social climbing, I was dismissed. Unless they wanted to up the quota to pay for their Christmas dinner. 

Oh, I've had snide looks, I know I've been chatted about. I know one of them, the leader, the Queen Bee (self appointed I may add) is on occasion downright nasty to my kids cos she can't stand me and I have, on occasion been forced to sarcastically respond the odd time she has deemed it necessary to grace me with an unwarranted opinion. Like telling Littlest we "over exaggerate" his allergies. 

The thing is, they can kiss me arse as I walk out the door.

I have no issue with lifeless twats like these. Frankly, I pity the sad unfulfilled lives they must lead that being some "Mum Army" of Mum-upmanship, and all dressing in gym kits (with various degrees of success) on the same day becomes the highlight of their lives. As for being a part of it, hell to the no my friends. I hate in blogging the types who are nice to everyone's face but love nothing more than bitching to all and sundry about everyone over private messages.

With this crew, they are so saccharine sweet to each other's faces, and nasty as sin behind each other's backs, it makes the mind boggle. Yes, because, get them on their own or in small groups away from the Queen Bee, and they can be OK to chat with. They do, however love to be as unkind and critical of each other behind each other's backs as they are no doubt about the likes of me out of ear shot.

I find it hilarious, but Queen Bee has gone too bloody far this time, and as a swipe against me, she is basically picking on Mini.

Out of the two, Mini is by far the most upset at losing her mates come September. So, I decided to make a memory book, of photos of her and her mates.

It took me a bit of time but it was worth it. I asked the school was it OK to come along to the Leavers Disco on Friday, and take some snaps. I was told they'd need to to ask the PTA (or the Parent's Talking out their Arse society as I shall now nickname it), and they'd ask them to let me know either way.

Except no one did. Queen Bee is part of it, but the leader is a very quiet woman, who went out of her way to avoid me even glancing at her and locking eyes.

So I thought, fuck it. I'm there Friday anyway to pick up Littlest, I shall just get me snaps and go.

Which I did, and lovely they were too. I didn't force anyone, Mini went over and grabbed who she wanted, which amounted to about 8 photos and off I went.

No one said anything from the little gang of that firm. 

I then tried to hand it, sneakily, to her lovely teacher yesterday to be told someone had complained that it wasn't fair on the other kids to do a book for Mini.

The thing is, the school hasn't done a book, they haven't bought it, paid for it or supplied the pictures. I have. I have made it, just as any other Mum or Dad could've made it for their kid. It wouldn't take up time, I was just giving it to the teacher so the few kids in it could write a little bye bye message. Most of her mates were in on it. Mini, however,was not, she thought that I was simply taking snaps as I always do.

So, who complained?

It's fairly obvious, and several of us normal parent's agree that, as usual, petty behaviour has come to the forefront of the school, unchecked.

The thing is, yes, all the kids in Year 2 are leaving the school. But 99% are going to the next school up the road, or one in Maidenhead. Mini is not. 

Elder did a sly rant to a Dad this morning in front of Queen Bee and apparently she couldn't look him in the eye. Only she would be petty and self important enough to pull that off. None of the other parents had an issue at all and according to the Head it didn't come from the school and they had no issue with it.

Thank God we got out of that god forsaken pit of a town. It makes Stepford look bloody normal.

What would you do readers?


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks School Attendance Nazi's Have Gone too Far?

School is important, that's a fact, and of course, missing days is a cause for concern. 

These days, all schools expect pupils to achieve a yearly average of 95% attendance. Such is the importance of this number, that new laws came into force last year to say that all absences must be worthy of the amount of time off from studies they cause.

However, what constitutes an authorised, and acceptable reason to be off school?

As usual, whereas many schools exercise sense and will allow pupils lee way for special circumstances, others are just taking the piss.

Take this story in the Mirror of 11 year old Maddie Stevens, who was banned from her schools end of year Leavers Dinner due to not having the prized 100% attendance (bearing in mind the government's 95% rule).

Why did Maddie miss out?  Did her parent's let her bunk off? Did they go on the much maligned and debated mid term holiday to cut costs?

No. 

She went to her Mother's funeral. In fact, Maddie had only that day off despite losing her Mum, as she wanted to be as normal as possible and get on with life. 

This isn't the first time a child or family have been demonised and held up as poor examples of parenting over a funeral or spending time with a dying loved one. In recent months stories have appeared in newspapers of parent's taken to court and given a criminal record and massive fines for taking time out for family who are dying or their funerals.

Yes, there needs to be less time off for frivolous reasons, but there also needs to be a line drawn under what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable absence.

The other issue is children like Littlest, who have lots of time off at different times of the year due to illness. We nearly incurred the wrath of the Education people in January. I had to justify why Littlest is absent a lot between October and April. To someone I had never met and who had seen Littlest on a list and had then decided to treat me like a criminal, demanding a meeting without even a nod to his illnesses at all.

Yes, I was angry, and frankly I felt like the school had let us all down as they have always been told and given letters from his consultants to prove what we say. 

Even now, a letter came home last week suggesting the school is now looking through everyone's attendance ad should they decide a fine and court date will be winging its way in due course. No doubt that will be in my letterbox soon as there seems to be no full guidelines regards situations such as Littlest's.

At the moment, we travel 28 miles twice a day to get to school and back, but that will cut no slack.

I say stick to kids whose parent's can't be bothered to get them up and out and who value an easy life over their kids future. And don't even get me started on the double standards of Teacher strikes or those who disappear on holiday themselves.

To my mind, in a time when school's are having their budgets cut, these "any excuse to fine is valid" attitude of some authorities makes school fines the education version of the speed camera. Where does this money go? Why is there no legislation so every school has the same rules?

Yes, education is the foundations of the rest of the child's life. But please, before you bring in sweeping change, work out who really needs the swift kick up the arse of a fine and leave those like Maddie alone.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Go On A Bear Hunt and Break a Record for RNIB

I love Michael Rosen, and in fact I'm now trying to pass on my childhood love of him to both the Brats. Michael was one of my writing heroes and influences as a kid and Going on a Bear Hunt, co written with Helen Oxenbury, was always a particular favorite.


Its staggering to hear but its now 25 years since Michael and Helen published the ever popular verse- I know right, does that make you feel as old as me?
To celebrate, Michael and the publishers of the story Walker Books is linking up with the RNIB to try and break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Reading Lesson on the 15th July.
If you'd like to join in and help, you can donate some much needed funds to this worthwhile cause, and of course you can join in too, right from this blog!
Its definitely something I will be watching and reading to my kids as always- the best ones are always the oldies!
To watch, either go to http://www.jointhebearhunt.com/RNIB, or you can pop back here on Tuesday from 10am as I'm streaming the live feed.

Remember to tweet using the hashtag #Bearhunt, and check out whether there is a live read along in your area, and of course, the read along is fully accessible to blind and hard of hearing fans too.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Camping and Festivals With Kids: What You Need, What You Don't And How to Enjoy it!



As you may know, our mad family have been asked to be Camp Bestival Bloggers this year. It means I'm starting to think about what we need for the time we're away, what we've brought before and then didn't need, and what to do so everyone has a grand old time. So, maybe its your first time camping or going to a festival, with or without kids, and you're not sure what you need? Read on and find out my top tips:

CLOTHES- What to bring, what to ditch
As Elder has already started to remind me the minute I started looking at eBay for my Festival Wardrobe, less is more, especially where a festival is concerned.

I have made the error before of bringing a massive suitcase full of stuff, which for the main part just gets left to crumple.

For us Mums, I recommend a good pair of boots or wellies, plus some flat flip flops or ballet flats which are comfy and don't take much room. The boots are handy if it rains, and also, on the loo run in the night so you don't step on a bit of rubbish in the dark, or the grass is wet.
I also swear by a maxi dress, a t-shirt or vest, shorts (if you're brave), OR one pair of jeans,and undies of course. Its definitely comfort that is all important.

For Dads, its a pair of trainers Elder swears by (just don't make the mistake he did several years back of wearing canvas ones. Leather is best for all weathers). A pair of jeans, a pair of shorts and a couple of t-shirts, with a hoodie optional of course.

For kids, bring a onesie- they are great for watching night time concerts as they can be worn with wellies, and then when they get tired you just tuck them in to bed without the fuss of getting changed. For Mini and Littlest, I bring a mix of shorts, jeans and tops, as well as something warm to put over the top.

Its advisable to bring a light waterproof jacket too, it can be chilly in the morning, and if in the UK you can never rely on the weather being sunny.

Forget having too much stuff, pieces that can be mixed and matched over the weekend are great, don't bother with fancy clothes that you'd rather not ruin with mud. And remember, most campsites now have washing facilities for as little as £2 a wash, so you can always give things a launder.

TENT
Before setting off with a tent you haven't used since you trekked round Europe in your gap year in 1995, put it up and check for leaks, holes and broken zips. There's nothing worse than turning up, setting up and realising your tent is ready for a bin, not a family of expectant campers.
Also, make sure you have all the pegs, poles and tags you need- or you could end up having to buy a tent at short notice for much more.
If you find any bits missing, you can always replace them cheaply on eBay.

Bring some colouring books for rainy days
If you are a new camper, don't buy a tent on anything other than how easy it is to put up. If you have never had to grapple with cross poles, and zips, and Velcro, get a recommendation from previous buyers on line for ease of use. Also, don't let price concern you- sometimes, the cheaper tents have less fiddly bits and are serviceable. Our tent has about four poles, but it also has a sleeping area and a living room too, and is big enough to fit us all in comfortably.

ACCESSORIES
Do not do what we did the first time we went to Camp Bestival. We had no car then, so used a shopping trolley (minus the basket) for the tent and everything else went on the back of Littlest's buggy. Thus, we had nothing to cook on.

Food at festivals is not cheap. You are stuck there for several days and they know it. So, bring something to cook on, even if its a number of disposable barbecues. You can easily buy a purse friendly little gas stove from eBay. We even have collapsible pots and pans, and we take a rucksack that doubles as a picnic set.
We bring selection boxes for the kids breakfast,  3 in 1 coffee tubes, lots of tins of hot dogs, meatballs, corned beef, and beans, as well as pasta and bacon too.

A torch is a must for night time tent finding missions, make sure you try the batteries before you leave.

You can bring an air bed, we only bring a double one which is big enough for the Brats, but remember to bring a pump if you do. Otherwise, sleeping bags are essential and you can bring a foam bed roll, which doesn't take up much room but saves your back!

TECH
If you really can't be parted from some form of 21st century civilisation, or you are bringing a camera, its worth checking whether the festival you are off to has any charging stations. Some more modern campsites now have free wifi, but it can be sporadic depending on how many other people are trying to log on.

We find an in car charger a must have for phones, these are generally available in Poundshops now and you can get one with several adaptors to suit different phones. Most festivals wont have electric hook up (whereas campsites do but will charge extra for your pitch), and you can't park the car besides the tent, but in the case of Camp Bestival, the main music doesn't kick off until midday. That means you may have time to fill beforehand if your kids still wake up at 7am like mine.
A quick hour back at your car wont hurt- take it in turns to do the honours of charging.

For cameras, take a few extra SD cards as they soon get filled. Just look after them when you remove them, perhaps put them in the glove box?

DON'T LEAVE TECH OR OTHER ITEMS ON SHOW. Yes, you're at a campsite, its all friendly but sadly thieves can and will pinch anything if they have the chance. Just as you would when visiting your local shopping centre or parking outside your house, leave it on show, expect it to go. 

COSTUMES
Overall, have a good time, make sure you bring plenty of spending money, try and see as many attractions as possible and join in with some of the crowd based circus acts and art.

If there is a theme (Camp Bestival's theme is Circus), then you don't have to join in, but believe me its fun! In 2010, we dressed as fairies and had a right laugh. Getting your costume sorted early will save your pounds, but, should you catch the costume bug late, there are plenty of stalls offering a plethora of items for all budgets.

THE ACTS: How to Catch Them Live
Do not make the mistake we made at our first Camp Bestival. We wanted to see Madness, the headline act. We had brought plenty of drinks for the kids. We had a buggy cover so Littlest could snooze. We were right at the front for the acts before. And then we decided to go and get something to eat and stretch our legs. 

Massive festival fail.

Headline acts are headline acts for a reason, and the crowds will appear out of nowhere. We ended up trying to get back into the crowd, and got so far before giving up. It meant I had a lovely walk back to the tent, whilst Elder- keen to see his boyhood heroes, dove back into the throng. Make sure to get there early, get a space, and stick to it. If one of you or the kids need the loo, don't all go together. Remember landmarks so you can plot your way back too. 

Are you off camping or to a festival for the first time? Or are you seasoned camper? Spotted anything missing above? Then comment below!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Britmums Live: Wine, Women and What a Lot of Laughs

I want to start by just saying a massive, huge thanks to the wonder-women team that is Susanna, Jen and the rest of the Britmums Team. Wow ladies- I find it hard enough to keep up a blog and twitter feed, let alone sort out a 700 people plus brands and PRs mega conference.

For anyone who had any negatives last year- they smashed it this year. Its a sign of the respect they have for members and ticket buyers that they listened and brought us a conference which, and with knowledge stemming from every one that's gone before from being there I can say this, will be monumentally hard to beat by anyone else.

It was kind of a "yeah, we know there are newbie blog events out there, but we own this shit people", seriously, I know Susanna and Jen wouldn't put it that way as they are far too polite but you could smell in the air the happiness and accomplishment (or they may have been the wine. Possibly).

So, to the event.

If I met you there, it was fun, and I hope to see you here on the blog and at events (feel free to comment, but remember as the divine Ms Cherry Menlove, Mel and Rachel said, comments are not everything).

If I was hopeless and walked past you like a tit- sorry! I do it every year, and every time after, I have people saying "oh I missed you, I did see you but you didn't see me" and I feel terrible!

The conference timetable was pitched perfectly, there was stuff for newbies, there was stuff for intermediates even I, after 8 years of blogging actually learnt something- in fact, I learnt loads! When you've been around as long as I have, you kind of think you know everything. But social media changes rapidly and clearly, Britmums knows this as I am now full of ideas of how to ramp up my channels and make them better.

Kudos to Emma Freud from one of the funniest and most honest Keynote addresses I have ever heard. She was self depreciating, she admitted to not being a fan of the Daily Fail, and of being a bit naughty to snag her hubbie (who honoured us with his presence) and her long suffering friends to join in with Comic Relief daring endeavours. She was a riot and I would love to wake up to one of her speeches at least once a week as an affirmation that we womenfolk are bloody ace, even with crowns and dresses the Daily Fail don't like.

The mixture of emotionally charged speakers versus good old fashioned belly laughs were spot on. If you weren't there, you need to go Google "Good Enough Mums Club" right now. For anyone who has a vagina basically where a child has appeared from (sorry tmi), its the play you need in your life right now. Witty, funny, well written and seriously well observed comedy at its best, I was itching for them to carry on and do the whole play but alas we got the first scene and a bit of act two to whet our appetites. I need to see the rest sharpish.

Talking of whetting ones appetite. Lindemans. You lot hate me don't you?

I was so monumentally hung over on Saturday that for some reason at the ungodly hour of 5am I Instagrammed a very different "I woke up like this". I looked like I had been run over repeatedly. I felt like death warmed up and then cooled down again. If I scared anyone with my appearance, then blame Lindemans frankly. I know I cannot drink wine, but if you stuff a glass or bottle under my nose and call it a freebie, I am going to dive in. I took me until yesterday to feel human again- I swear I could have auditioned for In The Flesh I looked so like the undead.

All in all, a wonderful event full of info, friends, drinks, giggles and lovely new contacts that I didn't want to go home from. I am so on it trying to get a sponsor already for next year.

See you there guys x

Friday, 20 June 2014

Having some fun with bingo videos and a key in the door (or not!)*

We've all had those days when things don’t quite go to plan. You try and try … but something just isn’t quite right. Even something as simple as opening a bag of crisps or unlocking your front door can prove problematic and, despite what you might think, it’s not a problem exclusive to you.

In fact, this little bingo video gave me all the proof I needed that it’s not just me who struggled with everyday tasks now and again – and the infectious smile and laughter of the clip really got me feeling more positive about things.



The video itself is part of an ongoing campaign which will show 90 bingo calls in 90 videos. The clip above (with the now famously difficult door) was for call number 21: key in the door and is part of the campaign’s overall aim to teach us a little more about the bingo lingo.

If I'm honest, I didn't realise there were so many different calls and stupidly thought it only applied to certain numbers (basically the ones you always seem to hear shouted). Actually, there is a whole world of bingo calls out there to discover and with the help of Costa Bingo and their great little clips I intend to brush up on my knowledge.

Of the 90 videos, a number are already live on YouTube with the rest to be published over the next 5 weeks so why don’t you take a look and join me in my quest to get to grips with all things bingo?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

BritMums Live Is Tomorrow- Yippee!

Calm down dears its Britmums Live tomorrow.

I am looking forward to seeing most of you there, and hopefully some of you will even pop along for the pre-meet up. 

The Annual Meet Up has gotten so big now we've had to move across the road to All Bar One, right opposite its previous place ofStarbucks, at the end of Chiswell Street. We will be there from around 12.30, so pop in and say hi (and for the teetotal amongst you, its OK they serve coffee and tea, we're not going to get you drunk by force. Unless you ask us to).

Here's how you get from Moorgate tube to the event and to the Brewery (*if you click it it gets bigger):


Here is what All Bar One looks like:



Its on City Road, or Frinsbury Pavement as its also called. Its opposite Starbucks and Natwest bank, and there are traffic crossings right outside. There, even I can find that, and I currently need a sat nav to find my way home from the local shops. 

For those asking, mine's a Gin and Tonic. Hic.

To the event itself, I am so excited. I don't get to be Claire again very often, I am her indoors who gets a shrug unless proffering food or beer, and Mum (or MUMMMMMYYYYY! Eddie is annoying me!), so going to Britmums is an excuse to have adult conversations with people who don't glaze over when I chat about Blogging.

I have my business cards ready (designed by Mini- that's how easy Moo Cards are to make), I have my bag packed and my clothes picked (no dresses this year, unless I can attach myself to the Coca Cola lot and procure a free posh lunch), and my hair dyed to not scare you all with my grey.

Come find me, I am not scary and don't rant in public about anything other than the Tories or UKIP (best not to mention them actually), I will be wearing dark jeans, a black sequin top and a funky kimono jacket thing which is a total Chinese rip off of Zara (shhhh).

Have fun, take a deep breath, and enjoy it. You will get so much from this weekend whether you've been before or not.

See you there guys x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Is It Just Me: Or Is New Technology a Gigantic Bloody Faff?

I am off to Britmums Live on Friday. Yay! Yippee! (and thanks Harper Collins, my amazingly nice and lovely sponsors- go sign up on the badge guys!)

We, and by we I mean myself and my little group of girls, are broke. In different degrees, of course, but we have a lack of funds between us for one reason or another. So, I thought, lets load up my iPod and bring my mini dock and possibly have a little drink in the hotel after Fridays awards.

Which meant I had to redo my whole iPod as the Evil Genius boy decided to bugger it, again. In fact, what happened was he decided to disable wireless on the laptop just before the kick off of the England game on Saturday, when we could only stream it as the scaffolding was still up and it had knobbled the Signal to the Sky. Hence, Elder tried, between 10pm and 3.30pm Sunday to make it work again, reloading the whole of Windows, Toshiba and anything else. After all, a laptop is not great if you need to connect it to the broadband without wireless.

It turned out to be a switch on the front. Which I found in five minutes after he had gone for a break to the shop.

I spent 2 hours earlier with the external hard drive on, copy and pasting songs to my Music folder and to iTunes. 

I had to download some tunes as there was new stuff I wanted on there too.

I then had to wipe the iPod- what is with that? Having to wipe the bloody thing every time you need to sync it? If there's a way to do this without wiping it I'd love to know it.

I've done it before though, so I thought it'd be very easy and happily all my tunes would be on my iPod all shiny and new.

Nope, they wouldn't.

I got an error message. And only Blurred Lines was on the whole 4gb of iPod.

Now, I like Blurred Lines. Its a song before anyone gets all feminist and moans about it being anti women and wrong. I am aware of hysteria about it, and that Robin Thicke is a bit sleazy. But to me, its a song.

I do not, however, want to listen to it and nothing else.

I swore at the cursed iPod. That didn't work. I threatened it that I would stamp on it. That didn't work either.

Which got me thinking- modern tech is a pain in the bloody arse actually.

What was wrong with a walkman and copious tapes? I cannot record off the radio onto an iPod. I cannot give it a new battery without requiring a professional who will charge me more than the thing is worth after a year. I cannot funk it up with stickers from Smash Hits magazine.

I have so much shit with tech, I almost delete my whole entire blog at least twice a year, just by trying to tweak it or download it to back it up.

And swearing at it makes no odds either. If you threw a Sony walkman, it survived. If I throw my phone, it would smash and die, as would my blasted iPod.

I finally managed to put 257 songs on it. It means I will not do it again until forced to. It took me a year to bother this time. 

With tapes, you knew were you were. There were no flac files to convert to mp3, just Simon Mayo to intertwine with a Take That album track. The only problem was the battery. And you knew when that was on its last legs as everyone singing sounded mildly pissed.

Bring back the tape and burn your iPod.

You'll feel so much better if you do.