Mr. Mhor Constructs A Love Seat

Further to Mr. Mhor’s plans for dealing with the Apocalypse, he decided to purchase a self-assembly love seat to enhance the Mhors’ experience in their garden whilst isolating themselves.

It arrived as a flat-pack, with the usual instructions in Serbo-Croat, and I was bewildered by the number of component parts within the parcel.

Mr. Mhor looked gleefully at this conglomeration of wood, screws and odd parts which did not seem to match anything on the instruction sheet. I did say to him that I had never succeeded in putting together any flat-pack furniture. He waved me away.

In fact I may have reminded him of the time when I assembled out first baby’s cot bed, nearly forty years ago, on my own.

I never did find Cross-Dowel H.


All of yesterday evening, Mhor Cottage was covered in screws, nuts, bolts, pieces of wood and an English/Serbo-Croat dictionary.

I left Mr. Mhor to it. No good even comes of wives challenging their husbands when they are trying to assemble furniture.

This morning Mr. Mhor triumphantly announced that the Love Seat was in the garden, and that he predicted it would take the cats five minutes to pick a side each, so that they could languish in the sun.

It was also very useful for there to be a table in the middle of the love-seat, so that supplies of beer and sherry could be placed upon it.

I look intently at the love-seat and eventually uttered the immortal words, “Why is there an obvious word on the middle bit of the table?”

Mr. Mhor gave the Mustress a hard stare.

He had managed to construct the love-seat so that the manufacturer’s logo was clearly visible on the front. In other words, one of the panels was the wrong way round.

Muttering and in a fine temper, Mr. Mhor went out to the garden to rectify this undoubted error. Presumably this would take a further twenty four hours.

The Mustress went to the kitchen and started the dinner. Sometimes it is best not to labour a particular point.

The Robbing Butcher Acquires A Rival

Today, Mr. Mhor and I went to the village fifteen miles away, to collect a parcel.

The Robbing Butcher was shut as we drove past his shop. The Mustress thought she could see his silhouette at the back of his storeroom, but maybe this was paranoia. Surely the RB does not spend his entire day working out where the Mustress has got to?

Mr. Mhor had announced that stocks of Stornoway black pudding were seriously depleted at Mhor Cottage. The Mustress pursed her lips and sent several very hard stares in the general direction of the Robbing Butcher’s shop. If he would stay open for more than five minutes a day (or more than two days a week) it would not be a problem.


On arrival at Village X, the Mustress made the brave decision to try out the produce of their Robbing Butcher. This would teach her own RB to stay open a little more often and he would also lose custom.


Village X’s Robbing Butcher turned out to be a Robbing Butcher With A Vengeance. He charged nearly twice as much as our usual RB.


Mr. Mhor fainted when the Mustress told him how much of the Mhors’ savings had been expended in the Rival Robbing Butcher’s shop.

When he came to, Mr. Mhor suggested to the Mustress that their own RB might have spotted the Mhors’ car leaving the village and could have warned his colleague in Village X that they might attend his shop.

It seems quite likely, really. A Win – Win for both Robbing Butchers. Possibly the Rival Robbing Butcher was going to share his booty with the Mhors’ Robbing Butcher.

The Mustress will update this blog asap, once the Mhors have sampled the Rival RB’s goods.

He did not have circular square sausage, either. Surely the manufacture of circular square sausage is essential if one if going to set up as a butcher, robbing or otherwise?

You would think so.

The Mustress Narrowly Avoids A Confrontation with The Robbing Butcher

Mr. Mhor received a nice, shiny new debit card the other day, so I sallied forth with it immediately, to the Robbing Butcher’s shop.

I was convinced that he would be open, so inevitably, he was shut.

Nothing loath, I went into the Co – Op and filled my basket with bacon, square sausage, haggis, black pudding and eggs. The Robbing Butcher might be closed, but the Mhors still need to eat.

I approached the Self-Checkout facility, scanned my items and then had a terrible shock when I tried to pay using the contactless method.

Mr. Mhor’s debit card was refused.

The shame. The embarrassment. Thank goodness this had not occurred in the RB’s shop.

However – I took a deep breath and re-evaluated the situation. All the Mhors are outstandingly brave and inventive and it was only a moment later that the solution suggested itself.

I made sure no-one was looking, then I paid for the Mhors’ breakfast with our accumulated Co -Op Saver points.

When I told Mr. Mhor what had happened he almost fainted. Cue a telephone call to the bank, during which Mr. Mhor made several opprobrious remarks.

It turned out that when one has a new contactless card, it is essential to use it for the first time in a chip and pin transaction.

Imagine, said Mr. Mhor, if the Robbing Butcher had been open today (as his sign says) and not shut (which is what happens when he is trying to confuse the Mustress.)

It would have been all over the village in a couple of hours. The Mhors would have been a laughing stock.


Mr. Mhor Has a Plan for Dealing with the Apocalypse

Donning his Dressing Gown of Doom, Mr. Mhor today pontificated about his plans in relation to preparing for lockdown. Essentially, he thought everything would be fine as long as the Mustress made arrangements to obtain the following:

Beer, tobacco, barbed wire, a hammock and a wooden bench.

I had a feeling that he shared this list with me because he is so technologically challenged that he does not even know how to turn on the laptop. It would therefore fall to his very excellent wife to obtain sufficient supplies.

I queried the inclusion of barbed wire on the list. Mr. Mhor alleged that his intention was to put it on the top of our garden wall, so that marauders would not be able to access the garden, and by implication, his supply of beer and tobacco.

Obviously the hammock and wooden bench were to provide a comfortable little corner for himself in the garden.

The beer was regarded by Mr. Mhor as an unequivocally essential item, and although I did not entirely agree, I said nothing, since I would only have to tell him that there had been an administrative error in the ordering system if it failed to arrive. He would never know, after all.

I could even tell him that it had got lost in the post. Or that the country had run out of beer. It would come to the same thing in the end.

I confess that I knew it would be futile if I tried to make objections to the tobacco. Mr. Mhor has smoked for over forty years and says it keeps him young.

So – to recap – the Mustress Mhor has to get busy online and obtain everything except for the beer.

It occurred to me that I could always put in a devious, bulk order for sherry while I was about it.

Now that really would be a useful addition to my stock cupboard.

Mr. Mhor Makes a Startling Claim

Mr. Mhor once fell off a wall and broke his leg (as discussed in a previous post) and made it clear that he considered gardening to be a new and untried method of healing fractures.

This seemed highly unlikely to me but I did tell him to posit this theory to an orthopaedic surgeon and thus make their respective fortunes, assuming he was correct, and the usual medical advice to rest and elevate fractured limbs was wrong.


Mr. Mhor spent an inordinate amount of time in the garden. Whether he was trying to prove his theory or whether he was avoiding doing his share of the housework, I do not know, but the fact remains that he was in the garden all day long, even taking his meals outside.

He hobbled in on his crutches one evening and informed me that he had moved a magnolia bush. Or maybe it was a bed of marigolds. Whatever. I am not well-versed in gardening terminology and quite frankly I wasn’t terribly interested.

Mr. Mhor knows this, but he pretends he doesn’t. He is forever asking me difficult questions about the garden, such as “Do you remember when we had some sweet-scented stocks over there” and “Have you seen my hoe” when he knows full well that I have no idea what he is talking about.

So. He had moved a bush/plant/shrub to a different location. I think he was hoping that I would ask him why he had done this, but I carefully refrained from doing so, as I had a feeling that the ensuing conversation might become acrimonious, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs (I had a shelf that I wanted him to put up) and it seemed politic just to nod non-committedly.

Mr. Mhor then appeared to be full of mirth about something. Wearily, I enquired what was so funny.”The bees”, he said. “The bees keep flying towards where the bush used to be. They can’t understand where it’s gone.”

I said (with some asperity) “Surely they are not the same bees? You are not claiming that you recognised those actual, individual bees? Next you will tell me that you have named them.”

“Oh yes, I did recognise them, ” said Mr. Mhor. “They were the same bees. I know my bees.”

Now I may know nothing about gardening but this claim stretched credulity. How can anyone recognise particular bees? Mr. Mhor was adamant, however, and unfortunately the discussion DID become acrimonious, and the unconstructed shelf remained in the cupboard under the stairs, as flat a pack as it had been when I’d lugged it into Mhor Cottage in the first place.

I can only assume that the painkillers Mr. Mhor had been prescribed had temporarily addled his brain.

I now await a series of vexatious emails from my loyal followers, telling me that they, too, can recognise individual bees.

Why, even the Robbing Butcher himself does not have such pretensions.

The Mustress Delivers a Baby and receives a VERY WELCOME PRESENT

Many years ago I was wandering round the Labour Ward, at rather a loose end, if the truth be told. It was a Sunday and we had no patients.

We had restocked every cupboard to within an inch of its life and had had several cups of tea. Midwives survive almost entirely on tea, and cakes and biscuits are generally available.

On this memorable day there wasn’t so much as a packet of Rich Tea (generally looked upon with disfavour by midwives, but supplied reluctantly by the hospital’s catering department.)

Very possibly the Rich Tea are for the patients, not the midwives.


I spotted a pregnant woman and her (I assumed) husband, and approached them to offer my assistance. She told me that she was in labour – with her eleventh child.

Despite midwifery textbooks always advising that midwives should be diagnosing labour, not mere patients, I assumed that as she had had ten babies previously she was going to be correct with regard to knowing if the eleventh baby was starting to make its appearance.

Reader, that woman was right and that baby was nearly there. Despite the fact that she did not appear to be having contractions and was not in any distress, her cervix was 9 cm. dilated.

About three minutes after I had established that fact, she gave birth to a son.

It was a very easy gig for me, I have to say. I daresay the woman herself regarded it as such.

Anyway – after giving the baby a quick suck on the breast, she asked me to hand her her holdall – then she extracted a massive box of very expensive chocolates.

“For you,” she said. “I always like to thank my midwives when I have a baby. You work so hard.”

It brightened up my Sunday, I can tell you. And the collective Sundays of the rest of the staff. We always share booty like this.

Someone made another pot of tea and the Labour Ward returned to its previous state of Nothing Going On.

Mr. Mhor Drags The Mustress to a Garden Centre

Before I start, I have to point out that there is a particularly good coffee shop at this garden centre, so it wasn’t all bad.

It’s just that I don’t really like trundling round, looking at plants and wondering why some of them are so fussy. Mr. Mhor frequently adjures me to tell him which plants I like, but when I do he invariably has some kind of excuse as to why they are not suitable for the garden at Mhor Cottage. I might as well save my breath (and energy) and just go straight to the coffee shop.

Mr. Mhor has been told many times that his esteemed wife does not like purple or pink- coloured plants. He has also been advised that messy-looking plants are not welcome at Mhor Cottage. This does not seem to stop him from buying them, though; and he then gets upset when he asks if they are admired and is told unequivocally that they are not.

In any case, I am always anxious to find out if there is any pear frangipani available in the coffee shop. Priorities, priorities.

The cake situation is what interests me at garden centres. Plants are the same wherever you go but the standard of cakes is very variable in the accompanying cafes.

(I am sure that someone will now email me to say that plants are NOT the same in all garden centres.)

Anyway. We drove forty six miles to get to this garden centre and it was the same scenario as it always is when we visit garden centres. After Mr. Mhor asked me which plants I liked and then vetoed them (on very specious grounds, in my opinion) I wandered off thankfully to the coffee shop.

There WAS pear frangipani.

After what seemed like five weeks (but was in actuality fifteen minutes) Mr. Mhor joined me and started to tell me about how he had been accidentally overcharged for some terracotta pots. It was a long, tedious story involving discounted prices and (inevitably) misunderstandings over the dimensions of the pots, which were absolutely hideous.

I waved this aside. If he was trying to conflate the Robbing Garden Centre and the Robbing Butcher, I told him he should start his own blog.

That would teach him a lesson.

The Robbing Butcher Disappoints Mr. Mhor

It is Friday, so I was determined to catch the Robbing Butcher out for once.

I particularly wanted him to be open, so that the weekend breakfast needs of the Mhors could be fulfilled. I therefore said, many times, to Mr. Mhor “I am quite sure that the RB will be closed today.”

(I said this in case the RB had installed a listening device in Mhor Cottage. Nothing would surprise me less.)

Off I went and to my surprise, the RB was open.

I asked for bacon, haggis, Stornoway black pudding, circular square sausage, fruit pudding and eggs “from the new hens.”

The RB glared at me. I have a feeling that he thought I was being impertinent with regard to the eggs.

I glared back at him.

Then he played a low blow. He announced that he had no fruit pudding in stock. I pulled myself together and paid for the rest of my order, then exited the shop, wondering how I was going to break the news to Mr. Mhor.

Mr. Mhor is very fond of fruit pudding with his breakfast. Personally, I can take it or leave it (with “leave it” as my preferred option) but one of the guilty pleasures in Mr. Mhor’s life is eating fruit pudding with his breakfast.

I arrived at Mhor Cottage and gave Mr. Mhor the bad news. He was engaged in cooking some Stornoway black pudding (and readers of this blog may believe, with some justification, that the Mhors subsist almost entirely on Stornoway black pudding.)

“No fruit pudding,” I said, tentatively. “But I got some circular square sausage,” (I was hoping to soften the blow, of course) “and eggs from the new hens.”

Mr. Mhor took it quite well, all things considered, but he went through ten minutes of agitation, and my egg was definitely NOT dippy when it was finally served.

The Robbing Butcher has much to answer for.

The Robbing Butcher gets his own back

I have long wondered if the RB reads blogs, or if he is aware that he has been immortalised on Mumsnet.

However, today I was expecting him to be shut.

Imagine my surprise and discomfiture to discover that he was, in fact, shut. I spend my life second-guessing the Robbing Butcher’s activities and I feel that he has tricked me on more than one occasion, so it followed that he had tricked me today.

Generally, he is open on Thursdays so I assumed he would be shut.

And he was. Shut, I mean.

Honestly. You can’t trust anyone these days. I had to go to the Co – Op for bacon and black pudding, not to mention haggis and sub-standard eggs. Sub-standard in the sense that they are small, I mean.

It quite put me out. Mr. Mhor would happily eat the Co – Op’s bacon, etc, but then Mr. Mhor has no class. (Except in his choice of bride, obviously).

I regret to confess that I have visions of the Robbing Butcher watching and waiting for me to approach his shop, and altering the OPEN and CLOSED sign accordingly.

This may be slightly paranoid, I admit. It has been suggested to me that the reason the RB’s opening hours are so haphazard is because he has to go to Smithfield Market for his produce. SM is nine hours away from here and anyway, I am sure you can’t buy Stornoway black pudding there.

Well, you probably can’t.

It looks like I shall have to start yet another thread about this on Mumsnet. I generally get good advice there, although you have to sort the wheat from the chaff and correct people’s SPaG.


Mr. Mhor Encounters a Very Large Snake

Some years ago, Mr. Mhor fell off a wall and broke his leg in three places.

(This occurrence really deserves a post to itself. Nobody was there to contradict him but he SAYS he wasn’t drunk when it happened.)

Mr. Mhor had left his phone at home, too. Of course, he could not remember my phone number off the top of his head so I did not know where he was for three days.

He had been taken to hospital and had undergone several operations by the time I managed to hunt him down. Eventually he came home with his leg in plaster and decided that a spot of intensive gardening would undoubtedly cause rapid healing to take place. I thought it would be better to elevate and rest it but what do I know? I’m only a nurse, after all.

So anyway. Sunday came round (as usual) and I sallied forth to church to play the organ (also as usual) and take choir practice (again, as usual………..)

Upon my return, Mr. Mhor was sitting in the garden looking rather anxious. He revealed that a “very large snake” had accosted him whilst he was weeding. Exactly how this snake had “accosted” him was not clear.

I had a ready answer, needless to say.

That, I said, will teach you not to spend all your time gardening when you could have been doing the ironing.

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