Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I think there are two kinds of people in life - pancake tossers and people who do not toss pancakes. Today, two pancake tossers arrived in my kitchen with eggs, strawberries and smiles. The 14-year-old daughter broke eggs (not eggcups) with aplomb and tossed pancakes merrily from a buttered pan. She tossed them and her circus skilled mother dipped her knee to catch them on a plate. Sometimes, the laughing girl tossed a pancake and with all the confidence of youth, held her own plate out - fearless of a fatal fall. Sometimes, she just tossed them, let them fly awhile and then snatched them from oblivion, splat, back into the pan. Her mother taught her well. I love that age in girlhood. That adolescent "look at me with shiny hair tossing pancakes in the air" age. All performed with hungry boy and baby watchers agog with admiration.

Reluctantly, I admitted that I was not one of life's pancake tossers. I am too worried the pancake will decide it has had enough of me. Sadly and finally, it could bundle up its batter on the way down to the floor, to rest there reproachful and eggy. Worse still, it could fold itself in two and fly out of the open window, abandoning me to my empty pan and hollowed out expectations. Life surely has disappointments enough I think. Why would I invite disaster into my kitchen? I never toss a pancake.

Today though, I tried. It flew and flipped and landed back. Howzat.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the book deal and the pancakes. Love your blog, makes me cry from laughing. And it reminds me never to move to the country. With or without kids. I would go insane.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wife in the north said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greybeard said...

many congratson the book deal i came across your blog in tonights evening chronicle an read it in it's enitrity hopethat you'll keep posting an as a genuine geordie who;s neva left the north east except for holiday's i enjoyed it throughly
good luck for the future to you and the family

wife in the north said...

re greybeard: thank you - your comment (as a genuine geordie) meant a lot

Gone said...

You see only a few months and your tossing pancakes, we will have you smoking kippers and baking stotties by the summer lol

Anonymous said...

Oh I am full of admiration. My pancakes were pants - and just as chewy - well as chewy as I imagine pants to be. They were also as brown in parts. Good luck to you.

Livvy U. said...

Hello, a new reader here come to you via the great good news about your book deal etc. I wasn't going to comment, but followed a couple of the links about the blogger writers writing like you - and was astonished by the vitriole! What I thought before reading them, when I'd only read some of you, was how very, very heartening and refreshing it is to read a well written blog. There are millions of bloggers, but, I have discoverd to my surprise, not that many who can actually write.
I know how unbelievably hard it is to keep a family and a blog going at the same time! So enormous, heartfelt congratulations and I look forward to reading more of your writing.
Best best wishes
Livvy U

Anonymous said...

I have come to your blog late having read the Sunday Times this week, and discovered you. Currently living in London with 2 young children you have reassured me for now that I should stay where I am! My husband and I are not good at making our minds up! I will continue to read your blog with interest, and a lot of enjoyment.
All the best!

The New Girl on the Block said...

This is all about perspective. When you were supposedly alone, you were loved, you become big news and newcomers pick up the scent and started the merry pickings. As a fellow journalist who only discovered you today, I am not surprised how the tone turned ugly once you became national news. But hey, the irony is, journalists generally are honest and people don't like it. Why is it such a perplexity that newspapers write what people want to read - a rose tinted, gloriously gory, mixed up view of the world to satisfy a demand. After all, who wants real life? So critics of this site, get a life. And WitN, You've made my day. Thanks.

Janejill said...

You are certainly on a roll....

southern gal said...

just caught up with the REST of the WORLD about your book deal ! WOOHOO! amazing and congrats. but please DONT CHANGE A THING!

Anonymous said...

I have never responded to a blog before (no, never!)
Just wanted to say I like what you have to say. I am a Brit living in the USA now for 12 years, and a lot of what you talk about applies here too :) It's all about being displaced, not particularly about the place you end up in.

Anonymous said...

I would like to congratulate you foremost on the successful pancake toss. Forget about the book deal. Now you're a tosser. Pancake tosser.

Keep up the good work.

p.s. love the blog!

Anonymous said...

Have come into to have a look after your site was given out on National Radio...Radio 2 the Jeremy Vine show.....Impressed....

Newmania said...


Theres a little gang of you is there . That intersting. I don`t envy you having to attend that lunch .

Did you all work for the Times then ?

Anonymous said...

congrats on the book deal, I only discovered you yesterday after hearing about you on radio 2.

hope it all works out for you

Anonymous said...

Juniper, are there really critics of this site?? Wow! What's not to like as Kath or Kim once said...)
I love it, even tho I only discovered it yesterday, but hey ho...different strokes I suppose
Rich D

Anonymous said...

Why not leave up all the comments, instead of only those who are saying nice congratulatory things? If you're going to be a published author, surely you have to get used to people criticising what you write.

Anonymous said...

hello 'wifeinthenorth'
on you book deal. Go for it !! and keep on blogging. it's a great pleasure / enjoyment to read you.
Good luck with the family too !

Anonymous said...

A friend told me about you yesterday. Enjoyed your blogs, but think that Northumberland is not your problem. .
You have given up a hugely creative job and moved house (twice). Couple that with catholic guilt and you don't stand a chance! You obviously live quite close to me, although I haven't quite figured out where yet.
As a mother of four I know the loneliness can be damning, but watching them grow up is so rewarding. Hang in there.
By the way, I've been here 27 years and I still can't drink Percy Special!

Anonymous said...

Hello Judith.
I'm so disorganized and late with everything at the moment that today, Wednesday, I've only just got round to reading the Sunday Times article about you and your blog. 8 years ago I moved, with my husband's job, from London to the vaguely charming (but rather boring) cultural backwater that is Macclesfield. And now I am about to do it again, with children this time (aged 5 and nearly 7), to the USA. My husband has already gone to start the training. There's so much to do here before we go that I don't know where to begin - but I can feel a list explosion coming on. Thank God we'll be living within easy reach of Boston, so my deep need for a decent city life will be met.
I'm gutted about having to leave some good friends, sell my tiny business and move out of our comfy home, and I'm dreading the time when my son and daughter have to say goodbye to their little merry bands of school friends. And I think it's funny (peculiar, not ha ha) how everyone keeps, unintentionally, putting pressure on me to feel enthusiastic about the move: "How exciting", they gush; "what an adventure"; "I would LOVE to live abroad"! I know they're right and it probably will be brilliant, but I just can't feel enthusiastic yet ... and then I feel guilty about that. Silly, isn't it?
I hope your book deal means you get to spend more time in London ... and I'll keep reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

I discovered your site yesterday after a great endorsement from radio 2. I must admit I found your blogs very comforting. I am not so much ‘wife in the north’as
‘girlfriend in norfolk’ and I was delighted to discover that lying on the kitchen floor of a morning is not uncommon when relocating to rural areas. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for six days.

Eventually, Michael the archangel found him on the seventh day resting.

He enquired of god, "Where have you been?" God pointed downwards through the clouds.

"Look Michael, look what I've made" said God.

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "Its a planet," replied God, " and I've put LIFE on it. I'm going to call it Earth and its going to be a great place of balance."

Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing down to different parts of the Earth,

"For example, North America will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while South America is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot and Russia will be a cold spot. Over there I've placed a continent of white people and over there is a
continent of black people."

God continued, pointing to the different countries.

"This one will be extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to another area of land and asked, "What's that?"

"Ah," said God. "That's the north of England, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful people, seven great cities in Yorkshire alone, and many impressive towns; it is the home of the world's finest artists, musicians, writers, thinkers, explorers and politicians.
The people from North England are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous and they're going to be found travelling the world. They'll be extremely sociable, hard-working and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as speakers of truth."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, "What about balance God, you said there will be BALANCE!"

God replied very wisely, "Wait till you see the set of w*nkers I'm putting down South!!"

Anonymous said...

Back to pancakes - they sound like a right bunch of tossers - sorry couldn't resist it! We tried some non traditional flavours. The salt n vinegar was ok, but the marmite was inedible..

wife in the north said...

re newmania: you know what. We will spend the whole lunch talking about you. Really.
re anon and comment moderation. Yes I am thinking about it and might well do that. Have not yet decided and No I don't have a problem with being criticised which is just as well.
re sarahclark: blog it. Lets go global

Anonymous said...

one of my tossed pancakes ended up on the floor yesterday. I put it back into the pan to get rid of any persistent germs, covered it in Nutella and fed it to one of the kids.

Anonymous said...

The 'deleted comments' thing is most annoying - we are left wondering what they were, and whether they were more interesting than what has been left in. So please, stop the editorialising and give us all the comments. If you are worried about swearing or whatever, give people some ground rules. But just giving a partial view of the feedback is worse than no feedback at all. But then 'The Times' is a 'partial' newspaper, so I guess it is second nature..

Newmania said...

I don't have a problem with being criticised which is just as well.

Very wise ,what does it matter.I thought you did moderate comments.
Can we expect heavily armed ninjas to burst through the herb area in the garden and lay waste to the tea towels with heavy covering fire ?Or something ?

I am meeting my own liitle "Posse" of bloggers and while you may be kidding , I bet you will be discussed then.


wife in the north said...

re anon and comment moderation: I said I am thinking about it and I think slowly.
I was a bit taken aback by the aggression and vehemence of the comments when I had open house at first. I would rather not moderate but can you "lay down rules"?

Ciara said...

Well done! Just after I read your article and checked out your blog I read another article in our Sunday paper. I am a mum at home with 2 babies 13 months apart.

The article describes a new breed of woman stressed and creche bound. I think you will enjoy it.

Look, I didn't ask for the bag, just gimme the bloody coffee


Margaret Porter said...

As one of your regular readers, one who attended uni in the North, as well as one who went from book(s) to blog, I'm thrilled to learn you've done it in reverse!

Now I impatiently wait for my newsprint copy of the Sunday Times to wing its way over the Atlantic. In the meantime, I'm following the story online.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

You're right. Didn't someone say something similar about Lord of the Rings, too - that the world is divided into two sorts of people: those who have read it and those who haven't. Anyway, pancakes. We had a big argument in the office on Pancake Day about what makes the best fillings. As well as the lemon and sugar traditionalists, there were some very tasty suggestions. Orange cream and brandy. Stewed apple and cinnamon. Butter and salt (urg!) Nutella chocolate spread and chopped nuts. One person even suggested roast beef, horseradish and watercress.

pegleg said...

I have found your blog for the first time tonight and just thought it would be a good place to tell my pancake day story from last week.

Whilst cooking and tossing the pancakes I decided to remind my daughter (9) of the reason behind Shrove Tuesday and Lent.

Me "And what day comes at the end of Lent?"
Daughter " don't know. Bonfire Night?"
Me "No, Easter Sunday."
Daughter "Whatever".