Dispensed with the mommy-uniform of stains, denim and sensible coat. Used the time usually spent applying warm layers applying slap. A regret as the evil wind whipped round the playground.
A day-off obviously doesn't start 'til after morning bell and you're ensconced in the coffee shop. Felt virtuous having a frothy without a fag. Strike 6 to the Momma. Good feeling faded when a Lego knight revealed his position, poised for battle, in the left sleeve of the woolly excuse I chose as a coat today. I surrender to hatred of the way I lose the children and gain small plastic accessories.
The obligatory train delay allowed a chance meeting with an old mate, a theatre designer. Didn't chat much as she was in mobile-phone-work-mode. Noted that even designers wear warm coats. Couldn't help but overhear one call about a distressed old bag. Relieved to hear it was a costume accessory not an aging drama queen.
Finally hit the shops 40 minutes before my lunch date. That's 10 minutes longer than most solo shopping sessions since starting my family 12 years ago. Five years ago I gave it all up: the full-time career, lunch-hours and purchasing new-season wardrobes in said lunch-hours. Thought I ought to at least bring up one of my babies.
Time out of the west-end has taken its toll. Felt slightly sick at seeing fabrics back in fashion that I wore as a seven year old. Ran through the department store frantically searching for something, anything. Hitting the Dannimac section and pondering their practical aspects was the lowest point. Panic purchased a photo-album I neither like nor need.
Fancied a fag. But want my future 50 year-old face to have half a chance of not looking like a crumpled piece of old leather. On a pit stop realised the nicotine patch attached to knickers rather than belly was the cause of the craving.
Had a lovely grown up lunch with two entertaining male ex-colleagues. Wondered whether one glass and a half counts as falling off the wagon? No Mexican waves so judged to be doing ok.
After that had the afternoon in the west end to myself. Oh what to do? Can't go home before He and the kids. Too cold for the long walk to the bookshop. Head to Peter Jones. Disappointed by the do-up: same stuff, just not-so-stuffy surroundings. Heating was in overdrive so broke out in a hot flush. A change is gonna come. Wonder whether aged 40 and one month am too young to worry about the start of the change? Wonder will I ever enjoy shopping again? As a test headed towards handbags. Didn't have the heart to spend £64,000 I don't have on something in brown. Spotted shape-enhancing bikinis but presume I'll be a size 54 by the summer and the label clearly said enhancing not bloody miracle worker. Desperate for a day-off trophy I grabbed a smock top.
On the train, mood came further down, about the need for change. Listening to Nora Jones didn't help. Feeling the same way all over again. Neither fashionable nor freaky. Just mumsy. What an admission. Even worse: McFly lifted my mood.
My obvious joy of the intro beats was infectious. The woman opposite smiled at my head banging, foot-tapping grin. Managed to restrain myself from singing loudly and out of tune. A flying insect marred lifted mood. Reacted calmly by waving hands around in the style of one with mental health issues.
The thing with wings landed on her bag opposite. Decided me whacking her bag with my paper would not be considered a friendly gesture especially as she'd avoided eye contact with me since the hand waving. But we had shared a smile. I should say 'there's a flying thing on you, except its not flying now'. But that would break the sacred convention of tube-travellers. Only the insane strike up conversations with strangers. (Unless there are extraordinary factors. Such as the extreme weather you might find in autumn, when the trees do that surprise leaf-shedding business). Relieved my guilt by convincing myself she was probably not smiling but laughing at me earlier. And anyone that reads a choral prospectus is unlikely to appreciate kindness from someone uplifted by McFly.
Walking home I gave thanks to the Nolan sisters. For putting me in the mood for dancing, through the door, with a grin from my grand day out.