Friday 14 September 2007

Slog and blog

It’s not usually a slog to blog. But the slog of life takes over and when at night I do get to sit and think I can’t find that space in my brain: that little bit that gives you the ability to think. All I am capable of is sitting, staring, glass of wine in hand, and boom I’m asleep on the sofa. Well that was last week anyway. The first week back was a killer. Doubly so as He-who-must-be-adored was busy saving London on ‘lates’, leaving me with the quick food prep and endless after-school taxi-ing of dustbin-lids. Shocking after the summer-break to face scheduled constant clock-watching. Now we’ve turned into one of those families that ferries their children from one organised activity to another. Not that they all have full-schedules, just juggling activities for three of them with working and having a husband hardy at home (should add running a home to the list but due to the dull nature of domestic drudgery I’ve given up).

This week I have no such excuse. He-who-must-be-adored is on Jury Service so He’s home for supper, helping ferry the lids about. It has been bliss. For me. Not so for He: all He’s managed is to beat the lids scores on some Nintendo game, and improve his personal Suduko time. I worry for his sanity: his behaviour resembles that of a caged animal. If he could only actually do some Jury Service he’d be happy. When he was ‘selected’ the crown offered no evidence. Case closed. Instead of this being a good citizen trip He’s in his own personal hell: trapped in a room with lots of bored people, doing ‘small talk’. It doesn’t suit Him. He can’t cope. At home we remind Him of the importance of communication. His attitude is, when there’s something important to communicate I will. I am from a completely different school of thought and He-who-must-be-adored says I do enough talking for the both of us. That’s why I keep refusing to move to the middle of nowhere: He doesn’t talk enough for me.

On the second day he commandeered my ipod. Plugs in ears clearly communicates ‘small talkers stay away with your trivial tittle-tattle’. But I am left bereft. A life without music is like a pencil without a sharpener – pointless and disappointing. The kitchen radio is a poor substitute as you have to keep perfectly still three paces to the left or you get reception interference signified by a constant crackly noise. I would hunt out CDs but since the ipod it’s too big an effort. Today I found the Teenager’s ipod but her selection is over-populated with tunes not of my taste (a sure sign of my age me thinks).

She’s settled down well this term and is keeping on top of homework so she doesn’t have to miss Rugby. Obviously we’ve had the new-term stress of sticky back plastic: I think we got cocky when the first book went so well with neither a crease nor air bubble in sight. Downhill after that. At least I didn’t have to peel the sorry stuff off my face and out of my hair – an improvement on last year when somehow my head got stuck to the table. To my mind, the new cover on her history book looks appropriately old.

Now Gorgeous Boy is in Year 5 he gets school swimming lessons. Outraged yesterday he learnt the council believes you cannot learn to swim properly in Bermuda-style trunks, even though he’s been having private lessons for the past 5 years in them, and is now a pretty strong swimmer. Boys should wear those tight little Speedo type yokes. Exactly the type I banned He-who-must-be-adored from wearing more than a decade ago. This morning we compromised and found a baggy pair that came above the knee. I’ll find out tonight if they let him in the pool.

Not so sure how the Little One is settling. She got off to a bad start when her new teacher made them make hats with their names on. Being of an independent spirit The Little One didn’t see why she should have to wear a hot hat just because the teacher didn’t know her name. She had a point.

Supersis has had a hard couple of weeks. Her daughter’s college have changed the timetable and days only a month after promising there was no change: messing up her working and cover arrangements for the third year in a row. And work is so busy the entire office feels like a hamster emporium: they run round on their little wheels getting nowhere fast. Still at least we’ve got our little trip to the big apple to look forward to in November. She tried to persuade me to go last year, and I was there in principle, just the small matter of not having the money. But with her super organised and helpful way she worked out a plan for me last year that made it appear to cost me nothing. Ha ha ha. The flights are booked. Our ‘suite’ is booked. Shopping lists are work-in-progress. Just need to pack and go.

Sunday 2 September 2007

Farewell my summer

So another summer bites the dust. Following the two weeks entertaining the outlaws, the fortnight in Spain flew by in a whirl. Think it’s fair to say it wasn’t the holiday I was expecting. There was a rocky old start: Squeezyjet didn’t want to let us on the ‘plane as Gorgeous boy didn’t have a doctor’s note for the new cast on his arm. After an anxious half hour the pilot came to the rescue and agreed to let us fly. The next low-point for me was standing at Valencia airport: He-who-must-be-adored was off in a courtesy bus collecting a car, and the rest of our party was off in different courtesy buses collecting their cars. So there I was, at a foreign airport, with three kids, five suitcases, no money, no passports…longest 15 minutes of my life. Can’t say the next 48 hours were much better.

The website pictures of our villa were taken 48 years ago and I’m being kind by saying the place fell below expected standards. The three babies spent the first 24 hours out-of-sorts – kind-of-like myself, and it felt as if they took it in turns so at least one was constantly crying. It’s fair to say I am now well over the wanting a baby stage. Luckily they calmed down before I found a hotel for He-who-must-be-adored and myself. The internet-ordered cast-cover for Gorgeous boy lasted one day as he got up early on the second day and put it on himself. By lunchtime we were hacking away at a very sodden cast. The promised birthday cake and chef for the ‘Tweenager becoming a Teenager party’ never materialised and the upset must-have rubbed off on the little one as she appeared unable to sleep for more than two hours without having to cry out and touch me. Clearly any romance for He-who-must-be-adored and me was off the cards, so we spent two weeks in different bedrooms. As He said…what do you expect with a party of 17? At least the view was nice…when you could see it through the mist. The thunder and lightning and rain added to the general melee and downcast feel.

But fun was had. The highlight was seeing all the lids having a whale of a time with old friends in a private pool. The second week, luckily, was calmer and more fun, with more sun, and therefore better views. Apart from my near death drowning experience amid the frolics instigated by the sergeant major…but all was in good spirits. Obviously.

Two things you shouldn’t do upon returning from holiday: checking the bank balance and the weighing scales: both numbers generally move in the wrong direction. Then a whole day at home, laundry and tumble drying crazy before returning to work for a couple of rainy days, before packing winter warmers for the camp fest at Supersis’s place in the country.

Barely had space in the car for the lids with all the camping gear, plus tents for half of Enfield that needed erecting before the owners arrived at their own leisurely pace. He-who-must-be-adored emptied the car twice before heading off to pick up a roof box. All that tetris practice hadn’t really paid off. He proceeded to quiz us all on what was essential and what was not. The box of cheap mangos featured fairly low on his list but I managed to hide most of them in the extra-large saucepan Supersis had requested. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored didn’t notice the lids squirreling away extra handluggage. Poor gorgeous boy was finally wedged inbetween a large number of sleeping bags and pillows.

Luckily after erecting tents in the mist, the sun came out and huge fun was had by all 46 of us. And I thought I knew about mass catering! The hog-roast went down well but hearing the lids request bits of pig is enough to turn anyone veggie. Am tempted next year to hire the neighbour’s cottage, as tent life is not for me. The whole thing about having the possessions of five of us scattered between car, tent and cottage just got too much. Is it too much to ask for a woman to know where to find her knickers? The real low point of the whole camp-fest was falling off a gate, in the dark, in sight of 15 teenagers. And not even having the excuse of being pissed. Embarrassed? Moi?

Had half a day at home, laundry-mad, and child-foot-scrubbing (after a long soak in the bath) before returning to work, and then facing the new-term-uniform hell of Brent Cross. Managed to fit in eye-tests for us all and luckily all the lids have near(ish) perfect eyesight. Mine, on the other hand have deteriorated so much that the optician recommends two pairs of glasses, one for general seeing and another for reading. He-who-must-be-adored recommends surgery; on the grounds it’s cheaper. But really? That’s easy for him to say: Lasers? In my eyes?

On top of the thought of the glasses expense, the tumble dryer gave up the head-splitting creak and decided enough was enough. The damp camp stuff was a bridge too far and it konked out. Wish I could come out in sympathy with it. Coming on top of all that holiday expense I am now the proud owner of a brand new tumble dryer. But only after some Oscar-winning pleading with the man at Top Discount about the volume of camping washing I had to do and promising He-who-must-be-adored was right on hand to collect the model in the window. Today. Not tomorrow. Nor the next day. Don’t you understand…I need a tumble dryer and I need it NOW! So, now we are all up to date. Just the ironing mountain and label-sewing marathon before the new term begins on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a whole day with no major chores, no buying and nowhere special to be, except for the Teenager's first rugby training session. Isn’t that what the summer’s all about?

Saturday 4 August 2007

leaving on a jet plane...

Hurray hurray am off on holiday…well not quite yet but have to congratulate myself (no other bugger will) as am now packed and weighed. And repacked and reweighed. Usually, when holidaying, Me and He-who-must-be-adored like to ram-pack one enormous tardis-like case that caters for the five of us. We have no care for the fact that the damn thing can’t be lifted. It’s the fact that it’s just one piece of luggage. Plus vanity case. Obviously. This year, travelling with squeezyjet and their weight restrictions means our summer wardrobes are now shared between a shockingly large number of cases. Just as well really as our biggest case of all time is currently winging it’s way to Hawaii - the American outlaws slightly over-indulged and couldn’t fit all their shopping in their bags. Though I personally am disinclined to believe it was the marmite wot did it.

Anyways am done with panicking and packing - bar a few essential items. Like toiletries. And, as my vanity case didn’t make it back to the UK last year, thanks to Air Berlin, have decided to give toiletries, chargers and books their very own case. Wonder will it all fit in the car in the morning. Ah well, at least the kids are well practiced at that tetris game, they can sort it out.

Am heading off to bed now as am on my knees. Partied with the outlaws ‘til 1am last night, before getting up at 4.30am to see them off. Sad to see them go, as we never know when we’ll all be together again. But so very pleased to crawl back into my bed again. Sadly no sooner did my head hit the pillow than it was up again to see Gorgeous Boy head back to Chase Farm Hospital for a new cast. This one has a split in it - just in case his arm should swell up mid-flight. Oooh no new fears there then!

The swimmy sleeve arrived, but the wrong size, as we knew in our hearts it would be. But as it’s now too bleeding late to do anything about it, we are making do. Which is what we have come to love doing. Or rather what we have come to do rather often. Gave the thing a test run in the bath tonight and it remained watertight. Phew.

Need a holiday after the past couple of weeks, with the mass catering and entertaining business. Actually the previous couple of weeks were no better. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored was around today to help get up to date with the washing mountain of extra bedding, damp towels and other essential late items. Even though i made it clear to all the holiday wash cut-off point was yesterday. At least we shall return with just the usual hols laundry mountain.

Shan’t imagine I’ll be bloggin whilst away as aim to be far too busy sleeping, eating, swimming, eating, playing, eating, reading, drinking, eating, dancing, eating, singing, eating, torturing tweenagers and generally having a good ole relax.

Did I mention eating?

Thursday 2 August 2007


Sitting down to blog for the third time today. Unusually neither tweens nor teens at the pc. Hope I get beyond switching the damn thing on before being called away. This past week has just flashed by in a busy old blur….

Ipswich last weekend with the outlaws. Obviously He-who-must-be-adored was busy saving London. Similarly, He’s brother was working and He’s other sister was galavanting off around the world. Again. Was a tad worried about leaving He-who-must-be-adored on Bunny duty but he made a solemn bunny promise. I didn’t mind Rabbit care, and the lids positively loved it. I just found it weird that someone designed rabbit food that looks exactly like rabbit poo.

I know we’re not regular visitors but after a heavily-trafficked journey to Suffolk, it was disheartening to arrive at the care-home of He’s grandma to be asked ‘Do I know You?’ At least the dustbin lids got to spend time with their Nana and Nana-Nana (as their great grandma has been re-named). My Little One smartly observes that: ‘Nana-Nana is really really really old’. Shame she’s not so keen on wearing the hearing aid as the resulting conversation hardly flowed. Luckily Nana translated all that was said. At full volume. Despite the warm weather, Nana-Nana didn’t want to venture into the gardens, for fear of catching a cold. Bless her heart; it’s enough to put you off aging.

It’s a funny old business trying to find somewhere to eat outside London. Even when they clearly have enough separate chairs and tables for a party of 10 Ipswich restaurants just don’t seem to be able to want to cope. Or is this just a Suffolk thing?

Back in the big smoke, Monday morning was spent in a cleaning and shopping frenzy before entertaining the Designer and her baby for the afternoon. She daftly left me in charge in the garden for a full two minutes during which time the Designer Baby managed to get a bleeding lip. Oooops.

Thought the house felt rather quiet so the Tween invited another cousin and the Designer’s daughter for a sleepover. Two more nieces arrived later that evening, along with the Forensic one and Mr Smutty with yet more swimwear options for my hols. Hurray for good friends and personal shoppers. There was no need for Mr Smutty to come, but think he was ever hopeful of catching a glance of someone, anyone, in swimwear. Rather put off new swimsuit by the moulded cups that neatly fit the heads of not-so-small children. One of the Forensic Manager’s twins has nearly finished with chickenpox. The other no spots. You can’t fly with new spots. We are all ignoring our options should new spots appear. Ended the evening depressed at the size of me in swimwear and the size of my swimwear alongwith the fact that both the Forensic Manager and the Designer are already packed for the hols.

Tuesday was a bit stressy. Had the best babysitter in (she bakes cakes) whilst I worked. A call came from the West End where the Tween shopped with her Teen cousins. And was vomiting. Could I come and get her? Er…am at work…alone… manning the phones of two companies, whilst trying to cram a whole month’s work into one day. Located He-who-must-be-adored who can usually be found somewhere in central London. He’d come home early to relieve the babysitter and was in the middle of cooking supper. When Captain Chaos finally relieved me in the office I arrived home to discover two further nieces and Supersis had come for tea. Ooops that one slipped my mind. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored’s brother was in Central London and escorted the girls back to Finsbury Park before heading home to Cambridge. So then I discover it was over-indulgence in an eat-all-you-can frenzy that caused the vomit. Despite all my worries, the Tween was fine and was requesting choccy cake by 9pm. Bloody Madam. I spent the rest of the evening in a daze, collapsed on the sofa, panicking about all that packing I was yet to do.

Yesterday the Little One awoke with two spots. Back to Chase Farm Hospital tooing and frooing between the blood unit (for me) and the fracture clinic for Gorgeous Boy. The consultant not happy about removing the cast as the healing time isn’t up. But off it came. He gave us the choice: take the risk with a splint if you want to swim on holiday, but any further pain, and return straight to the hospital. Luckily think the spots were mozzy bites.

Holiday haircuts for all last night and I notice Gorgeous Boy is not himself. By lunchtime today he’s admitted his arm hurts. A lot. The fracture clinic want to see us again tomorrow at 10am, for a new cast. Onto the Internet we go for a watertight sleeve. Hmm slight rush on the things…this being the holiday season n’ all, but one company promise delivery by 5.30pm tomorrow. You can’t take a 9-year-old boy on holiday and expect him to sit out of the pool. Last year had to keep checking whether he’d turned into a merman he was in the water so much.

The good news is am nearly up to date with washing and ironing and there are lots of neat piles waiting to be packed. Now the airlines have reduced the baggage weight shall spend tomorrow evening on and off the weighing scales with the luggage.

Tonight is the American outlaws last night in England. The loud one has been here all week, but the others return tonight. Will be sad to see them go in the morning. Although doubt I'll actually see them go as they leave in the wee small hours. Remain ever hopeful of some day soon persuading He-who-must-be-adored to spend more than two hours on a plane to go and see them.

Only two more days to go and we’re off to Spain…17 of us…and the dustbin-lids outnumber the adults…Worried? Yes. But at least the sun will be shining and we’ll have our own pool and I won’t be mass catering…ooops oh yes I will. And only the seven pre-menstrual females in the group.

No more worries for a week or two…

Monday 30 July 2007

Mother of a brown boy

To Chicken Shed Theatre on Friday night to see the immensely powerful Mother of a Brown Boy. Moving. Sad. Bold. Beautiful. Thought provoking and tough. Inspired by the short life of a 19 year old, it chronicles his mother’s story and her grief at his life cut short. More powerful for me as a friend of the mother, and her son. It never was going to be an evening of light entertainment: this is political theatre. More disheartening is the fact this isn’t just one mother’s story: it has a wider relevance for our melting pot society with the-ever widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

The balance of the piece is in the stunning craft and sculpture of music, movement and multi-media. You can catch it in Edinburgh this week, on the Sky arts channel (4.8 at 18.30, 9.8 at 15.30,19.8 at 10.15), and hopefully on tour later in the year

Friday 27 July 2007

Its oh so quiet here...

It's oh so quiet. Except for the gentle hum of the dishwasher, the whirr of the washing machine and the brain-splitting screech of the tumble dryer. Not forgetting the wails of the Little One now her American ‘cusins’ have departed (albeit temporarily). ‘Who have I got to snuggle up wiv now?’ Err that’ll me then. Guiltily I feel it’s been a relief to have a break from snuggling. And, although I’ve been busy on mass catering duties I have enjoyed the brief respite from not wearing a not-so-small-child about my person. Now every towel, flannel, and tea towel in the land is either being washed, tumbled, or is sitting patiently in a colour-coded pile. Ahh the beauty of a having a gaggle of girls to stay.

Moan as I may (that’s my prerogative), like the dustbin lids, I am a tad sad tonight. At the quietness. And boringness without my American Outlaw, the Loud One, the Evil One, plus The Suffolk Smiler. It’s just the Lids and Me. He-who-must-be-adored is, as per, out saving London. But I was pleased He managed to be home a little more than normal. But not as much as you’d think considering his sister travelled half way round the world to see him. Having the family of He-who-must-be-adored to stay is a rare treat for me. He feels neither need nor desire to do the family thang. Though I’m sure he enjoys seeing them. Much as I love them I find it annoying to have to shout (often) like some kind of swat team: ‘DROP THE DISHCLOTH AND MOVE AWAY FROM THE SINK’.

More worrying is the sneaking feeling that it’s catching …we were no sooner back from dropping them at the dripping train station when the Tween and I, with subconscious communication, had a mass clean attack. The house has now lost that bomb-zone look. Hence the creaking machines. I was sorry for the Out-laws standing at the station. With cases. In flip-flops. In the freezing pissing rain. But then again, I can’t feel too sorry for a family that live where the sun shines all year round, where they have no need for raincoats, jumpers nor closed-in shoes.

So, some respite tonight from mass catering. We had leftovers. Then remembered we’re on rabbit responsibility. Doodles and Leopard, I think, were pleased to see us, especially when we gave them some fresh green stuff. Bit worried about the forecast for the Rabbit-owners. In Scotland. On a campsite. Hmmmm tad damp perhaps?

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Hi ho hi ho

Apologies to all my readers (yes you two know who you are) for the delayed updates: have been a tad rushed off my feet. This is holiday time! Luckily today I am up early for work. A bit of peace I hope and some small respite from catering.

Boy does it get hot in the kitchen when you’re mass catering. In-between peacekeeping the dustbin lids! We’re busy having fun with the outlaws who arrived from Hawaii on Saturday. Sunday we had huge numbers of outlaws for lunch plus Supersis’s outlaws as well – you know what she’s like any bandwagon…

I love having a full house. Especially the outlaws - after such a long gap. Am just a tad concerned about my American brother-in-law whose continuing existence I am beginning to doubt. He hasn’t been over since 2001. Am praying he’s not under some Hawaiian patio.

Think gorgeous boy has struggled a bit this week being surrounded by two sisters, three female cousins, four if you include yesterday, mom and a couple of aunts.

Sunday’s giggles came from sink watching: a new social phenomenon. As I’ve previously suggested the family of He-who-must-be-adored have a keener attitude to housework than my side. A social gathering provided a constant and steady procession of He’s family fighting to get to the sink. Dare I suggest they are a tad more comfortable clearing than doing that social interaction thang?

Monday we were London tourists. Being tourists in London, we got very wet, damp and miserable, before getting squished and dried out on the rush hour tube home. Hmmm. The Great British unwashed public. Delicious!

Yesterday we chilled at home and with nowhere to go the weather was obviously fab, with a whole four minutes of sunshine. With nothing better to do the dustbin lids managed to fit in a water fight to cool down from all that sunshine and before the rain came again.

One of my many favourite nieces invited me onto Face book last year and I’ve hardly had time to get back on. So was pleased an invitation winged its way to my inbox this week from a long lost work colleague. It was even better to discover an even older (ha ha) colleague who was last seen about four years ago waddling away with a new baby. I log on and there she is having conceived, carried and delivered another beautiful sprog. Delighted. But am still getting over the confusion of my friend down under who I tired to add as an old neighbour, as these days you can’t just be friends. I now see that we used to work on Neighbours together. Sadly, I’ve never been to Australia but am impressed my talents can spread so far.

As my sister-out-law travelled half way round the world to visit me I left her babysitting whilst I trooped to the minor ops clinic yesterday. To have a mole removed from my neck. Whilst awake. Obviously. The injection was a bit of a pain in the neck. In fact the whole experience was a bit toe curdling. As I lay there curdling my toes and wringing my hands I decided it was best to close my eyes as the red-hot wires came towards my face. Pleased to say it didn’t really hurt. Just a bit warm. However hearing your own flesh being singed wasn’t the best experience of my life. Then the smell made me open my eyes. Weird to see black smoke arising from one’s own body and unfortunate to have the smell of burning flesh, my own burning flesh, entering my nostrils. A small sticky plaster later and I was away. Today my neck feels a little bruised and I have a black scab, which looks exactly like ….the mole that used to be there.

Off to work we go...

Sunday 22 July 2007

School's out for summer

Hoorah. Glad term is over as was starting to lose humour with the junior school. I wrote a note giving permission for Gorgeous Boy to play out with his broken arm. But still they excluded him from having fun: Health and Safety. He’s miserable from spending the last week in other classes whilst his peers traipse off for fun. Do they understand anything of children at all? At least they re-issued his end of term report with an improved grade. So it comes as no real surprise that Ofsted said the school could do better.

So summer hols. And it rains. And it rains. And now the real work begins. Word got out about the pet holiday scheme. Day 1 of the hols and we have agreed to rabbit cover. Hope it’ll take the pressure off getting our own little bunnies for a while. Phew.

Operation clean up this damn house finally got underway. Sadly, not in preparation for a move: just catering for visiting out-laws. My attitude to housework is a tad more relaxed that the family of He-who-must-be-adored. I asked ‘when our offspring look back what will seem more important, that their childhood was happy or the kitchen floor was clean?’ ‘Obviously’ He said ‘the floor’. He jokes. Me hopes.

To give me more cleaning time I e-ordered the shopping from Tesco. The packing was lacking. What was I most in need of? A bottle of wine. What arrived in smithereens? A bottle of red wine. I hadn’t got round to washing the hallway floor so I wasn’t bothered that the dripping box made it look like a bloodbath. The worst thing to have below a smashed bottle of red wine? Breaded products? They were not in a good state. And I sent back the children’s juices with wine engrained round the rim. What I didn’t notice till the driver left was the soggy box of Tampons. Of the super-absorbency kind. They certainly do what it says on the can!

Despite my efforts, the house looked tidier, but wasn’t much cleaner. I knew I was being a nag when the Little One told me ‘I know there are no house-work fairies, as they are all busy collecting teeth.’ I was relieved when He-who-must-be-adored came home and did some of his man magic on the windows. Have decided if we ever get round to moving I’ll look for something really small, with self-clean or wipeable surfaces.

To save even more time Supersis did a mercy dash collecting extra bedding from here there and everywhere. There are now temp beds in every available spare space. I’d like to think it all looks rather cosy and friendly. Shabby is another word.

Yesterday was the last day of freedom ‘til September so thought it’d be good to get a new bikini, unencumbered by the dustbin lids. Should have followed my instincts and gone back to bed with a book. Not only have I left it too bleeding late for any kind of choice, the non-smoking non-stop eating has had a big impact on the size of my chest. It was hard getting a bikini when I was at comic proportions. It’s now gone from epic to freaky. The sales assistant that tried to get me into a gigantic effort was clearly mistaken. A freaky fit it is. The bikini is not 'of the moment'. But it is secure. No fear of falling out of that structure. Just as well seeing as we are holidaying with Mr Smut himself, (who has already called to congratulate me on the porn-star proportions). What I must remember is it doesn't matter how much you spend on bikinis an odd bod is an oddbod.

My Forensic friend is a true friend. She used my depression as an excuse for retail therapy and turned up a while later with a number of new bikinis for me to try. Even with her not insubstantial chest she was shocked at my growth. So now I am the lucky owner of two bikinis. One of which is for sitting very still in. Which is just perfect for my holiday intentions.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

The Big Smoke

No am still not smoking – bar that one v. drunken evening but glossing over that…

Something kinda weird’s going on. For over a decade He-who-must-be-adored has begged, cajolled and pleaded with me to give up the ghost of London living and move to pastures greener. Personally have never had any such desire nor need. Why drive long distances when you can live within a stone’s throw of everything. Bar greenery. Greenery? Preenery has always won hands down for me.

And Animals.

Animals? Painimals! What’s the point? More so since having the dustbin lids – who needs extra bods to cater for?

But that was the old me. The Me BEFORE we spent a week looking out on a big fat green fix, caring for animals, collecting fresh eggs and generally being at one with nature. Of course I don’t miss bully boy Grumpy George Goat. Yet my marriage gave me a good grounding on his type so he with the big horns and stampy foot was easy enough to suss out. I paid lip-service to his position and fed him first. That kept him quiet long enough to sort the others out. Though I’d never turn my back on him. Those horns are huge.

Am also sad to see the back of the blonde dog. Even if her thinking herself human was a bit trying. In hindsight (such a wonderful thing) giving her bar-b-q left-overs may have contributed to her rejecting dog food and wanting to sit up at the table with us. But Supersis is home (Hurrah) so too goes the blond dog.

Do I thank or bemoan my country cousin who let me housesit? Ever since we hit London all I can think about it moving to pastures green. Have I had too much fresh air? We were v busy but would that cause my attitude to age three decades in a week? It was just pure bliss to see green from every window. And London is just so….London like.

Returned from work today to find a transit van parked in my drive. Confusion reigned as I racked my brain for some forgotten arrangements of works. After five minutes a chap in an EDF t-shirt came and told me the van was his. Get this: he said ‘the police told me to park here’. My response to his bollocks was not something of which I am proud. But you could safely say I left him with no illusions as to my thoughts on his parking and bare-faced codswallop. He drove off at high speed. Of all the cheeky bloody London chappies I’ve ever met, I think he takes the biscuit.

Talking of which, now I’ve got all that extra time in the mornings, Gorgeous Boy with the broken arm appears to be working me overtime. He can’t do socks. Or shoes. Or chopping of own food. Or even deciding what food he wants. Or generally much in the way of anything helpful. You don’t realise just how independent 9 year olds boys usually are. Not sure if it’s the sympathy vote he was going for last night or if it’s something altogether more grown up… Youth club: often he goes in his uniform, or if I beg, a clean t-shirt. Last night the hair was gelled. The ‘special’ trainers were out. And a smart (of a branded sportswear fashion) clean outfit was chosen. Off he trundled. Grinning. Obviously no information was forthcoming but I’m working on it. Shoe time in the morning might be a good moment for a grilling.

My Tweenager is nearly a Teen. Her first pair of heels have been purchased in anticipation of the major life-time event. Hopefully she’ll have practiced before her birthday to lose the funky chicken walk whilst reducing the danger of breaking a limb. Had a brief chat with her about the vague possibility of a move. She can’t see beyond the local bus map. Her combination of heels and a push-up bra make countryside seclusion seem something of a grand idea to me.

The reality of having to tidy this house in order to sell it probably puts a move into no-brainer territory. Unless I get some superydoopery Mary Poppins energy from somewhere and do that spic spot thang. We can but dream.

Saturday 14 July 2007

To the Manor Born

Much as I love the idea of home farm the reality is somewhat disappointing. Despite extensive planting at home, our crops have so far yielded two pods giving exactly 10 peas. I’d say it’ll be a while before Tesco need worry.

It is also safe to say that much as we love living the country life, animal husbandry doesn’t come entirely naturally to me and He. Three days in and we are improving. Seeing the blond dog roll about in horse poo seemed a low point, but worse was her stench after being locked in for an hour whilst we shopped. This morning we were brave enough to let the chickens out. A regret when it was time to put them back. The attempts of me, He and two offspring were nothing if not pathetic in trying to shoo six of the little cluckers back in.

But the real joy of staying here is the big calm green fix you get from every window. And the peace. Except when the geese are hungry. Watching the horses and sheep in the big field gambolling about. Pure bliss. But only because we are just play-acting, and we don’t have the stress of a mortgage on a place like this.

Friday 13 July 2007

What's normal anyway?

Normal service lasted a day. Back to Chase Farm Hospital on Tuesday: Gorgeous Boy hurt his arm at School during morning break. They gave the standard response: come back after lunch if it still hurts. Being a good boy he waited ‘til after lunch to tell them that it really hurt. So to casualty I go, stopping briefly to pick up the Little One plus a slight detour to let the blonde dog out.

Only an hour in Triage before heading to x-ray. No stress at all, sitting there hoping we don’t catch a Super-bug, and trying to persuade the Little One not to touch anything. At all. Only another hour to wait before seeing the break went across both bones in his left arm. No stress wondering would I make it to Northaw in time to feed the animals, and remember to collect the Tweenager and blonde dog from N13? Fortunately we got A+ service from the kind doctor who sped us through to get plastered, albeit temporarily. He-who-must-be-adored gave up saving London for some animal rescue – and thank goodness he did as 20 minutes late and the whole of Hertfordshire got to hear the hungry cries of the ducks and geese. We shan’t be late again.

As if the day wasn’t long enough the Little One decided this was the night she would leave her tooth out. But she couldn’t get to sleep for all the excitement. It was like Christmas Eve all over again. Unfortunately, Gorgeous Boy heard me asking He-who-must-be-adored for change for the tooth fairy. That cat is now out of the bag. In some senses a relief as the Boy was convinced tooth fairies stuffed old teeth up the noses of very small babies?

Every cloud…the boy’s broken arm has given us time off from the usual after-school ferrying so we have slightly more time to enjoy our country fix playing at Hudson and Mrs Bridges. This house is much larger than we are used, and even the Tweenager has taken to texting me. The low point so far was getting Georgeous Boy out of bed to show us old fogeys how to switch the new fangled telly on. The high point is the thought of being able to hide away in one of the many rooms and quietly read.

No such luck yet though. Back to N13 yesterday to finish off the Tweenager’s bedroom – the interior design project of the century, and only under slight pressure before overseas visitors arrive next week. In between throwing desk’s up two flights of stairs and humping wardrobes across the room, we head to the Junior School to take Georgeous Boy out for lunch. Having an arm in plaster is making him somewhat less cheery than usual. Pushing him over the edge is the Junior school’s refusal to let him in the playground. Sitting outside the office with an equally plastered Year 3 female is not his idea of fun. Worse, he remembers being plastered in the Infants and being allowed out. I have questioned the school and await a response. Worse, school’s can no longer administer medicine, so I have to turn up at lunchtime anyway to give painkillers. After hearing the Little One cough all night last night we decided to keep them both home today and let them sleep in. The plan was the catch up would put them both in better moods. The best laid plans….

Monday 9 July 2007

Normal Service has now resumed.

Or as normal as it gets. Had a bit of a hiccup after that treatment. Usually, my ‘psycho-mommy-moments’ are rare. For a short while that became my norm. Moving swiftly on, I note Chase Farm Hospital is on special measures for failing to meet standards on super bugs. Great. That’s where I was treated and where I await a return visit for some other internal interference. I wonder is not breathing whilst in hospital buildings an appropriate course for infection control?

Supersis has abandoned me again for warmer climes. Me thinks she nearly gets the hint to not leave the country without me. The dreaded vomit bug delayed her departure. But only for 24 hours - apparently you can't do bowl-patrol on a plane. Something to do with all that extra security. While she swans about in a sarong I am left holding her hairy beast: the blonde dog, who thinks it beneath her to go in the rain to do her dos.

And, as if the day isn’t long enough, He-who-must-be-adored additionally agrees to a 10 mile round trip to the beginning and end of our day to do a Dr Dolittle: caring for 11 goats, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. He-who-must-be-adored forgot he’ll be off saving London, as per … Leaving me, with all my spare capacity to deal with dustbin lids and other animals. I shall, as they say, be watching my back: George the Grumpy Goat is a force to be reckoned with.

I used to have a pathological fear of all things furry. But I got over it when I had the dustbins. Then we started the dog holiday scheme. Two weeks involves just enough poop scooping to get the doggy thang out of their systems. Am hoping the biggest upside to living in a country pile for a week, apart from the fact we'll be living in a country pile, will be getting the ‘let’s move out’ thang from He-who-must-be-adored’s system. Every cloud…

To the Tweenager’s school last week where it seems Me and He-who-must-be-adored could not be seen in close proximity to her. At any time. Except of course for the ride home. T’was as if we had some kind of superbug.

Thankfully, Gorgeous boy grows ever more gorgeous. He made me detour to chase some rainbows the other night. And some fab weird weather stuff we saw too. Pity he’s not so enthusiastic about school. Think it might be too female an environment for his liking: he is already eying up an all-boys senior school. Without wanting to appear like the pushy parent, I was saddened by his report – the teacher assessment gave zero literary progress over last year. The boy maintains he works hard. So to school I go. Again. A call today says there’s been some sort of oversight in updating his grade. In a report bemoaning a 9 year-olds attention to detail? Is this the standard we have come to know and love?

My Little One lost her first tooth. Though not quite lost as she carries it about in a little bag, ready to show it off at a second’s notice. Whether there is interest or not. And, it didn’t so much fall out as was pulled by He-who-must-be-adored. He couldn’t be doing with all that hanging on by a thread business. The innocence of the moment almost vanished when someone said a first tooth is worth twenty quid. That’s serious inflation. If the Little-One ever gets round to giving it up we shall see. Let’s hope the tooth fairy isn’t too busy or worn out to remember to actually swap the damn thing for whatever dosh happens to be about their Elfing person.

Monday 28 May 2007

That was the week that was

Supersis shouldn’t have left the country. No sooner had she gone than the worst happened. Her father-in-law was admitted to hospital. Then discharged. The same day he was back in. More shockingly, sadly, he didn’t make it through to morning.

He was the closest my kids had to a grandfather and that’s where we are always welcomed at family holiday times. It was a sad sad day. So boy was I glad to see Supersis on Monday, even if it was for some grim tasks. The best you can hope for a funeral is that it all goes smoothly. Thankfully that was achieved on Thursday. I saw many familiar faces, yet they all looked more wrinkly than I remember.

Yet that was not the worst of my week: I complained to the hospital, about my lack of appointment. Monday I got a pre-op appointment. I rang to say I am having a ‘simple procedure’ not an ‘op’, so I have no need for a ‘pre-op’. After no call back I rang again on Wednesday and was told I was booked in for Friday. Had I not telephoned, I’m not certain how I was supposed to know this. I wonder what I am booked in for, but don't want to push my luck with the scary appointments woman. As an afterthought I ask is there anything I should know? ‘Have a hearty breakfast and don’t drive.’

So Friday, I breakfast and bestmumchum drops me off. Unusually I was straight in. But the Consultant asked, why had it taken me 6 weeks to come in for the procedure? He answered his own question by noting my notes had been lost. Oh doesn’t this just fill you with confidence.

This guy works so fast I didn’t have much time to consider the fact that this hospital has the worst super bug death rate in the country. So the next minute I find myself in a chair with no edge, my legs in stirrups and the chair pumped up to almost ceiling height so my most private naked parts are hanging in the air at eye level. And this was just the warm up! Momentarily my indignity was replaced by intrigue as the hysteroscopy showed the inside of my womb via a screen. I prayed it wasn’t being recorded and sent to the Internet.

And then it hit me. Like a wave. Luckily the consultant looked up in time to order oxygen to stop me vomiting and passing out. He said my blood pressure must have dropped because of the injection. I started to come back round again to feel the sawing action, inside. The cramping pain made me block out everything else. I took in lots of oxygen. I hummed. I clenched my fists and toes. I wish I’d opted for the pre-op and the op. This was not my idea of a simple procedure. I wished the nurse would stop banging on about holiday destinations. She was clearly confused and thought she was a hairdresser. Finally he stopped interfering with my innards.

After some weak painkillers and the obligatory NHS cuppa in recovery, Supersis came and took me home to bed. Where I spent most of the weekend. She had my children and sent me the most beautiful bouquet. She is a star.

He-who-must-be-adored was bemused by my upset about him going to work. My joke about him being kinder to a dog was lost. He did finally take Saturday evening off from saving London but was back at work today. I can’t be too hard on him. He’s a man.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Some might say

Some might say I do my green credentials no good: my family of five plus all that rain recently has seen my dependency upon the tumble dryer grow. Due to overuse, said dryer now protests with a head splitting squeak with only the odd respite of a crunching sound. Usually He-who-must-be-adored can fix anything. Despite dragging it out from its hidey-hole in the Nativity Room, tinkering with tools aplenty, hovering its innards and adding a large dose of WD40, the noises continue – somehow louder. Am checking the weather forecast obsessively often as frankly there is a limit to the amount of torture by laundry a woman can take.

To drown it out I plug myself in to Paul McK on the ipod. A first for me – daytime listening. Heard a whole host of utterances that previously passed my snoring brain, but that is usually the only time I have for self-help. Takes multi-tasking to a whole new level: sleeping and brainwashing, almost as good as talking and walking. Am not certain how my battle with the bulge is this week: I may be fatter than I'd rather be, but I feel fabulous.

Still fighting to get fit, the MBTs get the thumbs up. Not because I am the proud owner of a toned sleek body. I am not that deluded. Yet. But they have deleted the lower backache. After only one day of no bouncing I woke with the old backache. I couldn’t wear them yesterday as even I – creature comfort extremist – drew the line at orthopaedic-looking trainers and floral skirt combo. Not until I've tried it out at home a few times first.

To Barnet yesterday: for the Smiler’s son’s first holy communion. Gorgeous he looked too. It was a marvellous gathering of the clans for adults and lids alike. No amount of Mr McK’s brain re-programming could help with a buffet table heaving with sweet creamy delights. The Tweenager proved to be a girl after my own heart: after turning up lip glossed in a little black dress, she bemoaned not bringing her trainers. There the differences ended: her attire didn’t stop her playing footie with the rest of the dustbin lids. I say I have three lids. She says two lids and one young adult.

Family news: Inspector Gadget’s latest obsession is price watching watches. But not just ordinary timepieces, he’s watching watches that give altitude. After a recent walking holiday he’s in gadget heaven with the discovery of a whole new gadget orbit. Although yet to purchase one, he’s eyeing some that also contain a compass. If this hill-walking lark takes off I may suggest he gets a defibrillator thrown in.

Supersis is on the move. For a girlie weekend in warmer climes. Jealous? Moi? Massively so. But it is her birthday I suppose. I just don’t like her leaving the country. In fact I hate it when we’re not in the same county. Then again, I don’t begrudge her the break – just the shopping.

Virgin on the ridiculous I have two emails from Virgin Media in response to my one e-form. I am now the proud owner of two reference numbers and a promise that I’ll be responded to within 48 hours. That was five days ago.

Thursday 10 May 2007


Am getting a bit worried now. Praying I have only joined the green ink brigade on a temporary basis. Find myself getting hugely frustrated (though obviously not as much as the Michael Douglas character in that film). Is it because I don’t smoke?

Much as I love technology, automated phone systems are crap. Would like to change my comms supplier, but am scarred by the business of changing energy supplier. For dull complicated reasons I have two gas and two electricity meters. ‘The computer says no’ said Npower – their computer kept deleting my second account. After 48 hours on the phone and numerous emails, it was finally resolved a mere three and a half months later.

Have been trying to speak to Virgin Media for a very long time. Tonight I found a form on their website and typed…

“Are there any real virgin people?

Am hugely frustrated and v fed up with the number of attempts I've made to speak to a real virgin person for more than a month now.

In general I don't have more than half hour at a time to spend in a telephone queue during your working hours. My husband found some new route round your automated telephone system last night and managed to leave a call back request. Today the sales team called - and gave me another number to ring. Tried to get through tonight for 20 mins but then my time ran out (without boring you, as well as hanging about in 'phone queues I work plus have three beautiful kids to taxi about, feed, entertain, bath, and put to bed. One of these days I'll fit my own life in somewhere).

Am fed up with kids bending my ears about their disappointment re loss of sky1 and husband same re skynews. Now I am disappointed to discover how much cheaper SKY services seem to be.

Would now like to disconnect from you but this form says I need a password to do that. I don't have one. This form says if I don't have one; just contact the customer care team on 0845... Am losing the will to live. Help! Please?”

But when I pressed ‘send’ Step 2 came up asking for my password again. A box below that suggested I ring…. I ignored all that and gave them every other bit of info they requested, just stopping short of my bra size.

Am just so v tired by it all. All day wearing of MBT trainers hardly helps. My legs are especially tired. Why it’s as if I’ve done a work out or something. It may just be the extra bulk I’m carrying on the edge of my feet. Ankle weights would have been the cheaper option and less likely to give blisters. But have made the investment now so will be wearing them ‘til either they fall off me or I fall off them.

Supersis’s boss now ‘needs’ a pair too. She reckons within a month of wearing them her body will be transformed. Although she’s a bit worried she’ll look like an alien embryo with elongated over-developed legs. Mmm attractive.

Captain Chaos didn’t think much of the new shoes and certainly doesn’t buy into the marketing hype of what they do for the figure. When I told him to watch the arses of Supersis and myself as they become more defined he quipped he’d keep a close eye on the back of our knees. Bastard.

Went to bed with Paul again last night. Not sure whether you are supposed to nod off as soon as the McKenna starts muttering in the ears. Woke with a start at 3am as the ipod dropped to the floor. So obviously didn’t hear the bit about opening eyes and feeling refreshed etc. Some of it is working: I got up and glanced in the mirror this morning and instead of thinking how round my face is, I thought ‘hello gorgeous’. When I explained this to the Forensic Examiner she questioned whether my feelings of inner loveliness would remain when in a bikini on a beach this summer?

Tad harsh me thinks!

Tuesday 8 May 2007

The Pain of the Gain

The non-smoking podge is getting out of hand. As was the weighing obsession. Weighed myself at Supersis’s as a test of whether my scales were as out as much as He-who-must-be-adored reckons. Hers weighed me 41lb heavier than at home. Could I put that down to the munch moment I’d had on the way round? Probably not. Sadly, since giving up the fags I now weigh over 20lb more. So you can see where the obsessive bit has come in. I mean it’s just not possible for your entire wardrobe to shrink is it? Comments from Captain Chaos about my ‘rounded’ face don’t help either.

So, persuaded He-who-must-be-adored to kindly hide the damn scales. I never used to weigh myself so often, but then I never used to weigh so much so I didn’t need to. Thought it might all be having a detrimental effect on my daughter’s attitudes to the self-image, but realised as they both have perfect bodies I’m the only one with a mental affect.

New week, new approach. In fact a two pronged approach to my burgeoning figure. One was the purchase of MBTs – a training shoe that acts like a workout. Working your muscles with every step you take. Hooray. As someone who has a slight lack of motivation to exercise plus a penchant for all things calorific this seems like the answer to my prayers. Pity I can’t wear them in bed, now that would be a best seller. Anyway felt slightly nauseous trying them on as you have to get used to the strange rocking sensation. But I wore them for a couple of hours last night and did feel very Tigger like – had a strong desire to bounce. Very odd. Within a couple of months my buttocks will be perfectly worked and formed. Out of respect to the manufacturer I took them off to eat chocolate cake.

The second prong is going to bed with Paul McKenna. Have put his CD on the ipod and am letting him brainwash me into not over-eating. Apparently I have to love myself more and ask am I really hungry? I know I am not but as what I’m really hungry for is a cigarette, calories will have to do. Except they don’t do it for me in the same way as nicotine. Yet I can no longer stand the smell of fags. Yet I eat because I can’t smoke. Yet I don’t want to smoke! Confused? Yes. So Paul to the rescue. He’s going to show me how to love my energetic healthy self. Can’t say it’s working yet, but it is only day 2. Will keep you posted on developments.

An update on the Boots super cream: well I’ve only got the serum and that’s doing wonders for a more youthful face. Although it has to be said, now my face is rounder, so the lines are less obvious. If only I could keep the weight on my face instead of round my middle. But Supersis attempted to accelerate the anti-aging process by using the serum and the cream. The result? Not a pretty sight. Her face, especially her eyes rejected her attempts to turn back time by puffing her face out of all recognition. Poor thing woke believing she had elephantiasis. Luckily it is on the way down now. So she’s also bought some MBTs to alleviate the pain.

Thursday 3 May 2007

The nature of things

Determined to do my green bit I carry a bag of Mary Poppins proportions, but with less style. A small trip down the High Street with the Little One saw us refuse at least of six plastic bags. With hindsight throwing a half pound of butter into the mix of ‘my life in a big bag’ wasn’t the best idea for a sunny afternoon. Three cheers though for the London bag designer with the slogan “I’m not a smug twat.”

Should move to Modbury where plastic bags have been banned - a local resident – a wildlife camerawoman - shocked shopkeepers with pictures of the effect of bags on Pacific marine life. Can’t imagine having the same success in Palmers Green even though most local trees have at least one plastic bag in them – and why is it always that unfashionable blue hue.

Inspector Gadget complained again last week about his nickname before turning to He-who-must-be-adored to ask did our trees needed trimming. His latest internet-purchased toy is an extendable chain saw type thing. The danger bells were ringing loud as Inspector Gadget reckons we no longer need tree surgeons. But I just know if He-who-must-be-adored has a go at the trees himself they’ll be half destroyed, will never recover their beautiful natural shape and I’ll have to do the driving to A&E.

Class 1’s latest topic is a hot box of fun and the Little One’s stationery obsession pales into insignificance as she hunts the garden for ‘mini-beasts’. I share the enthusiasm by buying a bug box – mainly so the creepy things aren’t crawling round my kitchen. Persuaded her to share her pet snail and other ‘mini-beasts’ with Class 1 as after only one night in the bug box they looked half dead. Let’s hope they fare better in the classroom.

The Little One woke crying about a small personal problem. The following morning I was at the chemist, but obviously not the nearest one as the pharmacist is a mum at the school. I traipsed further afield to discover that particular mother had moved jobs. Is there no privacy in this world? She asked how I’d diagnosed the problem. My response was slightly louder than it needed to be, but she was left in no doubt as to how and the queue behind me visibly retreated. I wonder whether Class 1’s mini-beast display would be improved with the addition of a small collection of threadworms? Anyway, we’ve all taken the worming tablets now and are all clear.

That episode sent me on a rare cleaning frenzy. The playroom especially as I’d forgotten the colour of the carpet and couldn’t remember the last time I cleaned in there. I set about with great gusto, ruthless in my ambition to make it look like a room and not a long-forgotten dumping ground. Now the toys that get played with can be reached, outgrown toys are in a pile to go – somewhere, anywhere, out of here. I threw away all sorts of useless things. As I put bits of tutt in the rubbish I wonder where they all come from, and whether He-who-must-be-adored would later quiz me on their whereabouts, as is His nature. I gave up with the clear up when the wheel fell of the hoover.

Nothing seems to work properly for long in our house. He-who-must-be-adored returned from a Doctors check up to cheerfully inform me our bathroom scales were out by half a stone. I agreed I’d noticed the numbers notching up rather quickly. Sadly, He informed me ours were weighing half a stone LIGHT. The non-smoking podge is even worse than I feared.

The next day He-who-must-be-adored called asking whether I’d seen a wing nut? If only I knew what a wing nut was? It’s like the bike all over again! It’s small, round and metal, he said. And it helps the wheels stay on the hoover. I asked did it have little bits sticking out? Yes he said.

In that case it’s in one of the many rubbish bags

Thursday 26 April 2007

Everybody's Talkin'

Everybody’s talkin’ about the Anya Hindmarch bags as sold by Sainsbury’s. I was keen to show off my green credentials with ‘I’m am not a plastic bag’ writ large. Hindmarch. Spindmarch! He-who-must-be-adored thought I should get up at 4am and queue. Don’t be ridiculous, I said, it’s a bag! I asked Sainsbury’s Manager at Highlands Village the previous day and she said, quite plainly, as did the website, the bags would be on sale at 8.00am when the stores opened.

I relented and got to Sainsbury’s Highlands Village at 7.30am. Was surprised at the lack of queue but did spot about six women sitting in their cars. Imagine then, my surprise, when at 7.45am I decided to form an orderly queue and read a hand-written sign on the store door saying they were all sold out. To add insult to injury they suggested if you really wanted one, look on Ebay. Gutted I was. Not only that they were sold out, without a queue, but before the store was actually open! Shock took over. Firstly by another customer’s angry reaction to the security guard – as if it was his fault, and no amount of shouting would make a bag materialise. Then by the store’s admission that the manager handed out tickets at 4am. 4am! Are these people mad? What happened to an 8am opening?

Worse was the thought of admitting defeat to He-who-must-be-adored. I drove to Sainsbury’s Winchmore Hill and was pleased to see a rather long queue. They had 90 bags and had already given out 90 tickets, but at least there is honesty in a queue. Three people were on standby to go to their local stores, on my behalf, in my desperation for one of the damn bags, including the pensioner mother of the Forensic Examiner. They all drew a blank.

headed home downhearted for He-who-must-be-adored’s ‘told you so’. He was surprisingly kind, saying if He’d known it was a ticket system, He would have got up at 4am for me, but there was no way He was prepared to fight with women over bags. Fair point.

As usual Supersis cheered me up. Not with a bag, unfortunately, but I’m trying to convince myself, unconvincingly, that I didn’t’ want one anyway. But I do. I have a pathological hatred of plastic bags at the best of times. I use the re-usable bags from M&S and Tesco for the weekly shop but they keep ripping at the bottom and the handles pop out which the Little One then uses as drumsticks in a really unhelpful and annoying manner. The Anya bag looked lovely, rather strong, and with comfy handles too. But, I’m over it now. NOT!

Supersis, being a Super Sis came to my retailing rescue last night by turning up with the other product everybody’s talkin’ about. The Boots No 7 cream - as featured on Horizon, as the only cream that really halts the march of time on the faces of oldies. And I now have some. A star my Supersis is. Just watch this face. In four weeks time I’ll be visibly younger. And everybody really will be talking about that.

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Just the two of us

He-who-must-be-adored and me had a rare day off together yesterday. Let’s face it though it’s hardly a day off when it only lasts ‘til school pick-up. Weekdays obviously still include sorting the dustbin lids out with breakfast and lunches; dropping them off; quick supermarket sweep for more milk and fruit; the compulsory couple of loads of laundry; plus impressions of a taxi driver for evening activities. Without wanting to sound ungrateful or resentful (moi?) …A half-day off was had and out to lunch we went. Together. Just the two of us. Just like it used to be.

Aimed for the Italian sarnie centre with cosy chairs but the route there took us past the pub. As it was just we two, and we being adults ‘n all, He and me dived into the pub. Twas all a bit odd though, just being two, instead of five. At least it was a non-smoking pub as the thought of being in a smoky old hole during daylight hours is so far removed from my reality I don’t think I’d have coped. So He and me had a pub lunch. Food was average. But as I wasn’t involved in its preparation it seemed averagely fab.

As soon as we’d eaten He-who-must-be-adored thought we might as well push off and do something useful. I made him sit there. And relax. Good time slightly marred by me having to explain that having lunch together isn’t just about the food. Now am not certain he sees the point in small talk and really think He regretted not bringing his Soduko book.

Wonder is it because he mixes with the Gorgeous Boy too much that after 20 minutes he’d hit his sitting-still-threshold. You could see him squirming in his seat. It being a day off, I relented and let him go.

Neither of us generally does booze during the day. Not because we have an aversion to it or have some sort of moral objections. In the case of He-who-must-be-adored nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is a combination of children that need entertaining/sorting/driving about and us both being over 40.

Booze slows us down. Things that need to done take twice as long with booze inside you. Then we get grumpy with the lids and it’s hardly their fault that they interfere with our drinking schedule. So beer-o-clock is put back to after the dustbin lids are abed. But rules are made to be broken. On holiday it slips forward to their bath-time. Other times its after the evening meal has been prepared. And obviously on h-days (high days, holidays and hormonal days) the rules go out the window.

For a long time I didn’t bother with booze at all. Couldn’t be doing with small demanding children in the night, or early mornings with a hangover. So just sort of stopped it. However, since giving up fags it’s all become rather attractive again. Yesterday I threw caution to the wind and had one lunchtime spritzer. Lethal. I had to have a lie down before I could prepare supper. How sad is that? A strange sensation came over me at 3.30 with my eyelids becoming horribly horribly heavy. As if lead weights were hanging off them. When I woke 20 minutes later the Little One was hanging off them. Think she was just trying to prize them open.

Friday 20 April 2007

Something got me started

It’s so long since I smoked I’ve given up counting. The smugness of me grows daily.

Benefit of giving up No 329: losing the grey pallor from my face. My new healthy glow has been noted and commented upon. It makes me happy ‘til the penny drops. With hindsight being a wonderful thing I can see now how they might have possibly jumped to the wrong conclusion given that a) I am not smoking b) healthy glow c) enlarged chest and stomach d) smock tops. So for the record: I am not expecting. Anything. At all. In any way, shape or form.

Believe that weight and debt have a lot in common: so easy for the numbers of both to creep up quickly without you noticing but it takes a long slow hard slog to get them down again. Trying to break the vicious cycle by moving my butt more in free activities – like cycling.

All’s not well with Gorgeous Boy’s new bike. First the flat tyre. Although we have a guarantee from toys r us, neither of us can face taking it back. Their prices are kept low by discouraging any inkling of returns or complaints, by making anything other than buying as difficult as possible. Sometimes this even extends to buying. A policy that works, as I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than face their customer services.

So, He-who-has-to-be-adored ordered an Internet inner tube. Strangely it didn’t show up. After a week He rang: they’d been busy, what with Easter n’all. Silly us, we believe Internet buying to be quicker, easier and more convenient than visiting shops…at the opposite end of the country perhaps?

Meanwhile we return to the boy riding his sister’s bike, she riding mine with me running along behind.

Hurrahs all round this morning as postie brings an inner tube that He-who-must-be-adored gallantly fits before going to save London on ‘lates’. I cycled down on the boy’s bike for after-school pick-up. More of a free wheel really as its mostly downhill with just a tad of difficulty dismounting the cross bar wearing a skirt. All so my Gorgeous Boy could enjoy his bike. He makes it to the zebra crossing outside school when the chain comes off. Not for the first time I picture myself taking a large hammer to the new bike. Instead I try, along with two other mothers, to get the chain back on. I fail. Defeated I wheel the thing up the hill.

Don’t suppose He-who-must-be-adored will want to fix that damn bike again. Secretly, without any pressure whatsoever, I hope he will so I don’t have to take it back to that damn shop. Am having a bit of a hate hate thing with the bike.

Also…have been trying the equally trying customer services at Virgin media. To close my account. Am disgusted with poor service, and loss of the Simpsons and News on the Hour, whatever the hour, since they took over from Telewest and fell out with Sky. Have now given up holding for a real person on four occasions. Shouldn’t have bothered as am certain they won’t speak to me as the account is in He-who-must-be-adored’s name. At work today Captain Chaos managed to get through and spent two hours discussing, with an extraordinary large number of people, the case of crossed wires between Virgin Media and BT. All this because he foolishly thought he could change suppliers on Friday 13th. Since then he’s had no land line and the phone number he’s had for the past 15 years has now been issued to a new customer. Think I may just leave well alone as am rather attached to my number.

It’s almost enough to make you want to leave the country. Or the city at least. But not quite. Think it’s just a reaction to having spent a blissful weekend with Supersis at her place in the country. A real green fix. Looking out on fields. Seeing children romping in the open air. Watching horses do their thing. The sight of Gorgeous Boy carrying a trophy of a dead pigeon after his first shoot was obviously the low point. But I’m told that’s what country folk do: have a more practical attitude to animals than us townies. There, animals either have a purpose ie dinner, or they are pests. I was happy when I could get away with being an over-controlling parent who banned all weapons of any type, real or toy. Mums don’t do guns.

Except water pistols. Maybe.