Friday, 6 April 2007

Jolly Good Friday

Sometimes I know for certain that my mother-in-law loathes and despises me and would do anything to annoy me. David thinks I’m being paranoid “Your mother likes me!” he says, missing the point completely. Saskia and Charlie – neither of whom have MILs – think I’m being mean “Aw, she’s old and lonely, you should be nicer to her, you’ll be her age one day”. Even Bea, who’s own MIL is, shall we say, less than nice to her thinks I’m making several mountains out of one molehill.

I do feel for Amelia, I do. In my more rational moments I’m even quite misty eyed when I think of her struggling along on her pension in a Sevenoaks sheltered housing complex. She doesn’t make friends easily (hardly surprising really) and those friends she does have are either deaf, senile or both. Anyway, they’re all away for Easter with various relatives. The anniversary of her husband’s death is a date that I observe religiously, not only for David’s sake but for hers. It’s a day out for me (and I mean that nicely) as we visit his grave, take flowers and generally reminisce. My FIL Frank was a nice, kindly old gentleman. He’s been gone for nearly four years now and never got to meet Mac who would have loved him. See, as I write this, I’m quite well disposed towards her.

But then I retreat from my PC, just for a moment, and can see her scrubbing at my kitchen surfaces as if they’ve not seen a wipe with Flash liquid for several months. She’s already “been under the rim with some bleach” and ran her finger along the dado rail as she came down the stairs, peering at it with great disgust when she reached the bottom. She’s been here for nearly three hours. And she’ll be here until AT LEAST mid morning on Monday.

But the really annoying thing is the Easter present she bought for Mac. I know I shouldn’t allow myself to get irritated but I can’t help it.

David and Mac drove off at ten past nine this morning to fetch her – David had already promised they wouldn’t be back much before 4pm. He was going to take them shopping, have lunch out and then come home via the scenic route. Bless him, he does his best to understand.

At twenty past ten I got a phone call from Amelia – she was at Nunhead station and could someone come and help her with her bags. I nearly dropped the phone in shock. I burbled something incomprehensible and rang David on his mobile. He was as incomprehensible as I was. No-one in the entire residential complex knew where his mother was and he was fearing alien kidnap. After I’d calmed him down I told him his mother was here and he had 3 minutes to get home to rescue me.

Amelia looked like a refugee standing on the platform when I got there, draped in scarves and cardigans, clutching her coat. She was miffed when I told her we were on foot and demanded to know where the car was. Not able to tell her why it was parked outside Lydia Robinson’s house (still foiling Mrs Robinson Senior) I lied and said that walking was good for you. She tottered along behind me as I struggled with her coat, a suitcase and old-fashioned blanket bag. When I told her David and Mac had gone to pick her up she fixed me with an accusatory look. “I told him I’d make my own way here” she said, puffing to a standstill outside the newsagent. I was sent in to get some Mint Imperials.

On arriving home she sniffed and pointed out that we Still Had The Dogs Then. All three dogs escaped upstairs and not, hopefully, to roll on her bed. I must check actually. I made her tea, sat her down with an Ayres hot cross bun and the remote control. She immediately turned Sky on and started channel hopping like a teenager. David rang – he was at least an hour away, traffic had built up since this morning and was terrible.

That hour was the longest hour of my life. It was actually one hour and 1 minute but I won’t quibble. Mac arrived and threw himself on his granny and dislodged the remote control from her grip. “What are you watching granny?” he asked, looking at a motherly looking woman showing her television viewers and a simpering host how to make “simple and easy cards and the whole package costs only £25.99 including postage and packing”. Amelia sniffed. “Nothing darling, something your mother was watching, I Don’t Watch Much Television, It Numbs The Mind”. My jaw dropped several inches, mind already numbed with sheer boredom of watching a woman stick butterfly shapes on cardboard for the past forty minutes. I couldn’t even read Heat in peace, she kept making me look at television.

To relieve me of my MIL induced stress, David suggested a trip to Pets At Home to do the usual bulk buy for the dogs. Mac was employed to convince his granny to go with them. “We can look at the birds!” he chirruped, doing an impression of a budgie. I have high hopes for that child – he’ll be in Eastenders in about ten years, as a long lost Beale cousin. They left and the dogs returned to the living room. Twenty minutes there, twenty minutes back, at least 20 minutes in there thanks to Mac’s obsession with budgies. An hour. Bliss. And it was. Cup of coffee, two hot cross buns and a shopping channel free flip through Sky.

Right on cue, pandemonium broke out.

“Mummmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee!” came the childish screech as the car pulled up outside. I leapt to my feet and collided with Senior Dog in the hallway. “Look what Granny bought me!” he yelled from the path, struggling with a box marked “animals in transit”. The box listed alarmingly to the left and Mac nearly dropped it. Amelia was looking smug as she walked in to help him. “You must look after it darling” she said as the two of them decanted a rabbit into the hallway. All three dogs converged on the poor creature, no doubt looking for its squeak. Mac screamed, Amelia howled as Senior Dog trod on her foot, the rabbit crapped extensively and David clutched his head and a gigantic rabbit hutch. It was therefore left to yours truly to rescue the poor creature (the hall carpet was covered in little black pellets) and remove it to a place of safety. Just the thing to bring calm and balance to this household. The dogs will be pathologically jealous, David won’t have anything to do with it and Mac will lose interest once it doesn’t do tricks. I’ll be left as Chief Rabbit Cook and Bottle Washer. Do you see what I mean? She loathes and despises me.

Welcome to your new home Jessica Rabbit.


dulwichmum said...

She really is the sweetest thing.

Nunhead Mum Of One said...

This rabbit has a personality disorder. One minute she's sweetness and light, the next she's running round her hutch all but flinging herself at the suddenly flimsy looking door.

mutterings and meanderings said...


The bunny is a beauty though ...

All about me

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.