What a weekend, I’m exhausted. Friday evening was excellent and a fitting farewell to Lydia. The guest list was selective and the ambience chilled. Matt was excellent as our barman and we gave up sticking to the bog standard cocktail recipes at about half nine and started making them up ourselves. We created a Lovely Lydia (vodka, apple juice, gin and America Dry over crushed ice) and all got very drunk on it. Mac appeared at quarter past eleven in his PJs complaining about the noise. Nothing like being told off by a stroppy three year old is there? Chastened, we kept shushing each other which made us hysterical with laughter. Charlie disappeared out into the garden with the dogs (all three were not very impressed either) and we found her, ten minutes later, having an earnest conversation with Junior Dog and Jessica Rabbit about the meaning of life and whether or not wearing stomach control pants are good for you. Frank and Marjorie bonded well with all the neighbours, even if they did refer to each other as wench and master after a few bevvies. A pretty good evening if I say so myself.
The rest of the weekend, on the home front, didn’t go so well. While I was out and about shifting boxes and moving furniture, David was transported right back to his childhood. “Cheapest cuts of meat, frozen veg and stodge” was his summing up of his Saturday shopping trip. Mac was allowed to run riot in the sweet and crisp aisle and, free from my restraint, threw all manner of E numbers into the trolley. David tried and failed to assert his fatherly control but Amelia countermanded him with the words “leave the boy, it never did you any harm”. The rest of the day was spent in front of the telly, Mac for the first time resisting all moves to go the park or to generally go out with daddy. Why go out with daddy when he could sit on the sofa next to his adoring granny shoving Haribo and Monster Munch in his mouth? Sunday was the same, with less crap food (thanks to my Saturday night intervention – I threw the lot in the bin). Until they got to Sunday lunch. Scraggy roast beef, frozen veg, watery gravy and the gooiest meringue for lunch. Pure sugar. Sunday afternoon was spent watching DVDs and groaning.
When I returned home on both evenings, I found my husband slouched in his arm chair looking bugeyed because of all the television viewing and my son on the ceiling because of the sugar. Amelia was smug throughout. She insisted that “a bit of sugar never hurt anyone” and “you’re far too strict on him, he’ll be a crack addict by his 18th”. I turned into an avenging angel on both days: on Saturday, after I threw the sweets and crisps into the bin, I sat simmering on the sofa, ignoring her and forcing her to watch Casualty. On Sunday I returned home, exhausted but determined that my son would run off some of the calories he’d consumed. We all went to Dulwich Park – Amelia stayed behind to bone the pilchards in tomato sauce. David wore the look I imagined he wore through most of his childhood. “It was awful” he moaned as Mac clambered over the climbing frame. “She’s so…..” he tailed off. There were a few words I could have chosen but bit my lip so hard I’ve still got the indent of my teeth on it.
However, she saved the worse for Monday. Lydia said that she and Matt would finish off the move and I invited them to lunch. For the first time I can remember, David volunteered to come to Sainsbury’s with me, Mac came too, obviously expecting a repeat performance of Saturday. We left the Sugar and Crap Queen watching a programme on barge renovation. In just two days she’s turned my child into a whinging demanding creature and my husband into a shadow of the man he was on Friday. Mac threw a tantrum in the sweet aisle because I wouldn’t buy him “jelly cows and elephants like Granny”. David had some sort of relapse by the fresh meat counter and had to be wooed into the wine aisle to recover. When we got home, Amelia positioned herself in the kitchen to tut at the amount of shopping I’d bought. Fresh everything was shoved in the fridge as she told me sniffily “it wouldn’t keep past Wednesday”. As I unwrapped the organic corn fed chicken told me I was a “slave to advertising”. She removed herself from my reach just as she told me that “I was a dreadful mother for not allowing Mac sweets”.
Good job really, at that point I was revving up and heading for the Sabatier knives. When she left to catch the 17.11 train, it’s fair to say we celebrated rather joyously and Mac, when offered an after dinner mint by Lydia, clutched his stomach and shook his head. He’s going cold turkey.