Sunday, 28 September 2008

Saturday night's alright for farting

I apologise for the title of this post but, really, it's the only one that could do justice to it. For farting is what we had last night, not "blowing off", "trumping" or - as my mum used to call it "fluffing". Of course, the two farters were the pregnant ones - Lydia, who can now only eat cous cous and Janey who has "had wind since I found out I was expecting but, my God, it's getting worse as the weeks wear on!" I shall be avoiding her for the last two months if last night is anything to go by.

Somehow between Friday night and Saturday mid afternoon our sedate girls night in had turned into a sleepover. The plan was to all pile into the living room and stay there overnight, regardless of pregnant bumps, bad backs and an aversion to lying on anything other than an airsprung mattress. This plan also necessitated the purchase of the following items: marshmallows, popcorn, Pringles, jelly babies, chocolate and peanuts - the latter were provided by Saskia who had raided the in-flight catering cupboard. Charlie bought along several fleeces and her duvet and half a dozen bottle of non alcoholic fizzy stuff. Bea provided the pink champagne and her well worn Henry VIII DVD. Lydia had raided her loft to bring four lilos of varying hues and shapes and Janey arrived with her back support cushion and Dirty Dancing and Grease on DVD.

The girls arrived within an hour of each other - I'd packed David and Mac off to Lydia's who was the first to arrive on a cloud of, well, odour. "Sorry, that's me" she pointed out rather unnecessarily, fanning her rear end. Junior Dog shot me a look lest I blame him.

Presents and dinner were over and done with by the time Strictly Come Dancing had started - Charlie was overwhelmed by her presents and was flattered beyond belief by all of us all night as Bea's present was a voucher for two for a spa break. I don't think I did myself any harm by revealing the majestic cake I'd slaved over for two days (and also telling her she was so pretty) but I'm going to have to wait for her to make her mind up who to take. I tried to ignore her comment of, that when viewed from above, her cake looked like a breast.

We oohed and aahed over SCD, turned over for X Factor (Charlie and Lydia are agog every week) and I recorded Casualty because: it makes Bea shudder (she's with BUPA), Lydia and Janey can't do "anything icky or hospital-fied", Saskia hates "that bloke, the one that looks like he's constipated the whole time" and Charlie who "works in a sodding hospital, I see enough of it during the week". Instead we watched Dirty Dancing and ate popcorn. In our jim jams naturally.

"Who is your ideal man?" Janey asked dreamily, delicately lifting her bottom from the lilo she was perched upon and letting rip. Cue many complaints and a request from Bea that I get the Airwick out. Patrick Swayze was doing his thang on the dancefloor and we all gawped for a few seconds. "Stephen" Bea said eventually. "Noooooo! I mean, if you could have any man that you wanted, who would you have?"

"Ray Winstone" Bea and I claimed simultaneously. "Really?" Saskia said, reaching for the Minstrels. "For me it's that bloke, you know, whasisface who reads the news" she went on. Several minutes later we deduced that she meant Dermot Murnaghan. Charlie admitted to finding Johnny Wilkinson quite attractive but voiced a concern that he was too short for her. "Get him some lifts" Janey suggested before claiming she wouldn't chuck Tiger Woods "out of bed". Lydia appeared to be thinking deeply but no, she wasn't. She was trying to "hold it in" but couldn't. While we all gasped for air and opened the windows she admitted to having a thing for Gordon Ramsay "even when he's swearing and shouting at people".

By half past eleven only Janey and I were awake. "My God, her farts are worse when she's asleep, wake her up!" Janey (hello pot, my name's kettle) said, shoving a fleece over her mouth and edging away from her lilo mate Lydia. Bea was fast asleep on the sofa, clutching a full glass of wine to her silk pyjamed stomach. Charlie had curled up on the other sofa with Junior Dog who was having a dream. Saskia was face down on a lilo with popcorn in her hair. "Put Grease on, we'll sing them awake" Janey suggested, doing what she obviously thought was a discreet passing of wind. "The drains Stephen, it's the drains" Bea muttered in her sleep before waking up with a snorty snore. Our resulting laughter woke the others up for a midnight showing of possibly one of the best films ever made.

And then it's all a blank until half past seven this morning when the most awful smell woke me up. It seemed that somehow, overnight, Lydia and Janey had synchronised their bottom burps (I just couldn't use the word "fart" again - whoops!) and were intent on gassing us out of our slumbers. Bea was still on the sofa (clutching a glass and a bottle of wine and wrapped in a lime green fleece), Charlie was half on, half off the other sofa and Saskia was somehow feet away from us with no lilo or cover of any kind. She claims she was "blown away" by the force of Pregnant Wind.

I've had the windows open all day.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Driving Aunt Ivy

Auntie Ivy passed her driving test. She is ecstatic at this and has decided that, tomorrow, she's taking Jim "down to the coast for the day". According to Janey, her father is checking his life insurance and making sure his will is up to date. She's asking everyone to keep an eye out "for a little run around cos I'm sure that Jim's Volvo is going to be too big for me to control" - Uncle Jim is looking like a condemned man and quite rightly so. When she pulled up outside my house this morning she announced her arrival by screeching to a halt, getting out of the car and fanning her flushed face "I nearly hit a bus!" she boomed cheerfully.

I've spent today cleaning, tidying, making a cake, decorating cakes, remembering (eventually) to get the chickens out of the freezer, chilling wine, making cous cous with roasted vegetables (thank you for the recipe Potty Mummy!), limiting the amount of Bob the Builder DVDs and facing the wrath of a child who insists that Daddy and Matthew are "dying to see them mummy!" A quick check with David - "he's taking about five is that okay?" - caused David to bargain with his son: "Just take that one and you can have some Haribo!" Faced with a choice between Bob the Builder or sweets, Mac went for the latter. He also went up to his room with a smirk on his face. It seems he's learning more than just numbers, colours and seasons at school.

So, I'm nearly all set for tomorrow. The girls are arriving at 12-ish. So. All I've got to do is.....take the dogs to the park, tidy up the living room which is covered in white stuffing thanks to Middle Dog and Junior Dog who had a tug of war with an IKEA snake, give a final clean of the bathroom, chop some salad, whip up to Nunhead Green for the Farmers Market, pop into Ayres for.....something.....erm......yes, put up some balloons and birthday banners, wrap Charlie's present, write her card..........

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Forward planning

I'm making this for Charlie's birthday party (Saturday).....but am going to jazz it up a little. To say she's excited is putting it mildly. Mac's excited too, he and David are heading over to Matt's house for a Boys Night In. "I've packed mummy" he said to me this evening as we had a our nightly catch up during bath time. "I've put in some clean pants and all of my Bob the Builder DVDs!" David and Matt are in for a wild time. So am I. Bea is bringing "mucho pink fizz darling", Janey and Lydia will be bringing their respective bumps (and a myriad of pregnancy horror stories no doubt), Saskia has promised to regale us with Tales from the Check-in Desk and the Birthday Girl has just rung to ask if we're dressing up. "Of course we are!" said I. She's now raking through her wardrobe, having a clothes crisis.

I'm doing my signature dish (well, they seem to like it) Lemon and Thyme chicken with "distressed" new potatoes (just whack them about a bit), salad and some couscous. I've not attempted the latter before but it's the only thing that Lydia can stomach at this current time. "I'm living on the bloody stuff. Don't half make me go you know". "Just buy it already made" said Saskia this morning when she rang to ask if I needed anything. "More time" I muttered having just realised that tomorrow is Friday, the party is on Saturday and I've done no cake making, no shopping, no tidying, no.......nothing.

Still, I have got a fantastic dress to wear!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Pins and needles

Ever wanted the ground to open up and swallow you? Yes? Well, you're not alone. Yesterday morning in Sainsburys I not only wanted the tiles to open wide and swallow me down, I wanted to disappear up my own exhaust pipe. I was alone (David had taken Mac for a much needed haircut in the Big Boys Barbers) and I had spent a very pleasant hour or so wandering round Sainsburys buying necessities and luxury items - I dithered for a full five minutes in front of the ice cream freezer before deciding that I needed two tubs of different flavours. I had purchased a number of glossy magazines, taken a call from Charlie whilst salivating in the Bakery section and was even on the verge of treating myself to a steaming hot chocolate from Starbucks.

All was well until I got to the till. Cashier With Extremely Long Nails threw my shopping down the conveyor belt and didn't engage in either conversation or eye contact. She informed me of the total of my bill ("Sixty eight fifty five") and held out her talons for both my Nectar card and method of payment - I handed her the joint account card. It was then that disaster struck. I couldn't remember the PIN number.

Nope. Little grey cells not willing to co-operate with my poised finger. Nothing, nada, nish. Cashier With Extremely Long Nails shot me a look and asked if there was a problem. I ignored her and tried to remember the magic number. There's definitely a 4 in it somewhere but the rest of the numbers eluded me. "I can't remember my PIN number" I said in a "silly old me!" tone of voice. "No PIN number?" CWELN raised a bestudded eyebrown. I handed her my own bank card and she swapped them over, looking at me as if I were about to run out of the shop lugging my trolley.

The queue behind me (incidentally, the longest queue in the entire shop) were gazing at me in varying stages of interest and pity. "Enter your pin" CWELN said in a bored tone of voice. "Hah! This PIN is dead simple to remember! I'll show you!" I said to myself and prepared to unleash my finger jabbing technique. Nope, couldn't remember that one either. Bugger.

I was burning hot with mortification at this point - my shopping was mocking me as I glanced down at it in the trolley in the vague hope that my PIN number would somehow be miraculously spelt out for me in the illicit chocolate fingers lurking within. CWELN was now buzzing for a supervisor and the crowd behind me were getting restless. One Dulwich Daddy (tweed jacket with leather elbows, casual jeans and the smell of Old Money) explained very patiently (and loudly) to his precocious child that "the lady hasn't got any money to pay her bill darling". I burned even hotter now and shot him A Look. He held my gaze, secure in the knowledge that his loose change could easily cover my paltry shopping bill. Of course, cold hard cash. I dropped my bag and rummaged round in my purse and came up with the grand total of £12 and most of that in pound coins. "What I always do is, disguise my PIN as a phone number and put it in my mobile under a fake name". This stunning piece of information was given to me by the woman directly behind me in the queue.

"Yes, I do that" I said through clenched teeth. "I can't remember my PIN, well PINs." I added to Dulwich Daddy who had lost interest and was now intently reading the label on his free range vegetarian pasta. "So, get your phone out and everything will be okay!" Woman Directly Behind Me gazed round to the listening throng as if she deserved a medal for stating the bleeding obvious. "My. Phone. Is. At. Home" I hissed. CWELN had now been joined by a twelve year old supervisor.

The decision had been made: Customer Services would hold my shopping whilst I went home to collect my PIN number from my mobile phone. CEWLN was already throwing items belonging to the Woman Directly Behind Me down the conveyor belt. It was then that I saw her. My saviour. My sister. Bea was hovering uncertainly in the shower gel aisle and I heard her ask a passing member of staff in her plummy tones if they had any "original Imperial Leather shower gel? My au pair hasn't showered for a week now".

"BEA!" I bellowed, making the supervisor who was heaving my trolley down to Customer Services jump five feet into the air. "Darling!" she shrieked back, pushing through the hordes of shoppers and air kissing me on both sides of my face. I explained my predicament and she proceeded to shower me with credit cards. The supervisor looked alarmed at this and began the retreat back to the original till. Bea and I followed. The supervisor waylaid another of her colleagues (this one looked barely out of nappies) and it was decided that we should proceed to Customer Services to do the dirty deed. "You can pay me back any time" Bea was now saying airily as we beetled along behind the checkouts. "I'm sorry about this" I grovelled to the supervisor and the Customer Services man. "It needs to be run frew agin" Customer Services pointed out. Back we went to a till, Bea lurching along behind me still waving her plastic. My shopping was emptied out of the bags and re-scanned whilst my beloved sister ran backwards and forwards chucking random items onto the pile. "For Stephen" she said as she threw a packet of wine gums in my last bag. The cashier who had been given the unenviable task of re-scanning my shopping was looking from me to Bea as she beeped my items. "Could this day get any more random?" I asked no-one in particular. Bea fixed me with her baby blues.

"Well, funny you should say that darling, I was only here right at this minute because my acupuncturist fell off a mountain in Wales and can't stand upright let alone stick needles in my cranium and On The Point of Emaciation Now Au Pair has developed an allergy to everything you could possibly wash with apart from Imperial Leather and we haven't a drop in the house"

What was I saying? Of course it could.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Firewalls, sequins and schedules

Well, I'm back. Returned to cyber space thanks to a pretty long and intensive rant to the IT company who run the IT for David's company. I was a woman on the edge and I think the Call Centre Supervisor I spoke to (for an hour) realised that. My blood pressure has only just returned to normal along with my heart rate - David has been shooting me worried looks (especially as he caught the tale end of The Conversation yesterday evening) and Mac has given me all of his red Haribo Bears without prompting.

My week started, as weeks tend to, on Monday. Dominic and Robert were due at any time. I had set up the laptop on the kitchen table and had turned on the PC in the living room all ready for them. I ate lunch whilst idly surfing (QVC, Facebook and the new Strictly Come Dancing site). Still no sign of Dom and Rob. I left everything running while I went to pick Mac up from school and sat watching the screensaver do its thang whilst listening to Mac tell me all about his day - it's certainly changed since my day (now I feel ancient) and I sat, goggled eared as he counted up to fifty and went right through the alphabet (in the wrong order but all 26 letters were there). Dom and Rob arrive ten minutes before David did at ten to six. "We'll have a quick look now and come back tomorrow yeah?" said Dom from Basildon. Their "quick look" held up dinner by an hour.

On Tuesday Lydia decamped to my sofa and we chatted idly whilst waiting for the IT Duo. They'd "helpfully" disconnected our internet connection while they had checked on the "IP address" so I couldn't surf. I went to pick Mac up (and met, for the first time, Queen Organiser Mummy) and returned to find Dom and Rob had turned up and were making Lydia her fifteenth cup of peppermint tea. They spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling and left at dead on 5pm, promising to be back "around eleven".

Wednesday morning and a prolonged chat at the gates with Queen Organiser Mummy who handed me a printed A4 sheet with the list of activities she had arranged for her son Oliver and the "rest of his class mates, so essential for children to have a planned social life don't you think?". Attached to the A4 sheet were "crib notes for parents" which listed the dos and dont's for various events. Mac had been invited to a range of events right up until 21st of December. Other mummies were similarly stunned - Red Haired Mummy was slightly miffed to discover her daughter had a better social life than she did. Dom and Rob arrived at ten to eleven and informed me, after twenty minutes of fiddling, that there was a problem. "Basically" said Rob "What you've got here is an elderly PC but a sprightly laptop. So what works on one doesn't work on another. Tricky." So tricky in fact that they knocked off at half two (after spending 45 minutes talking to their own helpdesk) with a promise to be back at 10am tomorrow.

10am on Thursday and no sign of Dom or Rob. Auntie Ivy rang from her intensive driving course to say that one of the instructors teaching her was last seen downing a bottle of brandy and the rest of the instructors were drawing straws about who was not going to take her for the reversing round corner lesson. The Dynamic Duo arrived at quarter past twelve, spent ten minutes looking at the laptop, inhaling loudly and muttering about "breached firewalls" before they picked up their box of tricks and said they needed to "check with the office" but that they'd be back "by five". They weren't. At half past five I rang the helpdesk and demanded to speak to a supervisor. After a few questions I informed the very nice sounding lady that I had "no SAGE installed, no sign of a firewall and absolutely no internet access". She told me that that wasn't possible as Dom and Rob were "the best in their field". I snorted and demanded again to speak to a supervisor. David arrived halfway through my rant (where words and phrases such as "travesty", "waste of space", "legal action" and "lazy incompetents" sprang from my lips). To give them their due, the Supervisor Section of the IT department were on the ball enough to promise me that their Senior Technician would be on my doorstep, come rain or shine, at 9.30am tomorrow morning and didn't even flinch when I hissed "I'll believe THAT when I see it!".

Friday morning. 9.35am and a very nice man called Jonathan arrived. He went into a flurry of tutting and sighing and mutterings for half an hour whilst looking at the laptop. When he got to the PC I thought he was going to expire. Still. By the time I'd left to pick Mac up he had all but sorted everything out - SAGE, firewall, internet, the lot. I bought him back a danish from Ayres as a thank you and he listened to Mac's chatter about the Halloween party he's been invited to. I resisted the temptation to ask where Dom and Rob were - no doubt cocking up another poor soul's cyberspace.

So. David has spent all evening on the sprightly laptop with his SAGE and I've been on and off the elderly PC. And all is right with the world.

But I have just five weeks to "source material for and make a Halloween costume" for Oliver's Horrible Halloween party, to be held at Queen Organiser Mummy's spacious abode overlooking The Common. According to my crib notes "mass produced shop bought items will be frowned upon - costumes or accoutrements" and if I want any help in making my childs outfit then I can get in touch - she has listed four different telephone numbers.

Nunhead: where it's at!

If you're in my general vicinity over the next week, or passing through on your way to wherever, stop, take stock and take a look at this before you set out - you might find something that'll pique your interest!

Let me see.......will be on the Green tomorrow for a bit of a barbie, up to the cemetery on Sunday and David is looking forward to Thursday's Comedy Night!

Phew......all this and a catch up of my week still to come. I think I need another lie down!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Feeling the love

Thank you to the lovely Dulwich Divorcee for passing this honour on to's come at the right time because David has arranged for his "IT guys" to come and install SAGE and some other gizmos onto our home PC and his laptop so he can "work from home more often". He is quite pleased about this. I, on the other hand, remember his rageous rant of last week when the IT guys completely - and here I am repeating his words exactly - "ballsed up the entire office system which ensured that all of our outgoing emails were copied to everyone in our address book and norsed up our internet connection and did something nasty to our firewall". I remember it well. David's cheeky email to me, along the lines of "am feeling fruity today, must be the weather" was catapulted to several people in several companies in the City and beyond - I believe as far as Canada. He only narrowly avoided major disaster (and a written warning) because the Second Big Boss' email to a company specialising in Thai brides (advising he would consider "no-one over 25") was far higher up on the gossip/disciplinary scale. Said Second Big Boss is now looking for a Thai bride during what I believe is called "gardening leave".

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes! Thank you again Dulwich Divorcee......I shall wear my award with pride and, before the IT guys arrive on Monday "any time between 9am and 6pm", would like to pass this award onto The Dotterel, Elsie Button, Millennium Housewife, Nappy Valley, Working Mum and Potty Diaries.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A tale of two pregnancies

Lydia is not entirely sure she’s done the right thing in allowing Matthew to a) impregnate her, b) move into her house and c) put her beloved sports car into Exchange and Mart and make suggestions about a “family car”. In my humble opinion it’s all too late to be thinking about this, she gives birth in about seven weeks.

“I mean, what was I thinking?” she demanded yesterday morning as she dug into an Ayres strawberry gateau without the aid of a fork. “He farts like a dray horse, he thinks Blackadder is wet-yourself funny, he eats cold baked beans from the tin and has started to call me Mummy Bunny. What am I doing?”

Wrecking a perfectly good cake, was my initial thought but I knew what she really meant. “Isn’t Matt the guy who saved you when you were at your lowest ebb, gave you the chance to be a mother and makes you laugh until you think you’re going to choke?” I said, wildly paraphrasing several conversations we’ve previously had on the subject. Just because I’m Matt’s sort of step-mother she thinks I want to hear the ins and outs of their relationship. I don’t.

“I know, I know, but he’s 26 and I’m……a lot older than that and I’m just worried that at the first sign of a pert bottomed blonde he’s going to take one look at the hag he’s saddled with and do a disappearing act.” Half the cake had been demolished now and she was swirling the cream all over the place.

I could see her point. Matt announced on their first date that he doesn’t really “do brunettes”. Lydia has burnished brown hair. On their second date he informed her that he’s got a “thing about pert bots, the perfect handful”. According to Lyds she hooted with laughter but then spent the next three weeks wondering what the hell he was doing with her as her bottom “was spreading as fast as melted butter”.

“Still” I said, rescuing a slice of cake from her grasp “He’s still with you and really looking forward to becoming a dad”. “Really? Has he told you that?” she demanded. Not really, I said, but he’d told David he was “dead keen on being a dad and you know, like everything”. For Matthew that’s over-excitement on a grand scale. Lydia didn’t look convinced. Apparently the cot had arrived on Saturday morning and she had to practically force him to put it together. “He said we had ages! Ages! I haven’t even started painting the nursery yet!”. More cake was mangled. “He doesn’t want to engage with anything relating to the baby – it kicked last night and he refused to put his hand on my stomach because it was too weird for words. He’s talking about going to Mexico next summer – how the hell can I take a baby to Mexico?”. I reassured her that Matt had been talking about going to Mexico for as long as I had known him and that it would never happen.

“Could you talk to him? Find out what he’s really thinking and feeling?” she pleaded. I laughed out loud at this. Matt and I don’t converse, we chat. Matt and I don’t talk about our feelings – I ask if he’s okay and he grunts. Needless to say he never asks how I am. I did the next best thing and told her I’d ask David to ask him.

At this point Janey arrived, sans Scarlett but with burgeoning bump barely covered by a T-shirt that read “Up the duff – again”. Immediately the baby discussions took on a competitive note:

Janey: I get morning sickness all day
Lydia: I get morning sickness all day and all night

Janey: I craved sardines with Scarlett and pickled eggs with this one. I had pickled eggs on toast for breakfast this morning
Lydia: I’ll eat anything and everything in weird combinations – for breakfast I had strawberry jam on cheesy Doritos

Janey: I’m peeing pretty much on the hour every hour
Lydia: I’m peeing so much now that I’m thinking of getting some TENA lady pads so I don’t even have to get up to pee.

At this point both Janey and I looked askance, Lydia squirmed uncomfortably on my cushioned kitchen chair and admitted she was pulling our legs. I don’t think she was. “I nearly threw up in the font on Sunday” Janey said, getting the conversation back on track. The gateau was fast losing its charms as Janey started wading through it with shocking pink painted nails. “Mind you, that vicar was getting right on my tits, banging on about religion”.


Last night, over dinner, I asked David to have a word with Matthew, outlining some of Lydia’s concerns and worries. He looked at me blankly, dropped his fork and swallowed heavily. “What? I don’t need to talk to him! He’s fine! Top notch. Can’t wait to be a dad! Dead excited!” he said with a nervous laugh before proclaiming himself “absolutely full, thank you darling” and heading upstairs for one of his marathon shower sessions.

Friday, 5 September 2008

The End: Big Brother 9

For those of you who have been watching I didn't want Rachel to win, I was rooting for Rex. For those of you who haven't been watching then you probably don't care BUT.......this advert (which was nicely tied in with the song that featured for 24 hours non stop in the House) was in one of the ad breaks and I love it! Big hair and big voice akimbo!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hello, goodbye

“I need about three quiches, at least 100 sausage rolls and some carrots cut up into poncy little sticks so we can dip ‘em in the gua….gwa….that green stuff that looks like a face mask”. This was Janey’s opening gambit when I answered my ringing mobile this afternoon. It seems we have dispensed with the usual greetings in my family: I spoke to Auntie Daisy this morning who greeted me with “Do you know of a hairdresser for a woman of my age that doesn’t do blue rinses?” and yesterday Bea responded to my “hello!” with “Do you know that that bloody girl has gone and done now?” It seems that On the Point of Anorexia Now Au Pair took Ian and Caitlin to Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and bought them a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts from Tescos. Each. “The poor darlings are projectile vomiting pure sugar!” Bea wailed. I quite forgot why I was ringing her.

Anyway. Janey. Scarlett’s christening is this Sunday and Janey has been let down by “Darren’s aunt Lola who can’t do the quiches or the sausage rolls now because she’s going to a bike rally now on the Saturday and won’t have time” And the carrot sticks and guacamole, I enquired. Janey paused to burp delicately “Sorry, bloody heartburn, I reckon this baby is lighting a fire in there. Right. Well. I had a chat with Bea the other day and she suggested that we go a bit upmarket with the food”. “Upmarket?” I said with a raised eyebrow, remembering almost word for word Bea’s recent email on the subject.

“Yeah, apparently, chicken nuggets, pork pies and mini eggs aren’t exactly the done thing.” Janey went on, sounding fairly miffed “So I thought we’d counter balance it with some posh nosh, soooooooooo, instead of chicken nuggets I’m going for goujons with barbecued sauce for dipping rather than ketchup. Would mini Kievs be better than mini eggs?”

I professed not to know. I really didn’t want Bea standing there with a stone cold mini Kiev and glaring at me accusingly. I’ve agreed to buy the quiches, refused point blank to have anything to do with sausage rolls and promised to buy a strawberry gateau from Ayres. Just as I was saying goodbye and about to hang up she bellowed “Oh, and can you get me some of that gwak-crap too? If I see anything gloopy at the moment I want to throw up! ”

Our farewells are going the same way as our greetings I fear.

Whopper, anyone?

Fancy a Burger King Whopper? Yes? To collect your vouchers click here!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Skool rules

Well. Do you know, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Mac was up at six, ready by seven and got extremely irritated with me because he couldn’t go to school that early. The children of the Reception class were practically gagging to get into the building while parents and grandparents stood forlornly in the playground watching as their bright, bouncing chicklets bounded and bonded. Mac was very excited to see Jonathan and the two boys were comparing satchels before you could say “pencil case”. Dawn, Jonathan’s mum, was pleased to see me and informed me that Overly Hearty Mummy had just bowled up with half of the family all crowding around Her Precious Jemima all “weeping and wailing”. I felt quite calm and assured compared to some of the others. One mother was getting short shrift from her daughter – we caught up with her as we left the playground (abandoning our children to the education system) when she was telling all who would listen that her daughter “wanted a Hannah Montana lunchbox and isn’t speaking to me because I could only find a High School Musical one”.

I spent the day wondering what Mac was doing but rallied enough to stuff the chicken for dinner and make a chocolate cake for tea. Rosie rang, the sound of wine pouring into a glass in the background, and revealed that Ben had to be prised away from her that morning by a “snotty nosed teacher” who informed Rosie that he would be “far happier when he knows you’ve gone away and left him”. Surely that can’t be right?

David had promised to be home by 3pm at the latest so he could do the evening school run but he came home early to find me mooning over a pair of teeny tiny baby socks. “Please tell me they’re for either Lydia or Janey” he said, a look of trepidation on his face. “Do you remember when Mac was small enough to fit into a pair of these?” I wailed. “Hm, something’s burning” was his reply. That man can be so heartless sometimes.

My pride and joy has been home for over half an hour now and full of what he’s done today at school. He loved it. He loves his teacher Mr S, he’s sharing a desk with Jonathan and “there aren’t too many girls”. Today they learnt all about what school means and talked about all the things they can learn. His “homework” for this evening is to think about who lives in his house with him (he has declared this “easy peasy”) so that they can talk about it tomorrow. He says he can’t wait for tomorrow and wishes he could go to school every day but he doesn’t want sandwiches in his lunch box he wants “those triangle things that Smita's mum got her". Dairylea triangles? Samosas? Who knows?

However, I was somewhat thrown when he told me that he is in the Dildo Group and has got a “dildo on his coat peg and dildo stickers for my book”. Once I’d picked myself up off the floor and calmed David’s muffled protestations of “that can’t be right, Good God!” I saw the picture of an armadillo stuck to his Form Book, resumed my breathing and have vowed to spend this evening getting his pronunciation right.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Not long now.....

It seems as though we're destined not to find a weekend retreat. It was all too depressing yesterday - the house looked lovely from the outside but inside it looked most unlovely. In fact, I was so depressed about it I made David stop off at Pizza Hut in Surrey Quays and ate a small Italian meat feast on the way home.

But to matters more interesting. Mac is now beside himself with excitement at the prospect of starting Big School on Wednesday and wants it "to be Wednesday now". I, on the other hand, am weeping and wailing (silently, I don't want to scar him for life by being a Clingy Mother) and trying to swallow the great big lump that's formed in my throat. "It's not as if he hasn't been at nursery for the past year" my oh-so practical husband pointed out when he found me crying over the highly polished "proper" black school shoes yesterday. That's not the point I said in muted tones - he was at nursery, now he's at school. There's a difference.

Nursery means Story Time on the Story Mat, Colouring in with Crayons and, for those that wanted it, Afternoon Naps in the Rest Room. School means Numbers and Learning and Break Time Without Orange Juice and Rich Tea Biscuits. I'm worried he won't like it, he'll have no friends, he'll hate his teacher or he'll get bullied. David is convinced that he'll love it, he'll have loads of friends, he'll adore his teacher and that he's too nice to be bullied. David also sees the glass as half full, not half empty.

I'm distracted to the point of distraction and find myself unable to think past Wednesday morning at 8.45am. Janey rang this morning to talk about the christening "do" on Sunday and I was very snappy with her. "Oh God, you're not sending him off to war, you'll be five minutes drive away from him!" she said when I revealed my problem. Auntie Ivy's problem is more pressing - she failed her driving test earlier today and, when driving home and in mid flow of what she thought went wrong on her test, wrote off the driving school car when she mounted the pavement and smashed into a bollard. Her instructor, a "gentle man called Steve", cried like a baby. "He'd only had the car a week apparently" Ivy said when I rang to see if she was okay.

Undeterred, she's signed up with another driving school for an intensive course and has put in for her test again.

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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.