Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Monday, 29 December 2008
- two pieces of toast, butter and Bovril spread
- one spoonful of Mac's Cheerios
- one cup of tea
- six Quality Street fondant sweets
- one cup of coffee
- one apple pie (small)
- one ferrero rocher
- Soup, Country Vegetable
- crusty roll with butter
- half a dozen (okay, fifteen) chicken crisps with onion and garlic dip
- one glass of Ribena
- one murray mint
- one sausage roll (not sure why singular sausage roll wrapped in clingfilm but hey)
- one rich tea biscuit
- one cup of tea
- one Thornton's toffee (from Dawn at school gate "You eat them or I will")
- one cup of peppermint tea
- one custard cream
- another custard cream
- one murray mint
- one cup of coffee
- thumbnail (my own)
I'm assuming that the above is not going to win any prizes for the Healthiest Diet award but then, to be honest, I'm merely emptying the fridge (cupboards, hidey holes and sweet tins) in preparation for 1st of January when I shall be eating only healthy, green foodstuffs and drinking only pure water and the occasional peppermint tea.
Well. That's the plan, anyway.
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Friday, 19 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
But most of the excitement is reserved for Sunday and Queen Bee Mummy’s Festive Extravaganza. I’ve heard rumours that she’s employed the best Santa impersonator this side of Lapland, hired several snow machines and has a team of elves and fairies all ready to give a handful of festive fun to hyperactive children. He “can’t wait” and, when my mum’s brother rang last night to say that he’d be popping in on Sunday afternoon, Mac begged to still be allowed to go to Queen Bee Mummy’s house. I felt so sorry for Uncle Harry (he could hear the wailing) that I invited him to Sunday lunch as well.
Lydia did a very brave thing last night. She came to the cinema with me. Without Freddie. She was surgically attached to her mobile phone throughout and, when the nice men asked us to turn off our mobiles during the run up to the film, she said “not bloody likely” and risked the wrath of Sweet Munching Couple who were sitting directly in front of us.
“I’ve not left him. With anyone. Not even Matt” she wailed as I drove her to Surrey Quays in a locked car (for fear she’d bolt). “I mean, will he be alright?” she said as she speed-dialled Matthew for the third time in half an hour. “Is he okay, is he feeding okay? Does he miss me?” Matt’s answers were obviously short and not so sweet as she took on the look of a bulldog sucking a lemon soaked wasp.
I managed to get her through the ticket queue, into the popcorn section (where she hesitated for all of ten seconds before getting the biggest box of the confection that she could carry) and into her chair before she rang Matt again. “He’s not answering. Oh my God, there’s been an accident! He’s ignoring me because Freddie’s not breathing!” Sweet Munching Couple turned round and stared. She stood up, shooting popcorn everywhere and paced. Not easy to do in a cinema seat aisle.
It turned out that Matt was upstairs feeding Freddie when she rang and so missed all nine of her calls. I practically had to sit on her to stop her from leaving. “He’ll be fine, everything is fine, don’t worry, it’s okay, it’s okay, sssh, sssh….” I said, stroking her arm as if she were a racehorse that had been frightened.
Still. The film was good and after about the first half an hour she’d relaxed but kept checking her mobile for missed calls or texts. We exploded out of the cinema at half past seven and she received the news that Freddie was asleep, had been asleep for an hour, was fed, winded, changed and happy. I heard Matt say, witheringly “And I’m okay too” before she rang off. “Food?” she enquired cheerfully and headed off in the direction of Frankie and Benny’s.
As we ate our way through a pile of garlic bread (mobile phone sitting between us on the table) she revealed that she wasn’t quite getting the hang of this motherhood lark. I refrained from commenting. “I get so paranoid and worried and then panic. Even when everything is okay, I feel that I’m not doing it right or I’m not giving him enough attention or he’s not eating enough or he’s eating too much…or he’s not developing properly, he keeps getting hiccups..and…oh, I don’t know..…..” she shoved a slice of bread into her mouth and chewed mournfully. I told her that she’d just summed up Motherhood. “You mean I’ve got this Fear of Getting It Wrong and Associated Paranoia for the rest of his life?” she gaped at me. “Well, until he’s at least sixteen, yes” I said, quite encouragingly I thought. “Everything’s changed since he was born” she revealed as we tucked into Steak with Garlic Prawns. “I mean, poor Matt has taken a back seat and he does so much for both of us. He does all the nights while I try to sleep but I can’t because I worry that he’s doing it wrong and……well, down there is still not right.”
I’ve had discussions like this before. I’ve even shared intimate information with my mummy colleagues (even though I was cringing so much I thought I’d turn myself inside out). My friend Rosie once brought an entire tea party to a standstill by informing us that, after the birth of her pride and joy, her entire lady garden went numb for six and a half months. “I’d never have an epidural again – it froze the wrong bit.” she added, biting into a slice of carrot cake. Janey thinks nothing of telling you that “my minnie has stretched a bit”.
Lydia looked as if she was going to lay bare (as it were) an entire problem page full of issues and concerns and all over dinner. “I mean. After you had Mac did you and David wait…..well, how long did you wait until…..you know?” she whispered, leaning forward and draping her scarf into her coleslaw. I fudged the answer in a completely unsatisfactory manner and pretended I was choking on a prawn to avoid any more questions.
“My mum said that after she had me and my sister she was never right again.” She went on. “Mind you, she was quite pleased to get out of what she calls the whole mucky business so our being born was a boon to her. But it explains why dad went off with that barmaid from the golf club……” We ate the rest of our meal in silence, during which time she’d made a few decisions.
She outlined them in the car on the way home. “Number one, try and relax a bit more – look, I haven’t phoned Matt for half an hour! Number two, try to be less paranoid about his breathing and feeding. Number three, seduce Matthew when he least expects it.”
She seemed quite happy with this and even managed to put her mobile phone away in her bag.
Monday, 15 December 2008
I went with the conscious decision not to get too drunk, if at all. I still had memories of my first ever Christmas work party when I drank an entire bottle of red wine to myself, was uncomplimentary about the food (prepared by the MD’s wife) and insulted the Director of Finance by calling him an old fogey. I don’t remember coming home but the awfulness of my first Monday back can still bring me out in a hot sweat.
So, Charlie and I arrived just as Malcolm the DJ was revving up with some Motown. Hospital work do’s follow a set pattern – consultants stick with consultants, nurses congregate with nurses, porters gaggle together and admin staff, well, admin staff sit simmering in a corner, positively thrumming with energy. We know everything there is to know about hospital gossip/folklore/infamy. We are courted at the Christmas party. If you want your PA to go to the canteen every lunchtime for you for the rest of the year you buy her several drinks and talk loudly about how fantastic she is. If you want to have the best run clinic in the hospital, you’re very complimentary about your receptionists and appointment clerks and send a couple of bottles of wine over to their table and even deign to take them a sausage roll or two.
But not this year. The credit crunch dictated that the only food on offer were peanuts, all of the drinks had gone up at least a quid and plastic glasses replaced the usual receptacles. Still, the mish mash of decorations looked good.
Charlie was drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the handsome Plastic Surgeon from Mehico - they were both on the tequila not fifteen minutes after we arrived. I mention this purely because of an email received from Samantha, his PA.
“I know she’s your friend and everything but you could have told her that I was planning to crack on to Juan – she did everything bar suck his lime for him”
Yes, I had to read that twice.
My manager, a lovely woman given to the occasional cackle and the odd swear word, was on top form and only left the dance floor to request tracks from a beleaguered Malcolm. He’d spent the morning bragging to me about how good he was with his decks but, quite frankly, I don’t think he was up to the job. He looked quite relieved when John from Transport took over with the karaoke hour (that lasted an hour and a half). Classics included myself singing Mercy, the Director of Surgery singing “I am the one and only”, a group of canteen staff doing an Abba medley and Bill from Security bringing the house down with “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”. Literally. His booming voice reverberated through the room, shaking the foundations and loosening the fairy from the top of the tree.
Karen emailed me with “Who was that leggy Scouse redhead who thought she was Beyonce? I’ve asked everyone (I managed to get a picture of her on my phone) but no-one knows her or who she came with? Let me know as soon as you can, if not I’ll speak to Jackie in HR.”
We hate it when we someone manages to slip through our net.
The speeches were mercifully short. The Director of Surgery (looking very uncomfortable in his sparkling Santa hat) thanked us all for our hard work this year. He received a bit of heckling from the porters – as Fred said in his email to me “he barely acknowledges us during the year – unless it’s to carry his bags or park his car. He bought us a couple of jugs of beer, called me Phil and congratulated us on our trolley pushing.”. He’s not a bad bloke but his forgetfulness and tactlessness is legendary. He once, in a staff meeting, wished all of our nurses a very merry Christmas and a restful Christmas Day. All of the nurses present were working on the day itself and were more likely to see Santa coming down the chimney.
I didn’t drink that much (a couple of vodkas that I reckon I danced off) whereas Charlie got involved in a very loud and drunken argument with Juan. “I work for a top London hospital, with top consultants!” Charlie said sniffily as she missed her mouth and tipped tequila over her left shoulder. “What ees better? A consoooltant working at a top London ‘ospital or a consooltant working at a teaching ‘ospital?” Juan countered as he poured her another drink. Charlie couldn’t answer that one as she was distracted buy Emma from HR skidding on the spilt tequila and crashing into end of the bar and dislodging a motheaten stocking.
As Emma said herself “all the drink I’d tipped down my neck and it was a spilt one that made me fall arse over tit!!”
My skirt (pictures to follow once I get them developed: I didn’t take my digital camera as I “lost” the last but one one at a similar do) went down particularly well with the porters and transport boys. Although, as Janice was heard to mutter, “that lot’d wolf whistle at a woman in a body bag if they thought they were in with half a chance”. Janice, it has to be said, tries very hard to be the Office Vamp but, as Johnny the Male Nurse insists, is more like the Office Tramp. She was wearing six inches of makeup on her face and what appeared to be a crocheted dress that, as the evening wore on and the place got hotter, seemed to head south. The transport boys were taking bets as to what would fall off first: her dress or her makeup.
Thankfully, the night was over before either bet was won.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
7 things I must do before parents arrive - in this case my MIL
1) attempt to pass off Sainsbury's Christmas pudding as my own
2) put festive lights up at window
3) bulk buy Kalms and paracetomol
4) get rid of my cold
5) buy Amelia's present
6) clean out fish tank and rabbit hutch
7) clean oven
7 things I've been doing instead of preparing for Christmas
1) finding old books and re-reading them
2) worrying about what to buy for people
3) being ill
4) gossiping with Charlie
6) watching films about Christmas
7) searching online estate agents for suitable holiday homes
7 things I can't do this Christmas.
1) be with my mum but she'll be with me in spirit
2) relax - my mother in law keeps me on my toes
3) eat what I want, when I want (mother in law)
4) watch Lassie (I'll cry)
5) play Monopoly (David is allergic to it)
6) have a lie in
7) go to bed early
7 Christmas wishes
1) a white Christmas
2) to miraculously lose a couple of stone overnight
3) a safe return for all of our armed forces fighting abroad
4) a new car
5) to have Christmas tree lights that don't conk out on Christmas morning
6) Amelia to lose her voice
7) that the turkey fits into the oven with a minimum of shoving
7 things I say as Christmas approaches
1) "Santa can see you, you know"
3) "Who's bloody stupid idea was it to make this sodding Christmas cake anyway?"
4) "I've bought a present for Mac/David/Charlie/Auntie Ivy but can't remember where I hid it"
5) "Oooh, hope it snows!"
6) "Where did I put the sellotape?"
7) "Ah, it's not Christmas until the Coke advert comes on!"
7 Celebrities I'd invite for Christmas dinner
1) Ray Winston - I could listen to him all day
2) Joe Swash - he could tell me all about the jungle
3) Beyonce - she could provide the entertainment
4) Strictly Come Dancing crew - but not Tess Daly or Arlene Phillips
5) David Ginola - just to look at
6) Davina McCall - just to sit her next to Bea and compare them
7) Brian Dowling from Big Brother 2 - he's lovely and he has me in stitches
7 Favourite festive foods.
4) Mince pies
5) Bubble and squeak
6) Chocolate brazils
7) M&S mini yorkshire puds with beef
I'm passing this onto anyone who wants to partake! Go on, it's fun!
Friday, 12 December 2008
They’ve spent literally pounds on the decorations and, what with everyone’s random decoration donations, it’s a very bohemian effect. “Cheap” as Charlie pointed out when she rang me earlier this afternoon. I’ve donated the hated tinsel and have draped it around the stage area where Malcolm will be giving us his all. Other donations include a broken bell, some white baubles and two motheaten Christmas stockings. I've put them up on either end of the bar.
Charlie is coming as my guest tonight as the hospital she works at has banned their Christmas party altogether. “No official Secret Santa, no party, no half day shopping annual leave – Scrooge is alive and well and working in our Finance Department” she grumbled during her call to me – she was asking me how “posh” she should dress. I watched as my colleague Karen scaled the height of the mangy Christmas tree to put the rather bedraggled fairy atop it and suggested she dress for comfort rather than glamour.
The peanuts arrived in huge bags, they’ve obviously fallen off the back of a lorry somewhere and I gave the bar manager a very frosty look when he suggested that I add salt to them to “force everyone to buy drinks all night”. I shall be steering clear of all nibbles, especially those on the table to be inhabited by the porters. I’ve seen the state of their office.
So. I’m about to get ready. A tidge early maybe but I want to test drive my skirt that Auntie Ivy has declared “too short”, David has decreed “too long” and Mac has stated it’s “pretty”. It sits on my knee, black and white tartan with a little ruffled underskirt and I plan to wear it with a relatively plunge top and 70 denier opaque tights so no-one will glimpse anything they’re not supposed to. I need to do standard things in it: sit down, stand up, lean (on the bar), bend down (to pick up drunken colleague if last year is anything to go by) and have a quick boogie.
I left my colleagues doing their own version of the Boots advert – it should be a good night!
Monday, 8 December 2008
The tree, if I say so myself, is a work of art. We had a pretty trying day, Mac and I. Despite winding the Christmas lights round an old bit of wood, the buggers were entangled. Senior Dog, who hates upheaval (you'd think he be used to it, living in this house) retired to the sofa throughout whilst Middle Dog ate his way through a roll of wrapping paper and spent the afternoon sitting in David's chair, belching. After calling the emergency vet, I was instructed to "keep an eye on him" - he was never far from my line of vision but has done nothing majorly dramatic (keeling over) yet. Junior Dog has been "helping" - we keep finding random decorations in strange places. Mac found a wooden reindeer in his bed, won't be parted from it as "Santa probly put it there" and has taken it off to school to show his friends.
Talking of friends, his social life for the next three weeks is rivalling that of an A-list celebrity - trips to the cinema, parties after school, Queen Bee Mummy's Fabulous Festive Sunday.....the list goes on. I, on the other hand, am having to make do with my work Christmas party next Friday and David's work do on the 19th - both of which have been downgraded in deference to the credit crunch.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
From: Joanna Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
Well done on the whole technological update! My pride and joy is a tad concerned that you haven’t got his list as he used the more traditional method of sending it to you – up Auntie Bea’s chimney. You can’t miss it: it’s got a gigantic reindeer on the envelope and reeks of Coco Chanel (Flavia the au pair bathes in it).
You may find it a little unusual for a thirty-burble year old woman to write to you but I’ve been touched by a little Christmas magic (aka the first mulled wine of the year), and found your email address written on a scrap of paper so I thought I'd give it a go.
To make it easier for you I’ll let you know the following first: I have been a very good girl. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if I wasn’t top of your Good List. Not just near the top but actually at the top of the very top. I’m also incorporating some of my friends lists here as well – this has two benefits. One, you get a concise list of our Christmas wishes and two you won’t have to wade through lots of lists so, really, I’m saving you time.
Oh. Mac has just asked me to ask you to check if Rudolph liked the chocolate chip cookies we left out for him last year. The poor child deliberated for ages before deciding on the cookies and wants to know if his decision was a good one.
For Christmas this year Santa, I’d like the entire Philosophy range (favouring Pure Grace on the fragrance front). If this isn’t possible then a few choice items would suffice – ask Mrs Christmas if you get a bit stuck as she strikes me as the sort of woman to know her exfoliating scrub from her bubble bath.
I’d also quite like something sparkly for either my fingers or my wrist And a nice watch, something that can withstand regular immersion in hot water, dribbling dogs and the occasional plummet onto a not-always-carpeted-floor.
I’d also quite like George Clooney. However, so does Tara and Potty Mummy so some sort of time share would need to be worked out. I’m sure George would be agreeable, we’re pretty damn fabulous. Tara would quite like David Tennant, that bloke from Spooks (she doesn’t clarify which one so perhaps all of them) or Hugh Jackman. If you come up trumps Santa, she’s in for a busy festive period!
Nappy Valley Girl would like Matthew Macfadeyn too – and if you could get his wife to stop making those ridiculous make up adverts that would be fab.
The Dotterel wants a quiet time please – he re-lived the Nativity this time last year so I think he deserves it!
Oh, Potty would like a stress-free spouse – can I put in for that too? As an additional present? Oh and NVG wants a voucher that turns her into a calm and collected mother who never screams at her children and thinks up interesting, craft related things for them to do indoors……wow, my list just got longer!
My husband David would like a chocolate fountain. That’s it. He’s not greedy.
My dad would like new knees. But without the pain, inconvenience or discomfort of actually having them surgically replaced. If he could just wake up one morning to find they’re both brand spanking new then that would be fantastic. If possible, could you let him know the date in advance?
Cousin Janey wants some relief from her piles. I’ve suggested a soft cushion but she can’t find any she likes so I thought maybe the elves could whip something up for her?
Auntie Ivy would like her own car, it hasn’t got to be a new one – in fact an older model would suit her driving style (reckless). She’s not too fussy about what one it is as long as it’s red.
Bea would like a never ending supply from Jimmy Choo/Manolo Blahnik/Christian Laboutin. Have you heard about the “win a bouquet of flowers every week for a whole year” competitions? Well, Bea would like to benefit from a “receive every single new designer shoe for the rest of your natural days” gift.
Lydia’s request is very simple. She wants to go to bed at a reasonable hour and stay asleep until a reasonable hour and for her baby boy to follow suit. Freddie doesn’t know the meaning of the word “sleep” and is trying to achieve a non-sleeping record for both mother and baby. We’re expecting the Guinness Book of Records to ring any day now.
Charlie wants everything. To be honest, she doesn’t know what she wants so very helpfully said “surprise me” when I asked her what she’d like for Christmas, which was closely followed with “everything”. I’ll leave this particular one for you to decipher – you’ve had experience of dealing with difficult customers.
Right. Well, I think that’s it, thank you. I’m about to press send…..and “test” some more mulled wine.
Lots of love from
Nunhead Mum xx
All about me
- Nunhead Mum of One
- 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.