Thursday, 30 April 2009

In Nunhead, no-one can hear you scream

I'm not panicking. No way Pedro. I'm cool, calm and collected. Serenity personified I am. So what that I don't have a new outfit with which to face the First Mrs David Mitchell on Sunday at my step-grandson's Christening. So what if the outfit I had planned to wear (after dragging it from the depths of my wardrobe and spritzing it with a bit of Pure Grace) doesn't actually fit me any more. Pah! Worried, moi?

I'm not at all bothered that David arrived home this evening, scalped. He'd been to the barbers for a "quick cut" because "Kate never did like my hair brushing the back of my collar" and now looks like he's had an argument with a combine harvester. I'm not at all worried about the fact that he's done this when he knows that I like his hair slightly longer. I'm certainly not stressing about the fact that he's thinking of his first wife and her penchant for short hair. Chuh!

I am not at all remotely interested in the fact that Amelia is arriving tomorrow evening with her photograph albums to "show round at the party". And I'm certainly not worried that she's "not bringing" mine and David's wedding album to show Kate because "well, she won't be interested, will she?"

I'm not obsessing that, after demanding my help for the last couple of weeks to source balloons, the perfect cake, the snazziest table decorations and the most fantastic DJ ever, Lydia has decided that she can run the show herself from now on. David thinks that this is a good thing as it'll give me the chance to "mingle and not worry about circulating the vol-au-vents".

So, I'm not worried. Completely disinterested in the whole lot of it. You know why? Because I have a cunning plan, drawn up whilst hoovering up Baileys at a vast rate of knots ce soir.

a) go out tomorrow and buy whole new outfit. Including shoes.
b) go to Shear Class for my hair appointment on Saturday and demand to made "fabulous". Also go to nail bar and have classy French manicure stuck on.
c) display my wedding photo proudly at the "do" after the christening (okay, so this bit of the plan may need a bit more work, ie, how to actually work the whole aspect into the day)
d) be gracious when Lydia claims all of the credit for the fantastic food, venue, balloons (again, this may need a bit more work, I don't usually do gracious)
e) stick close to Bea on the day itself in the vain hope that I absorb some of her poise, graciousness, serenity and calm by osmosis.
f) breathe deeply. At all times.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Thank you Bush Mummy for tagging you I'm very excited about doing this sort of thing!

1. What are your current obsessions? Tescos wine gums, finding the perfect outfit for Freddie's Christening, watching my garden burst into colour and trying to work out how best to convince David that buying me that very expensive watch for my birthday is his idea.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? My cosy cardie

3. What's for dinner? We had belly of pork with roast potatoes and broccoli

4. Last thing you bought? The Sunday papers and a Bounty bar but.....had I been writing this post after I'd visited Shiny Shack then it would have been this slanket which I plan to order forthwith to keep me cosy when I'm next in Pett Level!

5. What are you listening to? David reading a story to Mac who can't sleep. Mind you, by the sounds of it he's making Gullivers Travels sound so exciting he'll never sleep again.

6. What five items could you not leave the house with? Keys, mobile, purse, lipgloss, my sanity

7. Favourite holiday spots? Anywhere there's a beach for the dogs to go mad on

8. Reading right now? Wuthering Heights but I'm afraid I can't quite get into it....Bea's thinking of starting a Book Group.

9. 4 words to describe yourself: chatty, amusing, impatient, short-tempered

10. Guilty pleasure? Reading in the bath with the door locked

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? My friends and family. Even when they don't mean to.

12. First spring thing? Daffodils where I thought I'd planted freesias

13. Planning to travel to next? Pett Level in May

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Sticky Toffee Pudding and a vodka and cranberry

15. When did you last get tipsy? Ages ago

16. Favourite ever film? At the moment, Wild Hogs

17. Care to share some wisdom? It's not how you fall that defines you, but how you get up. Or something like that. It's better than Janey's current favourite of "sh*t happens!"

18. Favourite song? I know him so well, Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson

19. What did your last text say and who was it from? "That's lovely, am in all evening!" from Charlie

Rules of the meme
Respond and rework
Answer questions on your own blog
Replace one question
Add one question
Tag 8 people

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Tune in my head: 2 and 3

Up by The Saturdays. I'm driving everyone crackers with this, myself too but I just can't help it. Opinion is not at all divided: David has told me that if he hears me singing the "upbeat cheery chorus once more" he'll hunt down and eat my secret Easter egg that I have hidden from everyone, including my beloved.

Mac tells me that "it's silly mummy" when I start bopping round the house singing away to my hearts content. My son, it seems, has bypassed the Terrible Twos At Five Years and Two Months and has now reached Middle Age. Both he and his father sat opposite the kitchen table over dinner tonight tutting and rolling their eyes as I warbled "It's time to step it up a notch, I'm ready to lose touch". Their sighs intimated that I had already had.

Janey is on the cusp of hating it - "It's the only thing that sends Blue to sleep but by Christ it gets bloody annoying after the fiftieth time". Auntie Ivy asked me to "stop humming" yesterday (I'd reached the bit about "The is the crossing at the main intersection" and was beating out an accompanying be-bop beat on her newly laid kitchen lino) because I was "mingling with the dishwasher rinse cycle"

Charlie has mixed feelings towards it: "The students in the house next door have it on full blast every morning, it's an okay tune but not when it blasts you out of bed at 6am every day including Sundays"

And last, but by no means least, Bea has decreed there should be a ban of all "tunes by the colourful minxes" and "threw in" anything by Rihanna, but especially the song "about the umbrella".

Of course, I'm now singing this one too, sometimes cleverly mixed with Up - am I too late to audition for Britain's Got Talent?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Boys will be boys

Do you often do, as I do, and look to the sky and mutter “Why me?” Do you? Well, I’m glad it’s not just me then. School holidays are fraught enough without an ill child, a child that has fallen out with his best friend and is “distort mummy” and a child who has suddenly decided that he’s going to have his Terrible Two’s at age five and one and a half months.

It’s one and the same child by the way.

I realise that I’ve been blessed up until now with a relatively laid back, chilled, cool little boy that lets nothing (except thunder) worry him. I first knew something was wrong when, of the six Easter eggs Mac received, he only ate one. By 6pm on Easter Saturday he was clutching his head, vomiting with carefree abandon, feverish and whimpering. My initial gut reaction was to storm A&E but David calmly administered the Calpol (see, this is one of the benefits of the Older Man), soothed his son and stayed up all night with him. Me? I was relegated to wringing out the flannels and doing some whimpering of my own on the landing.

He was over the worst by the morning and bravely tackled a boiled egg and three soldiers. He looked everso pale and followed David round like a grateful puppy all day – I’ve never felt so useless. Mummies are meant to be invincible aren’t we? Mummies are meant to be able to do anything in the whole wide world. Mac kept shooting me baleful looks as if it was MY fault that he and Ben had fallen out.

Of course, this falling out preceded the throwing up. On the Thursday before Easter Rosie (my labour ward buddy) rang to suggest an outing for the boys (“Ben is driving me INSANE at the moment and I need to get him out of the house before I break something”) and said I could drop Mac off and she’d take him for the day to give me “a break”. Mac didn’t want to go to Ben’s house he said, he was quite happy at home “doodling”. His vocabulary has come on leaps and bounds just lately and, whilst proud of him, I suggested that “doodling” wasn’t energetic enough and that a run round Horniman’s museum would do him the world of good. He refused point blank to go, right up until the point that I put him in the car. I then spent the journey to Rosie’s assuring him that it would be fine and he’d have a lovely day. I gave Rosie twenty quid (assuaging my guilt) and drove home, trying not to think that I should have listened to my tiny boy.

On the way back I stopped off at Sainsburys in New Cross and, coming along Queens Road on my way home, I was flashed at by a police car. I checked my speed and carried on. More flashing and then the blue lights came on. I pulled over, instantly nervous and no doubt looking as if I had ten tonnes of hard drugs in my boot instead of a French stick and some cheese.

“Is this your car?” enquired the Burly Policeman. “Erm yes” I squeaked and then remembered that it was in fact David’s car “Well no, but it’s my husbands and he doesn’t know that I’m using it but I am insured to drive it and…….” I trailed off and wiped my sweating brow. “You’ve got no brake lights” Burly Policeman continued. “Really?” I simpered “I had them earlier!”. Why? Why did I say that? To assure the comely copper that I WASN’T as dippy as hell? Because it didn’t work. “Whether or not you had them earlier madam, you don’t have them now. Have you got far to go?” I assured him I lived a mere hop skip and a jump away and the distrustful little article FOLLOWED ME HOME! Is there no trust any more? Anyway, why weren’t they out catching burglars or murderers?

I rang David and told him to bring two brake lightbulbs home.

Then Rosie rang to ask me to come and collect Mac. She met me on her doorstep, Mac sitting on the windowsill, sulking. Ben was in his room, sulking. Apparently, both boys refused to set foot outside of the house and so Rosie suggested they go upstairs and play. She said she first noticed something was wrong when flakes of ceiling dropped into her bowl of soup. She raced upstairs to find them wrestling on the floor. “The Queensbury Rules were not being observed” she said wryly. After peeling them apart she threw her son onto his bed and told him to stop bleeding on his duvet and mopped Mac up in the bathroom.

Ben “accidentally” hit Mac round the face “with his nails” when he wasn’t expecting it and, in retaliation, Mac “accidentally” smashed a copy of “My First Encyclopaedia” into Ben’s nose. Mac has four scratches running from eye to chin and Ben has a sore red nose and an aversion to encyclopaedias. “I made them apologise to each other, they pretended that they meant it” Rosie added as I banished my boy to my car. “I’m sorry Rosie” I said, horrified. She was very relaxed about the fact that her son may have an altered appearance and was more concerned that I didn’t let Mac’s scratches go septic.

On the way home, mid-lecture on Nunhead Lane, I was flashed again by a police car, this time with his blue lights flashing merrily away and even a “whoop, whoop” on his siren. Mac, no doubt thinking they were coming for him, started gabbling that he was “sorry mummy and I’m going to go home and clean my room even though I am distort”.

You’ve guessed it, no brake lights on my car either. Same Burly Policeman stuck his head through my window and said. “What is it with you and brake lights madam?”.

To give David credit, he didn’t sound remotely fazed to be asked to pick up four bulbs.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Tune in my Head: 1

I can't get this song out of my head.....I didn't see the spectacular performance on Britain's Got Talent but I've seen and heard all of the soundbites since. I've seen Les Mis about, ooh eight times, and spend roughly 85% of each performance in tears. This isn't my most favourite tune from the show but Lordy, I've done nothing but sing it!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Normal Service

I've almost managed to put the horror of Amelia's Stay behind me. I no longer automatically check the calorie content of anything I put in my mouth just so that I can quote it to her when she asks me. I'm even back to slobbing out in T-shirt and trackie bottoms when at home - apparently this was further evidence that I'd "let myself go", as if she needed more proof than my stack of shop bought desserts in the freezer.

David no longer wears a hangdog expression and could be heard to loudly shout "Bollocks!" yesterday evening when a football pundit said something he disagreed with and didn't even say "Whoops, penny in the swearbox!" afterwards. That's one of her favourite sayings is that, although her idea of swearing (crumbs, crikey and fiddlesticks) is so not my idea of swearing. I've always said that, if you're going to have a good swear up, make it worthwhile. I had a very enjoyable afternoon on Monday in the garden effing and blinding like a navvy. Jack Next Door looked up from planting his begonias to ask if Amelia got off okay.

Her relationship with Jack seems to be cooling - they're no longer at the finishing-each-others-sentences stage, in fact they barely spoke during Sunday lunch other than to ask each other for a variety of condiments. I asked him about it on Monday and he gave a little shrug before wiping his brow. "She's a little bit....erm.....difficult. When she wants to be" he admitted quietly. I admired his honesty and ability to understate the bleeding obvious.

Ginny lasted two hours before she scuttled back to Windsor on Wednesday. "I take my hat off to you darling girl" she said as she got back into her ancient Volvo. "How on earth are you managing with the bitter old bird?". She didn't give me a chance to answer as she gunned her way out of the Avenue. I rang David from the kerb who promised to get home as soon as he could. Four hours later he arrived by which time I'd heard all about her disappointment that Ginny "never married and never had children". I received possibly the most backhanded compliment during that conversation: "At least you married David and have had Mackenzie" she said as she dunked her ninth Bourbon cream into her tea. She even managed to make it sound as if she really didn't mind that I'd married her precious son which was a major bonus.

The weekend wasn't too bad, Matt took her off to see The Sainted Kate on Saturday which gave me a nice break. I made endless cups of coffee, watched trash on television, ate the rest of Mac's sweets and spent time with my boys and my hounds. Even when she came home full of the Wonders of David's Ex Wife, I managed to stay calm and saved my mini meltdown for bedtime: I dropped a bottle of my Philosophy Cinnamon Buns shower gel on my foot and sobbed for ten minutes on David's shoulder. It helped.

The Sunday Roast was "too tough" and she only managed to eat the vegetables and was very miffed (but couldn't let it show) when Mac informed her that she couldn't "have any pudding Gran because you haven't eaten your dinner". He meant it as well and, well, it was only fair to agree with him. "After all," I said sweetly as I served David a slice of rhubarb pie with custard "you wouldn't let him have any jelly on Friday when he didn't eat all of his baked beans".

I also made it known to the household that I knew she'd sneaked a slice of pie out of the fridge at some point overnight. Revenge, like leftover rhubarb pie, is best served cold.

As I've already pointed out to David (on numerous occasions), we've done more than our fair share of putting up with her. I've told him that I don't want to see her again until at least after the second May Bank Holiday. This promise was difficult to extract from him because Lydia has arranged Freddie's christening for the Sunday before the first May Bank Holiday. I've let him off with that one on understanding she does not stay at ours. "I don't care if she books into the Ritz at our expense, I'm not having her back here yet" I said. David pleaded with me not to repeat that comment to Amelia. I retorted that I didn't care if she knew what I'd said but he was more worried that she'd take me up on my offer.

So, calm and normality has once again been restored to Nunhead Mum's household. Well. Lydia has been hinting that she wants me to help arrange the christening party, Auntie Ivy feels she should "really do something" for Uncle Jim's 60th and David is looking to find a summer holiday destination that a) isn't "too foreign", b) isn't "too expensive" and c) isn't "too, well, y'know".

I have absolutely no idea what any of them expect me to do about any of it!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


She actually went yesterday but I've only just gathered up enough strength to celebrate. A proper post will follow but, for now, I'm just mightily relieved that I've got my life back, an Amelia-free house and a Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy!

Oooh........and the CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN I've expressed an Easter wish for!!!!!! David was last seen looking under "C" in the Yellow Pages. He knows.......

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.