Monday, December 21, 2009

A Good Tradition

I love Christmas, especially the few days just before The Big Day when 'Christmas is all around me' in the words of Bill Nighy from Love Actually. ( which I watched the other night and enjoyed far more than the first outing when I rather unfairly dismissed it as movie conveyor belt tosh! )

Here's an amusing excerpt from a letter my daughter wrote to Santa this morning:

'Do you ever receive Christmas presents ?
I hope you get presents. If I have time, I'll leave out wine too. I send all my love to you' xxxx

She reassures Santa that she'll leave a mince pie and that
'Dad makes the best'
(but we'll see about that!)
I've challenged Gavin to a bake-off this Christmas Eve, a good natured (but only if I win) little bakeathon to see who produces the bestest mince pies.
I quite like the luxury mini mince pies from M&S, but it's traditional in our house to produce actual home made ones. After first scraping a years worth of dust from the poor neglected food processor....I am no Nigella.
Gavin follows his Mum's well aged recipe which bizarrely involves self raising flour and one classified ingredient..
okay okay, I'll share, but keep it to yourself-
( copious quantities of cherry brandy.)
I can't deny the flavoursome properties of Gav's mince pies, but I'm quite keen to see if I can win at our version of the 'Pepsi Challenge' so watch this space for a (hopefully) vaguely amusing followup.

The trees are up.
And we have two.
A 3 ft Nordman fir from Asda which is furiously moulting needles despite the non-drop description and an increasingly frail looking fake tree whose fakery is further amplified by the presence of authentic living tree across the room.

Both trees have a small selection of home and school made decorations collected over almost ten years of childhood, an annual reminder of which preschool they attended, what house we lived in, which friends they played with, etc.
Christmases past and Christmas present.

The lounge is all red candle wreaths, orange cinammon, pine, fairy lights and mess. Christmas is not Christmas without a messy lounge and myself trying to hide some ocd tendencies (must throw under the sofa where the rest of the crap goes )
Now where's the mulled wine and Baileys ?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Musing on the Muse gig

We went to the O2 last night my husband and I.
It's become something of a habit.
It seems that every couple of months we find a suitable excuse to part with some cash in exchange for concert tickets.
Last night was the turn of Muse, funky British alternative rock band who started off in Devon and ended up sliding across the stage at the O2 last night in tight pink trousers, electric guitars screaming.......
The stage was brilliantly thought out, with the audience always being number one priority.

Now there's a novel concept!
You'd think 'audience enjoyment and participation' would figure quite highly when an artist takes their sound to the stage,
but alas this is not always the case.
We saw Madonna last year at Wembley and whilst it was a wonderful privilege to share the same space as an icon for 90 minutes, it was tricky to actually see and absorb what was happening. Madonna was devotedly aware of the first 3 rows and not much beyond in that cavernous stadium jammed with tens of thousands of us. Arena gigs are always more intimate than those in canyonesque stadia , but the O2 is large enough to pack a huge (sold out last night) crowd.

So what of Muse, then ?

Well, the stage was visible from every corner of the O2 and huge 3D rectangular columns flashed lights and images throughout. They moved up and down intermittently so band members were able to come down to the crowds level before being raised aloft once again. I'll try ( it wont be easy ) to avoid cliche, but this is a band unafraid of the grand gesture.
If they ever grew tired of their name, they could call themselves Drama instead.
Or Passion.
Or Hyperactive. (the lead vocalist looked ready for a shot of Ritalin post-gig)
I've been to many concerts and the truest way to gauge the impact of an artist is to watch the crowd.
Their reaction says more than a million reviews ever can. And last night the O2 became one great living musical organism of Muse fans throbbing to the relentless beat. There were lasers, giant balloons filled with confetti falling from the heavens and a sold-out arena soaking up every electric second of a jaw droppingly great gig.
I look forward to the next one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Julie/Julia Project

Have you heard about the Julie/Julia project ?

It's a blog written by a bored secretary, in which she reproduces the recipes of colourful TV chef Julia Child.

I was reading the Blog late last night and laughing out loud at her attempts to juggle a mundane job with her forays into the Blogosphere. She started way back in the early noughties when Blogging was still a rare hobby and Bloggers an exotic species.
The new fangled concept of 'The Blog' made it possible to self-publish instantly. One woman and her laptop could tap away happily for hours, churning out endless streams of thought into the arms of an anonymous readership. There was no reward, except the satisfaction of saying whatever you want, whenever you want, and having it there in some corner of the web, forever.

The really popular Blogs have what I refer to as a UBSP (unique blog selling point) because they detail an unusual hobby, have utter shock value (Belle Du Jour/Petite Anglaise anyone?) air laundry so filthy it bypasses the Hotpoint on the way to the Bonfire or air controversial political or religious views on the extreme side of the spectrum.

My Blog is just something I write, without a Grand Plan or intention.
I have far too many opinions for my own good, so Das Blog is a handy outlet.
Still, the fact that it's out there and in the public domain is quite scary, quite a risk really.
Julie, the bored office worker living in a tiny apartment in NYC and author of The Julie/Julia Project is hesitant about Blogging.
She fears that nobody will care about her 'navel gazing' journeys into some old cookbook. But isn't a Blog supposed to be somewhat self indulgent? Isn't that the whole point? It's an online diary, so will scream ME ME ME. Most of us want to know more about Other-Peoples-Lives and what ultimately makes them tick.
It's fascinating. It's a human soap opera. It's real life stripped down to the bare bones. A revelation. The most interesting thing in the world is Other People.

But how awfully selfish of you Ms. Blogger, to fritter away half an hour publishing a post about Blogging!
Don't you realise that the number one biggest faux pas in all of Blogville is to dedicate an entire Post to the very subject of Blogging itself?
Stick to the point!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poetic Wisdom

The brilliant American author and poet Maya Angelou once said
'when someone shows you who they are, believe them'
She also said 'If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude'.
These are wise words indeed from a wise woman who has a courageous soul despite the most horrendous childhood experience of abuse and then (her) selective mutism. We can learn so much from the older generation.
A person who can rise from the ashes of personal tragedy and choose the tougher,alternative path is living wisdom.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The death of common sense

Whatever happened to plain old fashioned common sense?
A news story grabbed my attention this week. Two police officers looked after each others children so the other could work, in a bloody sensible job share arrangement. Some sour faced do gooder ( who probably pays the local nursery a grand a month to look after their child) reported them to the powers that be who duly informed them that their happy, mutually convenient arrangement was 'illegal.'
Our country, our government, knows what's best for our kids and you'd better sit up and pay attention before we all stumble blindly into an Orwellian Dead-End.
Yes, it beggars belief. But no, it did happen and as a result one of these women has decided to have no more children.
She can't afford it. There's a fairly recent trend for one child families(through choice not desire) since it means the childcare arrangements are manageable and obviously much cheaper. Double up on the sprogs and double up on nursery fees, obviously.
When I was researching the possiblities of returning to work when the youngest was born, and pondering on the cost of expensive and not always entirely suitable full time childcare options, I made the somewhat old fashioned and sometimes socially frowned-upon decision to stay at home with both of them. I worked out that, factoring in daycare costs, travel costs, and other sundry costs, my income would have to exceed 45k to make it worthwile, and even then I'd be exisiting in a state of constant shatterdom,( this is not a real word ) working 12 hour days in a stressful environment which makes no allowances for parents whatever bloody government directives are issued, and only seeing them both briefly in the morning and evening. Over the past ten years or so, this government has tempted/forced more and more parents to use full time daycare so they (women mostly, it seems Harriet Harman wants us all to get jobs as MP's )can work. Well, what if we don't want to ? What if we want to look after our children at home, all on our very own without any state intervention or Ofsted ruling? What if we prefer to do that ?
What if a Mother wants a few years out to raise her brood, or part time work which fits in better with a growing family ?
Is that so very twee and 1950's?
Harriet Harman insists that we need more women in Parliament. Well, wake up and smell the coffee, Hattie... most women don't want to live in a secondary residence all week (even if they can claim fraudulently for a new plasma telly on expenses) whilst a Nanny has all the fun at home with their children. Most women would shudder at the thought of working away from their children week in, week out.
The best thing to happen in 2010 will be the removal of Harriet Harman from government. Gordon is a bit crap too, but HH makes my blood boil.
Sod off Ofsted.

Monday, September 21, 2009

London Baby Yeah !

As I've mentioned before on three or four occasions, I live in Biggleswade.
It's a quaintly pretty market town in Mid Bedfordshire next to the River Ivel and half an hour from Cambridge, Stevenage, Bedford and London
(on a good day.. on a bad one it takes 45 minutes and shudders to a creaking standstill at every small town between Biggleswade and Kings Cross)
If you ever catch Biggleswade on a bright Autumn Saturday, when the market is alive with the animated flurry of early risers, you will see it at its best.
Grab a steaming Latte and an almond croissant at the market square cafe, before settling back for a spot of people watching. This is cafe culture Biggleswade style !

We moved here because of its practical proximity to London (for work) and the M1, which helps when we visit relatives ooop north. That, and the very pertinent fact that a move to Biggleswade
makes it possible to buy a decent house in a good area but on a mainline service into the capital.
Just a few miles down the road in Hertfordshire, house prices shoot skywards and the towns there hold no greater appeal
( except perhaps that the train journey shaves a handful of minutes off the journey to London and you can choose between a Costa, a Nero and five or six Starbucks )

Anyway, where is this all leading ?

Last weekend, my American cousin Lynn came to visit and we headed off to London, home of Queen Elizabeth II, that most resilient sovereign, who endured many an annus horribilis (in the past ) thanks to her errant offspring.
There's something quite magical about being in the company of a spontaneous person.
I'm often paralysed to the spot in my desire to plan ahead, just in case this or that might occur, but never does.
So you can imagine my consternation when we jumped off the tube at Covent Garden and after climbing (dragging our weary selves) 200 steps to daylight
( the lift was out of order ) stumbled upon a ticket office selling half price tickets for Wicked, Chicago, Avenue Q, etc. Serendipity in motion.

We picked up cheap tickets for Hairspray in the Royal Circle with a perfect view of the stage. When Brian Connolly (Edna ) and a superb Wilbur understudy performed 'Timeless to Me', they both lost control for a few minutes of body wracking hysteria somewhere around the lines ' You're like a broken down chevy, all you need is a fresh coat of paint'. The audience of course loved it, and it added to the authenticity of the unpredictable live performance.
We strolled around Covent Garden, browsing the Apple Market and all the cute stalls selling everything from original art to handmade chocolate to sex toys and an assortment of yet weirder items.
We passed the living statues and a heavily tattooed man trussed up in heavy chains Houdini style and the clown and the street dancers and Kenny and Karly from Big Brother, who seemed totally at home in this bizarre scene.
We caught the tube to Green Park and peered in through the windows of the Ritz, grinning at an amused looking security guard. We asked some bewildered looking German tourists for directions and strolled across to Buckingham Palace through the beautiful Green Park. I've been there a dozen or more times, but it's always a delight to see the Queen's splendidly stern sentry guards, the ornate palace gates and the mass of foreigners outside grasping to get a better shot of their group in front of this iconic building.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Delightfully Exhausted

My lovely, vibrant American cousin just spent a week chez nous and it was the busiest, most entertaining week I've had for ages and ages. We spent 48 hours in London and saw Hairspray and Thriller Live and a couple of reality TV stars (Karly and Kenneth from Big Brother ) hanging out at Carllucio's in Leicester Square.
I'll do the London blog later. Tonight, Cambridge.
We drove to Cambridge, whose ancient majestic halls of academia are just 30 minutes down a newly built dual carriageway (not yet available on Sat Nav, alas) from our house. We went 'punting' down the river, escorted by an affable young surfer-dude guide aged v.early 20's, who had recently graduated from the world famous Trinity College. In awe of this marvellous achievement,a degree from the worlds highest acclaimed College, I asked what his future plans might be. I'm only 36, so not quite old enough to have given birth to him, so strenuously avoided a maternal tone. God Forbid that I might patronise the youngfolk!
He informed me, in an impatient 'this-is-not-the-first-time-I've-been-asked-that-question' voice that he had:
'No Plans' and that he 'didn't want an office job' and that he just 'wanted to travel for ten years'
No Plans?
Back up.
Back up and steady on there just a second Mister.
No Plans?
You graduated from Trinity College Cambridge, possibly the most academically esteemed Hall of Learning in the whole hallowed history of Learningdom and you have no bleeping plans ?
Not good enough, surfer dude.
Please try explaining that to the many failed applicants of the toughest College in the country whilst you are backpacking around Phuket.
Call me old fashioned, but you don't spent three or four years at Trinity College Cambridge to exit stage left with no-effing-plans.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Holiday Fun

The inevitable post holiday blues have kicked in.
But what a wonderful wonderful holiday.
We flew Easyjet. If you ever catch the programme 'Airline' you would be forgiven for thinking that Easyjet= Machiavellian cowboys hellbent on nicking your hardearned so you can wait several long hours more than originally intended in a depressing departure lounge before getting on a faulty AirbusA319 and sit sardine-packed into tidy rows of pissed off passengers before being deposited, several hours later, into a stuffy Meditteranean aeroport.
But you would be wrong.
Because the flight was good. And the trip was better.
We arrived, after a few hours of travel and the disconcertingly simple collection of a lovely Seat Leon from the shockingly well organised Alicante Aiport, to Casa Vista.
And what a view indeed!
Corny cliches aside, it was like stepping inside a holiday villa brochure. Since we hired it out for a snip, I assumed it must be faulty somewhere, but it couldn't have been more perfect. Winding steps, littered with bougainvillea led up to a raised balcony with the most incredible view of a cerulean sea, complete with cliched white yachts and larger liners drifting past in relaxed slow-mo.... But, peace disintegrated into cries of 'where's my swimsuit' and ten minutes later, two little girls were jumping into our swimming pool like they owned the place. We don't. Sadly.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Inappropriate Blog Material

Someone just looked over my shoulder and asked why anyone in the world of Blogville would care a jot (give a damn, actually ) about my opinion on some random book by some random novelist ?
They forget that I am not writing a ruddy novel and trying to entertain a discerning readership- read the summarised profile folks! These are merely :
random ramblings let loose on an unsuspecting web !
Not high art, entertainment or even attempts at witty banter. If I accidentally drop in some witty observation, it's a happy accident rather than a contrived attempt to impress or entertain the three people who read this.
The main purpose of The Blog is for Charlotte and Rebecca's benefit, so they can see what their Mum was like way back when.
(but he's right, I did spell Haworth incorrectly, oh the shame )

Reader, I married him

I love Gothic novels.
Since Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto in 1764, other writers have been emulating a version of this romantic terror from behind heavy castle doors a million miles from the normal world. A parallel world where Byronic heroes, madwomen in attics, monsters, angels, sirens and vampires replace stock characters of the realist novel. I remember visiting the Bronte Parsonage, in the quaint village of Haworth, many many times. And walking the same moors which provided the setting for Emily's 'Wuthering Heights' and wondering how Charlotte coped alone after the death of her brother and sisters. I remember walking around the tiny rooms, with their collections of original garments worn by Charlotte, the rooms where they sat and wrote Jane Eyre, the Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights, and wondering where that genius comes from. The Bronte women rarely left the Parsonage in rural Haworth, so the vast majority of their work came from their imagination alone. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels. I read it (again) whilst I was pregnant with my eldest daughter and decided that, if she was a girl, she would be a Charlotte. And I found a beautiful edition of Jane Eyre when Charlotte was a baby, which I tucked away in a keepsake box for her.
I'm in a book club and we are reading 'The Thirteenth Tale' which was suggested by one of the women.
Who also just happens to be the sister of the Author, Diane Setterfield.
I didn't really enjoy the last novel we read ( Miss.Garnett's Angel ) which was unnecessarily confusing( I don't mind wordy prose and clever plot devices, but logic and clarity is appreciated) and had a silly, silly ending.
But this novel was really very satisfying, in the Gothic tradition. I loved it. The only criticism I might level towards it is that there was really no need to remind us that the inspiration came from the Bronte sisters. Most of us are familiar with Jane Eyre and would have spotted the association almost immediately. Words never die.
Thank goodness I loved this novel.
I would have been forced, by conscience and sheer bloody mindedness, to confess my dislike for the novel had I hated it, and then probably offended the writers lovely sister. But no need, because it's wonderful. Biographer Margaret Lea goes to a remote house on the Yorkshire moors to meet the elderly writer Vida Winter ( the novel has some other wonderfully named characters such as Aurelius Love ) and write the story of her incredible life..... what she discovers is a tale of Gothic tragedy, secrets, ghosts and self discovery. It's beautifully written. At one point, I wondered if the writer was about to parody the Gothic genre, in the style of Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey, but no. And I've been long overdue a thumping good story ( I normally select novels which are beautiful character studies of people and families ) so this went down a treat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

That golden childhood I was harping on about

I have a tendency towards rose tinted day dreaming.
I guess you could say that I'm romantic and idealistic at times when a more pragmatic, realistic approach would work much much better.
I've always viewed the school summer break with a mixture of delight
( lie-ins, soft focus walks with the puppy in the park ) and white knuckled horror (summer holiday cabin fever)
Whilst I try to avoid turning C and R into children-who-demand-constant-entertainment-round-the-clock, I attempt what I refer to as 'laundry days' from time to time. These entail me playing catch up on the more mundane aspects of domestic slavery whilst chucking comics, paper, felt tips and arty crafty items at the girls with the instruction to
'go forth and be creative, preferably with the volume down or on mute for a while'
Today made me realize that the best way to promote compliance in kids is to wear them out thoroughly to the point of near exhaustion.
Wear them out with 3 mile walks, noisy sessions in the local swimming pool and energetic playtimes in the airless hell of KidsWorld, a soft play area near us which serves bland food in a gloomy windowless room which children absolutely adore.
Today, I scrubbed the karndean floors, polished the glass and wood, worked through a depressing pile of laundry, hung two lots of washing out, all to the grating tune of 'she called me stupid idiot' and 'why can't we go to Legoland' and 'my friends have all got one' etc. etc. ad infinitum.
I might continue this blog later, when I've fed the girls and closed this Cafe ( where are my sodding tips, then? ) for the evening.
Ah, the simple joys of a golden childhood;
those halycon days where home cooked food and endless trips to feed the swans are all the blessed chidlets need to appreciate your efforts. If it were that easy !

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home is Biggleswade

Here continueth school summer 2009, week two.
Week two of the school summer holidays; not summer proper which kicks in somewhere around May/June if we're very lucky. Must remember to slather on the factor 30 for those three hot days sandwiched between endless weeks of mean grey sludge.
My sister visited last week and now she's gone. Back to the frozen North, where my other sister, Mother and some of my closest friends still live. We moved down south in 1998 and it felt like moving to a different continent in the sleepy, beautifully time warped village in west oxon with its unfriendly lack of street lighting, shops or any signs of life closer than ten miles away.
I remember the first week we arrived, thinking that we had probably made a huge mistake, whilst at the same time suspecting that time would dilute or cleverly displace those thoughts and perhaps reveal, at some distant date in the future, why we decided to upsticks 250 miles across the country.
Instinct shouted louder than emotion and I paid attention.
I remember slouching in the tiny L-shaped lounge of our lovely little house in Freeland, not long after we moved, listening to distant thunder, and wondering, worrying, if we had made the right decision. I realized, about four of five years ago, that we had.
We were no longer trying to convince ourselves and others of our shiny happy enthusiasm about leaving family and friends behind in the North West, but truthfully, genuinely content. And now, when I accelerate down the slip road to the M1 ( or mostly when Gavin does it, cos I avoid motorway driving if possible ) ,we are going uo North for a visit, not 'going home'. Home is Biggleswade.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The End Of An Era

Charlotte 'graduated' from middle school today. My baby girl, who was born when I was 'way-too-young' according to many, but who ( along with Rebecca ) was the
left Lower School, aged nine.
It's been a wonderful, interesting nine years with Charlotte.
Let me tell you about her.
She has the most beautiful heart. She asks questions. Lots of them. Her favourite questions are 'Why?' and 'What for?'
She has an incredible gift for Art, which must come from both her Dad and her Grandfather ( my Dad ) who was both an Art teacher (before he became jaded with high school and became a College Lecturer) and Artist, whose work actually appeared in galleries OnceUponATimeWayBackWhen. And whose stories, in manuscript form, are still unfinished and sat yellowing and waiting ( in a drawer in my Mum's wardrobe ) for a clever illustrator (the grandddaughter he never met? )to complete.
Is it Ok and not too crass and irritating to brag about your children and your long deceased Father ? I expect not.
Other-Peoples-Blogs are annoying enough without syrupy references to their marvellous offspring and/or forebears.
But I must continue...(forgive me )
Charlotte is rather brilliant with words.
She writes stories which radiate warmth and brilliance and eccentric charm.
And what's more,(and this is the proverbial cherry ) she is excellent at Mathematics and Science. (Maths bores me rigid but I feign enthusiasm at her Maths-Love because.. well... why exactly ? )
Lastly, and least importantly, but perhaps most significantly ( for all of the superficial world we inhabit ) she is beautiful. I am biased, but the world is cynical. And the world must agree that she is an exquisite beauty.
I am biased, but no mind. I am her Mother, so it's allowed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Psychological Warfare in the Big Brother House

I know it's viewed as trashy and vacuous and all-that's-gone-wrong-with-telly-in-the-noughties but Big Brother sucks me in each year, despite many half assed attempts to withdraw from it. I try to kick the habit. I really really try, but I love it.
I really love it.
I love watching group dynamics develop in that neon lit pressure cooker environment which must be an utter hell to endure for those poor fame grubbing contestants.
I remember the innocence of BB1 with cheeky Craig from Liverpool and Nasty Nick who, the sheer bloody cheek of it, tried to manipulate nominations by writing names down surreptitiously !
I mean really, the internet ground to a shuddering halt for almost a whole day thanks to Nasty Nick Bateman and his memserizing attempts to win a reality TV contest by foul means not fair. It all sounds so very primitive and unsophisticated now, don't you think ? So very year 2000.

In 2009, female contestants must have at least 3 of these attributes :

a) spray tan and hair extensions which resemble burnt straw
b )giant triple H cup bazongas shoved dangerously into a child sized bikini
c )no opinions on anything apart from hair straighteners, hair extensions and endless chats about endless 'wicked' nights out getting 'totally feckin off my feckin face like '
d) the ability to attract the prettiest and least intelligent male housemate and the ability to forget about any real life boyfriend should the opportunity to dive under the duvet with a potential showmancer arise.
I will continue with this in a little while. Davina is calling.

Part Deux :
Right, where were we ?
Psychological Warfare in a Hertfordshire film studio.
Halfwit is bright. He's clever. He went to Oxford. He has a high level of emotional intelligence too, so a devastating double whammy of both intellectual and emotional cleverness. So in other words, he's guaranteed to annoy about 94.7% of the BB housemates. It's impossible to imagine Karly ( with a kicking K naturally ) or Dogface or Kris (that K again ) or Lisa ever hanging out with someone like Freddie. They find him alien, odd and 'annoying' presumably because he is interested in politics, current affairs and other-fings-what-don't-involve-getting-out-of-it-on-a-Friday night. His difference renders him an easy target. The 'group' agree to dislike Freddie out of loyalty for Lisa and the fear of provoking her steely wrath should they prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt. Heaven forbid that they might try to understand him, to find some common ground, to actually like the man. Because he is a nice guy, make no mistake.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh Make It Stop

It's too hot.
I'm suffocating in an airless house.
We are not prepared for hot weather in the UK.
I keep popping into our local Spa. It's the only shop on our high street with air conditioning. Air conditioning in a heatwave is a beautiful thing.
Michael Jackson's funeral. There's a sentence I didn't expect to see for at least another twenty odd years.
Apparently, there will be a glass coffin and fairytale carriage which will take him to Neverland.....
I saw this video and found it incredibly moving

A Bit Of Poetry

Written after a visit to the Natural History Museum :


140 million years too late,
Standing before a silenced Stegosaurus whose eyeless sockets peer out at
Kids drooling ice cream and old ladies in `I Love NY` t-shirts, which are too tight.

We move on quickly to the interactive stuff which the kids prefer:
Foam rubber skin and spines that light up at the press of a button
Get the punters in the door, not a pile of old dinosaur bones.

And this one.. well, wow. I forgot how bamboozled I was by first time parenthood.
I was filled with a mixture of ecstasy and horror when Charlotte was born. It instigated a gargantuan seismic shift in my life, the likes of which I've never experienced before or since ! I remember speaking to friends who were having fertility treatment and feeling so ashamed of myself for finding it tough.
Found this lovely cheery verse in my documents folder which I'd forgotten about :

Mother Bliss

I questioned why no one had told me this
That I could pace for hours in airless gloom
The strained smile varnished tightly on my lips
as I sway her back and forth across the room.

And how we yearned for this. Hoped for years
Took no advice, no pills, no IVF
Nothing is ever quite as it appears.
You start a life and then you mourn the death

of solitude and all that came before.
Get up at noon, read books and stay up late.
Now it’s ‘how’s the baby?’ it’s a bore,
And other questions I have learned to hate.

A veritable ray of sunshine I am !!
let me report that my daughters bring so much joy and love and happiness into my life and they make me so proud and I adore them more than it's possible to adore anyone (but those early weeks are a fuggy blur of nightfeeds and hormones-gone-awry)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is dead.
He was only 50.
He was arguably the worlds most famous man and he changed the face of popular culture and music. His death was sudden, unexpected and only a fortnight away from starting the first of 50
( count them ) gigs at the O2 arena.
A few weeks ago, I predicted that Michael wouldn't fulfil his obligations to the O2. The most recent sightings revealed a frail man; alabaster skin, sunken eyes, destroyed nose. But more importantly was the empty, expressionless face, partly created by surgery, partly by unknown psychological hurts created a lifetime ago when a sweet faced little boy from Indiana was already being primed for superstardom whether he wanted it or not. Any chance of a normal childhood was dashed against the wall.
He was never found guilty of any of the claims levelled against him. But ever since he opted to pay Jordan Chandler 18 million dollars instead of stand up in a courtroom and defend himself, the way he was forced to do later with Gavin Arvizo, his career was over. And with it, the weight of public opinion pointed towards his guilt. It's a cliche, but also an eternal truth. Mud sticks.
And on Thursday evening, when the news broke on SKY, I remembered the Michael I loved in the 1980's. He was a very precitable idol. The most famous man in pop ! But I happily jumped on the Jackson bandwagon and listened to his music for hours and hours, day after happy day.
I saved for weeks so I could go out and buy everything Jackson related ( all on cassette not CD !) and can vividly remember walking into Woolworths ( another dead icon ) on Victoria Road West in Cleveleys with a stash of coins ready to hand over in exchange for BAD, Michael's newest record at the time when my adulation was at its height. I thought he was utterly gorgeous back then, despite the fact that the beautiful black man from the Thriller era had transformed into a much paler version with stretched caucasion features. My Mum, sisters and friends mocked my teenaged crush asking how I could fancy 'that weirdo', but I did. I loved his eccentricity, his damned untouchable starriness and those sexy as hell dance moves.
I adored Michael and spent hours on the phone to my friend Gavin
( who later became my husband !) boring him with the ever more flowery details of my irrepressible fixation.
A fortnight ago, I spent a couple of hours organising a memory box from my teens, which was crammed full of MJ memorabilia, including the huge BAD poster which adorned my bedroom wall for many months. These items had sat untouched in a box for years.
I cried when Michael died. I don't care if this is insincere, silly, misplaced or another example of so-called 'misery porn' a term the media uses to describe collective grief on an inordinately grand scale. I know my feelings were authentic, heartfelt and sincere. What makes me the saddest is that this man, who brightened my teenage years beyond measure, seemed so utterly heartbreakingly miserable. He lived in a sealed world, a lonely world, a judgmental world.
He never seemed easy with the global adulation which was the inevitable byproduct of his immense talent. He always had a haunted expression, a distant air about him. He was a wreck, in the end. I can't believe he died so young. I can't believe I never saw him in concert. I can't believe that his children will grow up without a Dad.
And I am angry at some sections of the popular press, who have decided that it's macabre and inappropriate to express sadness at the death of someone we have never met.
They can kiss my ass.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The sun is shining

I have a really good book and a really warm back garden and can't think of a better way to 'waste' an hour or two, later. We have a gardener coming tomorrow to prune the ceanothus and other large items I can't reach. And we refuse pointblank to purchase a chain saw. A power tool in my hands would be too great a risk. I'm accident prone. I managed to cut my hand last year whilst trying to open a can of wood stain, so I could treat the decking area. I regularly bump, cut, scrape or burn myself, so shudder to imagine what mayhem I could create with a chainsaw. And the puppy might circle into view at a crucial moment in the pruning process and find herself minus a tail, or worse.
Kate is the lovely and highly knowledgeable woman who does our garden twice a year. She is very reasonable, knows what she's talking about, and leaves the garden looking beautiful. I would upload a photo, if I wasn't the sort of low rent blogger who isn't quite sure how to. What is the use of a blog without pictures ? (to partially quote Lewis Carroll)
Speaking of Lewis Carroll, have you seen photos of the new Alice in Wonderland movie directed by Tim Burton ? Predictably enough, it stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (if I was his wifey, I'd insist on a starring role too ) and the makeup is incredible. I love Tim Burton movies. He's eccentric bordering on crazy, but always pulls back from the brink of unfettered madness to produce classic movies which stand the test of time. Charlotte watched Edward Scissorhands for the first time last week and adored it. It's a good antidote to the formulaic drivel usually thrust upon kids, in the hope they wont notice, which is stupid because a) kids are clever; many kids are cleverer than many grown ups and b ) kids love to be scared

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the self indulgent post you can skip

I told a friend about my blog yesterday.
She was quite shocked at my enthusiasm to share private feelings and thoughts with all of Blogville. She is also shocked at social networking sites in general, finding them quite menacing and unnecessary. The thing is, we give as much as we are willing to share. Most bloggers leave out deeply personal reflections. Those are best saved for a handwritten tome stashed under the mattress. I'm just glad I didn't write a diary or a blog in my teens and early twenties. Oh, the self indulgent angst ridden twaddle that would have been !
At 36, I still ( on occasion ) have a propensity towards thin-skinned vulnerability.
I disguise it cleverly with lashings of strategically placed optimism and jovial good humour, the sort guaranteed to grate heavily on the nerves of those around me, from time to time. But like most people, I fall somewhere in the middle of lifes emotional barometer. I am neither Miss.Sunshine nor Miss.Grumpy. I know what's required of me and badger on in a mostly satisfied ( if not ecstatic) state of mind. I would love to be one of those naturally effervescent women, the kind who fizz even when the world around them has gone flat. But, I think I will always have the distant noise of self doubt in my ear. I can link it all the way back to childhood, when my Dad died. I realized then what a volatile world we live in, how circumstances can change dramatically and often in the most random way imaginable. The days of cast iron certainties were truly behind me and the future was a much more forbidding prospect.
I realized that I'd been living in a safe bubble. I envy the untroubled simplicity of children, and hope my girls can look back at a carefree youth, a golden childhood. It's what we all deserve.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Car Bills

Why do unexpectedly huge car bills always always arrive 24 hours after booking a holiday ?
It's been an expensive month. The fridge freezer died. We had to replace it. The ensuite saniflo is making weird noises so we have Mr.Saniflo coming tomorrow to `clean through the pipes thoroughly`
( rather him than me ) and we just booked a holiday to Spain. Holidays are optional I know, but we booked it before hearing Gavin's car needed a new clutch and starter motor. I knew it was going to be grim when man-at-garage asked me if I was sitting down. I was; in my car, which will never need a clutch because it's an automatic. I have a manual driving license but prefer to live in a world without gear changes, hill starts and handbrakes. I spent the afternoon boring my neighbour with all this, over several cups of coffee.
I am optimistic. July will be a month of sunshine and frugality.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

crying in unison

Charlotte was unhappy today.
She was given the part of a Celtic woman in the grand graduation production at school and she desperately wanted to be Boudica. Well actually, she just wanted the starring role, so if that meant playing Elvis/Mary/Dorothy/LukeSkywalker, she would have been chomping at the bit for it. (I don't even want to imagine what she would be like at stage school. The word Diva springs to mind.)
She doesn't want to be a `stupid celtic woman who says about three stupid words, humph `
and she cried hot tears all the long walk from home, distressing the chihuahua who kept veering dangerously away from the kerb. And then Rebecca fell over. When Rebecca falls over, even it's only a minor scrape which leaves no discernible mark, she wails as if someone has poked her in the eye with a blunt stick. She screamed so loudly a car actually pulled over and asked if we were OK.
I looked at the spot she was gesturing towards, expecting a six inch wound in urgent need of some surgical clips, but nothing. She wanted a `special squishy Mummy huggy` which she got, complete with an ice lolly from local shop. Ever feel emotionally manipulated ?

Friday, June 5, 2009


Charlotte has a friend over for a hastily- last- minute- arranged-sleepover
and as I type the girls ( Charlotte, Rebecca and Charlotte's friend Kathryn)
are lying on Charlotte's bed watching The Simpsons movie.
( which Charlotte has seen about 78 times but still roars with laughter every time)
And after a pretty grey, sludgy start to a dismal day, I feel OK.
More than OK. All is well in the world today.
The girls are happy and we ( the husband and myself ) are settling down to a delightfully vacuous evening of reality TV trash interjected with a cold beer or glass of something cold and 13%proof. I've been looking again at holiday options in Southern Spain.
I bloody love Spain.
I adore the food, the people, the climate, the wine, the beaches, the football and the passion.
I would live there, if I spoke fluent Espanol. ( I don't. I can speak pretty good French and conversational German but my Spanish is utter utter rubbish, something I intend to rectify and soon )

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wasting Time On the Interweb

It's a favourite hobby, shallow though that may be.
Yesterday I filled a virtual basket at net-a-porter with about 10k's worth of designer dresses I couldn't afford and had no intention of actually buying. ( you might be right, I might be weird )
It's very therapeutic. I ordered one of these :
A snip at £1400, don't you think ?
And these ( not to go with the same outfit, I hasten to add )
And obviously, handbags a plenty :
Then I emptied my virtual basket and drove to Matalan where I bought a black papaya t-shirt for £4. Stella McArtney wouldn't sell a black tee for less than a fiver, would she ? !

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Apprentice

The interviews tonight.
Job interviews which resemble no interview I've ever had....even the most capable candidates were royally shafted and publically humiliated by Sralan and Co. It was such a giant farce; clearly all of Sralan's hotshot buddies had been prepped with enough raw ammo to bring each candidate crumbling to their knees, for the sake of good telly. Behold the multimillionare business magnates who make shitloads of money by apparently being rude and scary and as appealing as a cup of cold sick, all at the same time. Oh please, give me a passport to the world of high powered global business. Not.
What the hell was James thinking with that comment on his CV about `spunking up the wall ?`
What the hell was Yasmina thinking with her half truths about her company turnover ?
Why was Kate wearing so much brown eye shadow ?
Why doesn't someone give Lorraine a tub of Pantene and a hairbrush ? ( actually, she looked lovely on You've been Fired; incredible what water, shampoo and professional makeup can do )
I am guiltily entertained by the Apprentice, whilst at the same time depressed by the possibility that being a highflyer in business might entail ruthless bitchery, backstabbing and unprofessionalism.
Kate was wrong about women in business. I've had various female bosses over the years and my best bosses were always female. I can't remember a female boss I didn't enjoy working with.
I worked for two wonderful female managers in Oxford. They were supportive, caring, diplomatic and extremely capable. Men are capable of partaking in salacious gossip. I hate gender stereotyping.

Who do I vote for ?

I always vote.
I don't think anyone has the right to criticise the government if they choose not to vote.
I vote because women died for that right.
Tomorrow, I still don't know who to vote for.
Labour are woeful, but the Tories are new Labour circa 1997.
I know it's not a general election, but it feels the same.
I was reading an article which stated that social networking and online blogging is silly, irrelevant and a waste of time. I hate intellectual snobbery. A well known British TV presenter ( oh, the irony!) declared yesterday that we are a nation of couch potatoes and that we need to spend our weekends in art galleries instead of watching TV, ( presumably he still wants us to watch his programme )
If I suggested the Saatchi gallery over a Hannah Montana double bill, I know what my girls would say.

working girl

So, I'm working in an office and loving it. It's really really good ( if a somewhat alien experience ) working in a non toxic atmosphere.
Everyone is really really nice and helpful and friendly.
Most of the time !
The phone rings, but people are encouraged to deal with each call properly.
Quality not Quantity.
It's nice to work in a place where I'm not being pressured every 5 minutes with deadlines or busily preparing an important presentation with 24 hours notice or dealing with an atmosphere of passive agressiveness or 12 hour days!
I've done plenty of work from home over the years, but it's fairly antisocial.
Which I don't mind mostly cos I like my own company, but when I start talking to myself, that's worrying ! Gavin keeps reassuring me that, actually, working in an office is extremely overrated.
But it feels important to have some structure and routine back to my daily life again.
So, welcome back routine. Welcome back chats around the coffee machine.
Welcome back conversations which don't exist around parenting subjects.
Welcome back feeling-like-useful-member-of-society once again,
I'm back !
Gavin's probably right. It is overrated. But I need to do it anyway.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Here Comes Summer

Summer, I love you.
I love the long hot perfumed days. On long hot holidays, the pool and/or beach offers some reprieve from the gasping heat, but at home there is only a vacuum of humidity punctuated by the twice daily shower.
I love summer,
but will be doing a rain dance if we don't get a downpour soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I miss them

Charlotte and Rebeca, that is.
We were all warm as toast this morning, huddled beneath freshly laundered bed linen.
In the holidays, we'd still be fast asleep at 7.30. It felt rude throwing the duvet aside with shouts of `morning, quick, hurry, we don't want to be late, do we ?`
It was so sublime lying in bed until nine ( or later !) throughout the holidays.
I felt so bad for Gavin, rudely blasted awake by rock music on his I-Phone. I complain and yet get an extra hour each day. It's why I don't mind him having a long lie in at the weekend and it's why I don't mind him playing World Of Ruddy Warcraft to wind down after work. Ok, perhaps I mind.
A little !
The world is a happier place when Spring arrives. The girls swap their winter trousers and pinafores for cheerful gingham and pretty ankle socks. Still, Charlotte managed to be quite tearful on the way in to school yesterday. She enjoyed the holidays and I don't think it finally dawned on her, until we were stood outside her class, that it was over.
School, with its sharp edges, stale air and indifference, is back again. Until the end of May, at least.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Last Day of the Easter Holidays

How unfair.
The weather is now gloriously dappled spring sunlight, the kind which envelops everything in a flattering sheen and makes every step seem lighter. I drank coffee at the table in our garden whilst the girls read `Rainbow Fairy` books and grunted requests for Ribena, water, sunglasses, sunscreen etc. at various intervals. Connie danced around like a baby lamb chasing butterflies.
All was serene except the occasional muted yelling from a neighbouring property. Usually, I'm the one closing windows to yell at the girls for some minor dispute or three, so it was refreshing to live in a state of harmony for one soft-focus afternoon. The calm was broken only by a hurried trip to the supermarket, where it's impossible to buy ` a few things` for less than £32.90 apparently.
Rebecca (6 and in Yr1 ) spotted a couple of friends and gleefully ran over to hug them. She's excited about going back to school. They must make school more interesting these days because I never ever got close to an excited state throughout my entire school career.
My default setting for the school years was one of melancholic resignation !

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I found a page on facebook for Biggleswadians and pop over occasionally to see if anyone has bothered to add photos or comments whilst failing to add any of my own !
It was interesting looking at photos of the VE day celebrations pouring onto the streets over 50 years ago. Is community spirit the same anymore ? I think not.
We've created a world where people use cars all the time, speak via the web rather than face to face...mind you, I can't imagine the London underground ever being a friendly place. It's quite distracting, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone whilst at the same time keeping an eye out for your stop/dodgy looking folk with large rucksacks/etc...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Holidays

Ah, the school holidays are back.
Deepest joy of joys.
Each school holiday is an opportunity for me to exploit my job ( as Mother ) to its fullest and grasp every chance to show Charlotte and Rebecca what a hands-on, creative, inspiring, wonderful Earth Mother I am.
But I don't.
Instead, I nag incessantly at the state of their rooms ( they are 9 and 6, they can't help it ! )
grimace at the grey clouds, moan at the cost of doing anything that doesn't involve a picnic at the park, encourage them to get arty then scream inwardly at the sight of paint, glitter, felt and things-salvaged-from-their-bedrooms..... whilst every other Mother worth her salt seems to be off down the local play barn/zoo/beach every day, regardless of thunder or lashing rain.
But, we had fun. We did. Despite me !
We went to Blackpool and walked the dogs in the sunshine, ate good food, had sleepovers at their Aunties, made birds nests in the woods, swam, painted, saw a couple of friends and relaxed.
When I was a girl ( a phrase I swore I'd never use ) holidays were for doing nothing. We had no schedule, no itinerary, no routine.
We woke up and there were no plans.
We slept in, read books, rode our bikes, played in the field, got muddy and dirty, picked caterpillars off the cabbages on our neighbours allotment, watched cartoons on the one channel which played them for kids in the daytime ( and when they were over, that was it... no skyplus, no video even then ), went to bed early and stayed up chatting and watching the moon, writing a diary, playing connect 4 and snakes n ladders.. no nintendo, playstation in sight.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The blazing sunlight started the motor on a solar powered rainbow maker Charlotte got for her ninth birthday. ( from my sister Vicky, giver of great gifts )
She awoke to a brilliant light show of rainbow coloured sunbeams across her room. She was so very happy. There is no greater happiness than watching Charlotte or Rebecca happy.
What a gorgeous day. I changed my gym membership to a swimming pass. The gym is joyless, truly joyless. There is nothing gratifying about running on a treadmill when the temperature rises.
Swimming, I love. I went again today and managed 46 lengths. Swimming is effortless, relaxing and invigorating at the same time. I take refuge in the water, visible only from the nose up.
When I start swimming, there is nothing else to think about but the water and me.
There is no programme to key in, no ipod to plug in, no complicated assortment of gym shoes and garments to wear and no sweat soaked armpits afterwards.
I try classes, the gym and other new fangled ways to get fit and stay fit, but I always always return to the water. I love swimming.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I am back

Again. I haven't been around for a while. Mostly because I was too annoyed at various school related shenanigans to blog about them. Unlike some bloggers, who blog about every tiny detail of their lives right down to how they have sex and how often, I prefer to keep some things private. However, if I started blogging about sex positions, I'm sure I'd have more than 300 views.....

Friday, January 30, 2009


It's one of those weeks. I keep telling myself that in order to fully enjoy the good, great, wonderful aspects of life, I need to trudge through the shit occasionally, but it's no fun when it happens.There's nothing wrong really. I am so lucky. I have everything I need and more besides.It's January, that's what it is.
The bleakest, coldest, darkest, sludgiest, meanest month of the year.
( when I'm fed up, I start inventing my own words cos current ones just don't cut it )
I walked through Biggleswade this morning and wanted my sisters with me, so we could pop into Surfin cafe for an Americano and a big fat danish or two. You can tell that a cafe is thriving when its customers happily sit outside wrapped in blue blankets ( to match the fingers ! ) even when the ground is frozen. Some are parked outside to suck on a Silk Cut, but most are there because there's no room inside. It's a lovely cafe, right in the middle of the market square.
I love Biggleswade.
Every time I feel the black fog descend, I remember how much I love this town and how it's not really an option to move back up North, tempting though that thought sometimes is.
We've flirted with that notion before, on more than one occasion. It's a bittersweet feeling. On the one hand, I love it here. On the other hand, I miss everyone up North. I thought the effect would be diluted, over time. We moved down south in 1998 and eleven year is a long long time.

The credit crunch is bad down here and even Londoners, in that most frenetic hub of commerce, are feeling it. It must be worse up North surely, because there are more jobs in the South East.
I love our house and I love this place. I feel as though all roads in my life led inevitably to this place, this town. It's like an overgrown village without the everyone-knows-my-business vibe. People are friendly, but not in your face.
Biggleswade has lost a couple of businesses recently. Woolworths, that ancient British instition, an ever fixed beacon on every high street, is no more. And Bookworms, the lovely independant booksellers, has gone too. I remember a film with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks; You've Got Mail.
It's pretty formulaic American stuff. Cutesy blonde Meg owns a beautiful old-fashioned book store,the kind where the owner actually reads the novels and cares about her customers. Tom Hanks opens an enormous new book store, the kind which has 3 floors and a cafe the size of a carpark. Tom's store gets more customers, so Meg's has to close. But everything works out prettily in the end when Meg and Tom meet ( back in the days when instant messaging was a new fangled, exotic phenomenon ) and fall in love. One, Two, Three.... Awwwwwwwwww.
Unfortunately, real life is nothing like a Nora Ephron movie.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chihuahua ?

I want a dog.
There, I've said it !
It's real. A real thought, not some airy notion.
I saw a chihuahua recently and instantly fell in love. I know it was love because I paid no heed to pesky thoughts about dog poo, chewed shoes, dog hair and that faint but ever present whiff of damp mutt which permeates around the home.
The chihuahua is a toy dog. By that, I don't mean you shove a couple of double A's into its battery slot and watch it spring into life. I mean, it's little. Very little. The smallest pooch in the history of poochdom. And I,
Melissa (-who-dislikes-being-licked-woken-early-and-has-a-serious-poo-aversion )
am phoning breeders, looking at dog crates and pink rhinestone-studded collars on ebay.
I think we are actually going to go out and actually, y'know, actually take one back home with us!
Arrrghhhhh- yay !
The best thing about it is that Gavin, who is completely apathetic on the subject of canines, didn't need persuading. Mostly because I've sold Project-Dog to him as a Melissa Project, so am taking responsibility for all the shit shovelling, dog walking and all the (many ) negative aspects to dog ownership. He will happily partake in the Disney side of doggy ownership, such as cuddling up to content creature on the couch whilst playing World of Warcrack ( I mean craft ) or watching football. It's a small price to pay.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beautiful Day

The sun is bright and my mood is too.
Rebecca is off school with a barking cough and two flushed marks on her cheeks from a slightly raised temperature. She's playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo whilst I try to avoid doing anything useful. I know she's feeling better, but each time I ask she snaps back
`Nope`, obviously terrified that I might bundle her in the car, back to school !
There's nothing wrong with a duvet day, occasionally.
I need to clean the fridge, so why am I here again ?
Well, I logged onto the ( vaguely depressing ) job-centre website and discovered that there are a handful of jobs within a 5 mile radius, all paying about a fiver an hour. One of them requires a fork lift truck license, another requires different hours each week.. some weeks 35 hours, some weeks 15 !
I've applied for a couple of these `requires flexibility` roles, and it's shorthand for`must be under child bearing age, preferably 22 with no immediate plans to procreate.`
There are a couple of cleaning jobs, a couple of waitressing roles, a handful of shop jobs
( with very weird hours ) and quite a few fulltime jobs of 40 hours plus which would be wonderful if I didn't want the girls to be out for 10+ hours a day, ferried between costly breakfast and afterschool clubs. Where are the good part time roles for women? I've nothing against the use of wrap around daycare, but not on a daily or fulltime basis. The school day is long enough.
Ooooh look, there are midday assistant roles too,
shorthand for `dinner lady`, which would be a pleasant distraction from the housework, but a fiver for working one hour slap bang in the middle of the day is not much of an incentive.
Right. Mundane tasks await. The dishwasher needs to be emptied. The fridge needs to be cleaned. The floors need to be de-crumbed. The post needs to be shuffled around and ignored.
The youngest daughter needs to be paid some attention and more fat balls pushed into the bird feeder.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Basking in the warm glow of victory

Yesterday, I won at bowls.
It was an eventful day in our house because I have a husband of the
I-must-win-at-all-costs-winning-is-all- variety.
He is undoubtedly a sweetheart, with a kind, wise old soul, but ambitious beyond words.
We went bowling. I won. He sulked all the way back home. Enough said.
Today is Monday. The start of another new week in credit crunched, recession blighted blighty.
I am ( still ) job hunting. I'm looking for that elusive thing- a job which fits in mostly with school hours thus avoiding the need for costly daily wrap- around daycare. Our girls seem to think that my job is to look after them. I don't think they can imagine a time when they were not the centre of our universe. `but Mummy, you look after us`....
`yes sweetie, but what does Mummy do when you are at school all day; don't you think Mummy would like a nice little job to fill the few hours between 9 and 3 ?`
`don't be silly Mum,
you can go on facebook`
I like social networking, but it doesn't pay.
I must have delusions of grandeur. I assume that, despite not having worked for an employer for several years, the fact that I did once work, and was bloody good at it, means that I should be able to sashay back into a convenient local job paying similar amounts to my last role.
It seems that this is not possible.
Not only is there a deep recession going on, there are women who have never taken a career break, who have worked from babyhood onwards, and kept their CV shiny and updated.
It doesn't matter that I use a PC most days and have recent experience of every (almost ) Microsoft package and that I've gained valuable new skills as a Mother because the career-gap needs to be bridged with something.
I'm positive that something will turn up.
I'm just getting bored of trotting out that old cliche on an almost weekly basis.
I have plenty to fill the not-so-empty hours, so why am I moaning ?
Did I mention that we are getting a dog ?
I am not a dog person, but I've been coveting a chihuahua for so long now.
I know, I know... covet is the wrong word. It's a word used to describe a beautiful pair of boots or cashmere jumper, not a bloody dog. Dogs are for doggy people, right ? People who get up at 8 o clock on Sunday mornings and walk in the rain with a poop bag at the ready, before returning home and watching the poop maker leave zig zaggy muck marks all over the laminate.
A chihuahua is not a dog, however. It's more like a dependant cat, who doesn't wander off into neighbouring gardens never to be seen again. It's like a cat who actually loves you in a totally unconditional way, with blinding loyalty and stupid devotion. It's tiny, too. It wont eat lots and wont need exhausting long walks, unless I feel the urge to walk it for miles and miles.
Have I lost my mind ?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New Year. A New Start.

Okay, I need a kick in the arse.
I neglected the blogosphere for too long, so am returned with fresh thoughts ready to unleash on an unsuspecting web. Perhaps typing my thoughts out in an orderly ( or even random ) fashion will make sense of them ? Or not.
I've been reading a lot lately.
I'm loving Margaret Atwood.
I ate too much over Christmas and am anxious about the tight fit of my clothes, so will be hitting the pool on an even more regular basis.
That's all for now.
I'm back !