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 !