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)