Bridget at home

Following on from yesterday’s blog, I now have ‘Halloween toe’. It is black, green, purple and red. It looks like it is going to drop off any second.

I cant bend it so I am walking like John Thorn, lifting my foot up, along and down like a robot. I was dreading someone asking what was wrong and was trying to think up a reason other than the real reason (because it is a tad embarrassing). I thought my husband was heading for a mid-life crisis…….

Talking of which, my husband told me there is this girl in his office who sounds and looks like Bridget Jones. I think ‘why would he want a Bridget at work when he has one at home?’.

The cheating husband of a friend of mine mentioned to me that she and I should share a horse together (because he wants her to use the money he has got o make his guilt diminish through buying big things for her). I’m not going to help him do that.

Secretly my friend is planning to turn her house into a woman’s refuge for wives who have been let down in some way by their husbands. What with the children and the dogs associated with all the wobbly marriages we are aware of it would become a cult.

This blog is for Unicef.

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What was your day like?

I woke up feeling the day was doomed before I even began. But sometimes the more you dread something, the better it turns out to be and, in this case, today was spot on. If daily life is a hurdle race I Sally Gunnelled it today (and that was after a night spent sleeping on the sofa after hubby pissed me off).

Conversely, the more you look forward to something, the more crap it turns put to be. That has been my daughter’s experience lately. Spiteful girls making her feel rubbish at Brownies and being at the wrong place at the wrong time for Xmas play auditions, so other friends claim credit from a script an act that she did entirely herself, spending an hour working on it the night before. As a parent I am torn when I hear these experiences. Part of me feels awful for her and I offer what help I can to sort it out and the other part looks on the positive side of her building up  resistance levels to some ‘hard knocks’ in life.

If you can enjoy the rough with the smooth then life seems worth the struggle.

This blog is for Unicef.

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The perfect match, is he out there?

My friend has had to make a tough call and pull the plug on a relationship with a man who can, at best, be described as a commitment phobe. After three years she can no longer wait for him to ask her to go on holiday together, let alone move-in. He still has his ex-girlfriend visiting his house to see his dogs and has even been spotted going out with his ex for ‘the occasional drink’. The worst thing is, it was him that proactively sought my friend for a relationship even while he was still living with his ex. My friend refused to start anything until he ended the relationship with his current girlfriend. Two weeks later he turns up on her doorstep having booted his ex out of the house and ended it. Three years later he does the same to my friend and she didnt even get the chance to live with him.

My friend is one of those rare breeds of people who put others before themselves and have nothing but good intentions, no hidden agendas. She deserves happiness yet she only finds the opposite with the men in her life (a bit like Kylie Minogue).

She is in her mid thirties and wants children and marriage (in no particular order).

I am hoping once she has re-grouped she will go on match.com and find the man who is drinking the same brand of orange juice as her while he waits for his path to cross hers (aka Sleepless in Seattle).

In the meantime I will patiently wait for the day when we can go wedding dress shopping (I DO have an agenda!).

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Four on holiday

The wind blew us from boat to motorhome,

A surprising adventure was in store,

We found some sites that were spectacular and free

Others we had to pay alot for

The sea summoned us, her charms irresistible

A boat-trip or two fulfilled us more

Sky and space and freedom worth sacrificing

The pennies and pounds we had to withdraw,

Bikes and bells absorbed sites under pedal

Cream teas, ice-creams we kept asking for

Then family joined us for a day or two

In a convoy of campers we began to explore

Kayaks and wet-suits, sandwiches and beach towels

Beautiful views and scenes that dropped jaws to floor

A dotty dog accompanied the travelling circus

Her idea of adventures sometimes against the law

Reluctant goodbyes preceded further journeys

The jurassic coast and a windy ramble to Durdle-Door

All modes of travel we sampled, buses, trains,

And anything with sliding doors

At times the children were taxing

Sometimes we fought like a band on tour

We braved the beautiful beaches

Despite  goose-bumps and chattering jaws

We convinced ourselves it was still Summer

Regardless of all the coats and layers we wore

The adventure ended in the forest

Where we decided to take a tour

Of the ponies, pines and territory

That is protected by ancient law

We fed the children first to save money

And kept fuel costs low door-to-door

But the budget still ran over

Soon we were picking pennies off the floor

But time together is well spent

Gazing at our lives now so changed from before

Holidays as a couple were relaxing

But they are an adventure now we are four.

 

This blog is for Unicef. Nine days away from blogging = £9 to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

  

 

 

 

Finding Minnie on Memory Lane

My Mum brought round old pictures she found in the attic. Photography and film is vitally important because it is not until you look at a photo or watch a film that you realise how much of your life you had already forgotten while busy living in the present.

Little observations such as an item of furniture in the background of a picture taken at Granny’s house in the early eighties evoke fond memories and emotions. In one picture in the bottom left you can just make out Granny’s coffee table and the items she always had to hand: a wooden back-scratcher (I have never come across one since), a puzzler book, an ashtray full of fag ends and a box of tissues.

My favourite outfits through my childhood, my birthday cakes, duvet covers, friends, theme park rides (one of which still exists and I have a picture of my children riding it) and most memorable of all the picture taken with Minnie Mouse – a memory so strong, the picture helps me to recall the emotion I felt that day, even the smell of the washing powder on my favourite Minnie outfit.

Children now have access to so much media recording their every move. In a way it is refreshing to look back on a time when the quality of the photographs were pot-luck and it took a week to get photos developed and the anticipation of opening up the  photo wallet and seeing how good or bad the images were.

The mind and memory alone cannot be relied upon to retain moments of the past, photographs act as flashcards, look at a picture and the brain will do the rest.

Memory lane is worth a visit regardless of the journey experienced.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Desperately seeking bikers (with boobs)

My husband has got a new helmet and pair of bike trousers. He didn’t have to change the size of his trousers, but his helmet did need to go up a size. I didn’t know that your head continues to expand into your thirties, but clearly this is the case  with my husband.

As part of his order, he was given car window stickers that read ‘Born to ride, forced to drive’. I first rode a motorbike when i was 14 and took to it like a duck to water, i wonder what could have happened if i had got into biking earlier. It certainly would have saved me a lot in fuel costs on the daily commute. I would have built up so much experience that would have helped me to ride the bigger bikes, i find them now rather intimidating because i worry if they get dropped thats it, im stuck.

Months have passed and i am stuck driving my estate, commuting on a bike now is impossible with the tiddlywinks in tow. I could go out for a ‘ride’ at the weekend but it feels wrong to be on my own when i could be with the family. Although i would enjoy it i would also feel a bit lonely riding out on my own.

I would love to have a girl friend who also rode a bike but it seems most of the female riders are lesbians, so have absolutely nothing in common with me.

Is there a biking Mum out there who is also in the same quandary. Female petrolheads keep their passion secret, particularly amongst other women. I used to stay up the small hours to watch an F1 GP live and last night was up past my bedtime watching highlights from the Isle of Man TT.

So it would be great to hear from any female bikers out there to exchange experiences and enjoy pep talks.

I am blogging every day for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

Break-time

“Red wine, I’ve had a little bit too much”, (as the Lady Gaga song goes) hence no blog last night, so a pound in the pot to UNICEF. Last night I was invited on a rare meeting of mums for a drink. I was very grateful for this as the day had been eventful. I awoke at 6.30 am to hear my son utter the words ‘pool and ‘pants’, I then opened his bedroom door to find poo all over the floor. It is great to start the day with vanish carpet cleaner in one hand and umpteen cloths and kitchen paper in the other, particularly semi-naked. It is the role of a mother to clean up poo, clothe children and put breakfast in front of them before clothing yourself. Its not a pretty sight but someone has got to do it.

Once work was put of the way I began the evening with the dreaded series of tasks before bed-time, tantrums, homework, hovering, clearing up spillages, potty time, empty potty time, bath-time, more hovering. I just thought I had done most of what I had intended to complete before hubby arrived from work when I noticed baby boy had upended a quarter of a bottle of shampoo onto his head and was gaily massaging it in. It took several hair washes before I could actually see hair rather than soap suds. At which point my husband arrives and joins us in the bathroom, helpfully glancing at his watch as if to say ‘why aren’t the children in bed and why isn’t my dinner on the table’ (well not quite as bad as that but you get my drift).

I did what any sane mother would do after an insane day and I threw my son’s watering can up in the air. My husband still hasn’t learnt to wait until I am free of objects in my hand before antagonising me because I am an impulsive hurler when provoked. I am sure this would serve me well in a game of cricket if I stayed angry for long enough. Why is it that, even though I too had worked all day, I was still expected to single-headedly organise the children, keep the housework chores at bay and cook? The watering can was temporarily liberating, so too was walking out the door a little while later to have a drink. Everyone needs the opportunity to let off regardless of  where you are in the world or what your situation is. Just as women in Syria still want to enjoy a hen night regardless of the fact that they are in a refugee camp. Men also need this, although they seem to get away with more expensive retreats such as power tools, sheds and big boy’s toys.

So last night was a much needed break, but I did get swept away with the number of glasses poured for me, I tried to reassure myself that the ‘I quit sugar for life’ book says red wine is better than white.

It is certainly true that a Mum after a night-off is much better than a Mum without a break.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Tale as old as time

Our family is divided tonight, my son and husband are bobbing up and down on the boat in the same marina where we spent our anniversary while me and my daughter enjoyed a trip to the cinema and a rather expensive trip to Yo Sushi! (I wish I could say it was down to my daughter enthusiastically grabbing plates off the conveyor belt like a true first-timer, but unfortunately it was me being a mummy pig). As we live out in the sticks going somewhere like Yo Sushi! is a real treat, so you want to make the most of it as you don’t know when the opportunity will next arise.

The same could be said for one-to-one time with your child. We had a chance to talk without the distractions of baby brother and his potty training. She told me worries at school that I had not been aware of and enjoyed general chats about a variety of things: from friendships to fashion to boating to cars and everything in-between. We had fun picking out some gifts  for a friend’s birthday party (although her generosity had to be curbed somewhat). But what struck me about this tie together was what I potentially miss out when the humdrum of life takes over. Sometimes, in fact very often, I am so keen to ‘get through’ the day that I don’t take enough time to appreciate moments with my daughter. Before too long I will turn round and she will have grown-up.

So tonight was a great reminder to slow down, stop racing through motherhood and enjoy the most important people in life.

This blog is fundraising for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

The Ladies Room

If I was to consolidate all of my clubbing experiences through my teens and early twenties into a short film aired in the ladies toilets of a nightclub, then it wouldnt be too dissimilar to the storyline of ‘The Powder Room’, a British film a million miles away from Working Title scmultz. A girly flick with grit. It works because the ladies room of nightclubs across the country re-enact mini soap operas every weekend. Of course the same concept wouldnt work in the men’s urinals, although it may be abit of an eye opener as to what dialogue, if any, is exchanged between guys.

Watching this film was almost like a fond trip down memory lane, with those memories significantly exaggerated and dramatised. It covers pretty much every scenario a woman may find herself in at a British nightclub. All except the ease of access to the loos. Wherever I went there was always a huge queue and not enough time to hang around like it was some kind of seedierversion of a coffee shop, where you might like to hang and chat. I cant recall ever spending longer than 10 minutes in the ladies, I  favour of hollering at eachother in the club. You couldn’t seek the solace of a smoking area because smoking was allowed everywhere, including in the loos.

The film at times made me hanker for my clubbing days but in the main I am glad that time is behind me. I watched it with one eye on memories of my youth and one eye on what may lie in store for my daughter and what choices she will make when put in similar scenarios. I hate to think that she would be anything like me, if she is I hope she has the luck and resilience yo go with it.

I am blogging every day for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

Girly heaven with the boys

“I was the only girl here today”, my daughter announced proudly as I picked her up from a day at an outdoor activities centre. She was on her own in the changing rooms and was worried that she would be left on her own if the boys changed quickly. Turned out it took her 10 minutes and she had to wait for the boys outside.

When we were out on the boat today we witnessed a regatta of teenage sailors. I admired the way one girl recovered from a capsize with such style that it looked as if she had planned it. As the boat went over she saw what was coming, clambered over the side as it rotated into the water, jumped onto the keel and hauled the boat back upright with ease. It was textbook. I wish I had filmed it and put it on YouTube. The sight of this appealed to me for so many reasons. First, it was a bank holiday and rather than being inside, bored and chomping on chocolate the teens were put in the fresh air and sun and occasionally getting dunked. Second they were using their brains and body simultaneously- not a regular occurrence with teenagers. But best of all it was seeing boys and girls competing on equal terms and when a girl gets herself onto trouble, she jolly we’ll gets herself put of it without any bother or interference.

Sailing is one of the few sports where men and women can compete on equal terms and when I see such sports in action it gives me a hint at what is possible of this equality was broadened out to society at large.

My daughter absolutely loved her day with the boys today because she was enjoying the day as their friend and equal. When she plays football she complains that the boys are reluctant o pass to her and she takes this on the chin. Today she got the bullseye in archery, made her raft flat and was the only person to reach the top on all the climbing wall levels. Then came home with one of the boys, who is also n her class, and played on the trampoline and then later on PS3’s ‘Need for Speed’. She was in ‘girly’ heaven.

I am blogging every day for UNICEF – see the campaign here.

Thanks for reading.