A poo story

Today I am going to talk about manure and what happens when a lot of middle class mothers get together and rub each other up the wrong way over a load of horse poo.

A school gardening club requests some manure for their environmental garden. The delivery turns up and they have forgotten about it, the delivery is at lunchtime so the school start panicking about health and safety. The manure guy asks the school to contact one of the mothers from the gardening club, who is at a coffee morning. She asks him to wait but he is too keen to dump. So pleases the Headmaster by dumping the manure right outside a classroom and then gets stuck in the school sports field, churning up the pitch. When the Gardening Mums turn up, they have an angry headteacher waiting for them, school office ladies fuming about health and safety, children running around a manure heap and the manure guy stuck in a churned up pitch.

Then ensues lots of confrontation, a few people with their noses out of joint, and Mums giving each other frosty stares the following day (not o mention sore hands and dirty nails from all the quick shovelling they had to do.

A poo story, but an entertaining one. A shit day but delightfully full of puns that would make a Bond movie scriptwriter proud.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Charitable capitalism

I have recently joined my school’s PTA committee and I am seeing at first-hand how difficult it is to entice parents to fundraising events and part with some cash. For instance,  out of the 200 families that were sent books brochures (where every order placed also creates money for the school to buy their own books for the children), only 3 parents placed orders – 2 of which are members of the committee.

If people struggle to reach into their pockets to help the schools educating their children, then no wonder charities overall are finding it particularly tough to enrol supporters.

Parents lead busy lives so require constant reminders about dates and events.Now I realise why I am bombarded with letters, emails and texts from charities asking for money, because people need constant reminders about what is going on outside of their own day-to-day bubble.

The money it must cost for charities in communication must be phenomenal. I wonder how much they have to spend to raise £1.

That is why initiatives such as Easyfundraising is so clever because it weaves the draw of online shopping with online giving making it easier for people to donate. Making life easy to donate is key. I think retailers could do more to encourage charitable giving. For instance, Tescos could ask customers if they would like to make £1 donation to a charity of their choice when paying their bill. The charity’s overheads would be reduced and customers simply tag it on to their weekly shopping rather than fending off yet another telephone call/ door sales person or sending in a seperate cheque or online payment.

In short capitalism could do more to be charitable.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Can you spare 5 minutes for a child?

I felt like a bad Mum today, not a nice feeling.

I was busy making final arrangements for our holiday in a few weeks time while baby boy was concentrating on a number two for the potty. I glanced at the watch and panicked as I realised I needed to be at the school bus stop to pick up my daughter. But baby boy was in mid poo……

I can sympathise with his predicament as I was scarred for life when my mother, impatiently waiting for me to finish my business on the potty, scooped me up, potty and all and planted me on the back seat of the car while she raced to pick my dad up from work (this was before the era of car seats and slap bang in the era of ‘anything goes’). I recall thinking it strange to be watching buildings go by the window while I  was still, to all intents and purposes, still on the loo, albeit a potty. It was the hardest poo of my life.

So, i didnt want to disturb baby boy prematurely. This resulted in me being 5 minutes late. “Not to worry” I thought to myself as I raced down the alleyway, “another parent will no doubt be standing with her to keep her company”. But when I got the other end and raced o the side of the road, I saw her standing on the opposite side alone and looking very worried while the disappearing backs of other mothers and their children made their way home, apparently not the slightest bit aware of my daughter’s predicament.

This made me angry. Of course I was angry at myself for not getting there sooner, but I was also angry at the lack of care from others.

It is at times like these when you realise how easy it is for awful things to happen to children regardless of how many ‘grown ups’ there are in the vicinity. “It’s not my problem” ….. But what if it was your child?

I am blogging every day for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

Punctures and Pride, motherly pride

On the way home last night I hit a dip in the road, I momentarily winced, then carried on. Later on in my journey the tyre pressure light came on by which point i had forgotten about the dip in the road incident so just assumed the warning light glowplugs were playing up again (a common fault with Skodas I am told). But when my husband went to drive it later and saw the car was sitting at a funny angle and noticed a tyre as flat as a pancake, i remembered the dip in the road…..(but kept quiet about it as husband was already moaning about the cost of tyres).

Like most cars now, the Skoda doesnt carry a spare, so i got on the phone to my Dad who thankfully lives locally, to ask if i could borrow his old Honda. He was very happy to oblige. So this morning, I contend with an automatic gearbox and make the most of the sunroof on a hot day and set off for my last day at work (read post about HMRC) via Clive the tyre man. Once the new tyre was loaded in the boot of Dad’s car (along with 2 huge sacks of bird feed and a large bag of pigs ears) i continued my journey. I switched on the radio and heard nothing but whote noise, so played the cd dad had buried in there, ‘the bet of musicals’. About the quarter of the way through my journey I was desperate for noise other than the musicals cd, so then pulled over to wind up the aerial (the car is 14 years old so it is a nit old school), i then realised manual intervention was a bad thing as now I hear the whirring sound of a car desperately trying to get its aerial up but to no avail -i could say something about old men and viagra here…..

After eventually getting to work then surviving my last day, my next mission is to get myself and baby boy extracted from work/creche as soon as possible so that we can make it for my daughters awards ceremony. I was blown away by the lovely things that both the Headmaster and her lass teacher said about her, including talking about her willingness and determination to try anything once. It was tricky as I was filming the start of the Headmasters speech assuming that she would be getting an award but not necessarily the one I was filming (parents are invited if their child is to receive an award). He said so many lovely things to describe her and her learning ability including her ‘thorough’ approach to maths. I felt the pride of a parent who stares in awe at a child that is doing well regardless of her parents….

This blog is for Unicef, thanks for reading.

 

 

Merry Mums enjoy Merry Wives

Apologies for my absence yesterday, another £1 in the pot to Unicef, but I was busy with a family friend and fellow mum, enjoying Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives’, in the beautiful idyllic grounds of a boarding school in the heart of the British countryside. It was oozing with national charm, right down to the 1950’s setting, the cameo appearance of a vintage car and good old-fashioned fun-poking at the aristocracy, the Welsh and the French (in no particular order).

The lead role of the overweight, boozy and letchy Sir John Falstaff was played by Northern charmer, Ste Johnson, whose wicked wit, genuine 44inch waist and willingness to poke fun at the audience (and judge them on their wine from Lidl) as well as his salacious appetite for their crisps, was unlike anything I had ever seen. Knowing our hubbys were at home dealing with bath-time and bed-time while we sat in St George’s flag themed deck-chairs, eating picnic food rom M&S and drinking mojitos while guffawing at one elegant and poetic innuendo after another was different and bliss all rolled into one.

I did not know the plot of The Merry Wives before last night’s performance but the brilliant acting made it so easy to follow, freeing the audience to fully appreciate the prose and poetry that makes Shakespeare so entertaining and so admired.

In fact understanding the plot is key to really enjoying Shakespeare, thats why a book that has converted all of the key Shakespeare plays into cartoons for primary school children is genius. I bought a copy for my daughter and it puts Shakespeare’s lines next to illustrations as well as explaining, in modern-day English, the complexities of the story and the many characters and how they relate. I figure if she reads some of these in bedtime stories, by the time she has reached secondary school a basic understanding of  some of the key plays will have sunk into her psyche.

I have started to read some classic texts as part of my bedtime reading too. I have just finished ‘The Age of innocence’ by Edith Wharton and was blown away by her descriptions of characters and emotions, it is this ability to use words that effortlessly describe a feeling or an emotion, that makes enables a nook to give pleasure regardless of the century it was written in.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

when I grow up

There are not many of us pursuing the dream careers we fantasised about as children. As a parent, i am all too aware of not letting one misguided remark influence the entire future aspirations of my children. This can actually happen, hence the burden of responsibility that is parenthood. How many autobiographies have you read where the author followed what their parents ideally wanted of them and were happy about it? The same goes for teachers, my university lecturer scoffed at my ambition. Sir Jackie Stewart’s teachers didnt rate him but look what he achieved.

So when my daughter starts talking about what she would like to do ‘when i grow up’, i listened without passing judgement but telling her what it would take to achieve particular career choices. For example she said she wanted to be an actress and that she would need to go to theatre school from age 11 or 12. I said we couldnt afford to pay for a special school so the best way to attempt to get in was via a scholarship. The best way to get a scholarship is to do LAMDA exams. “But that would be torture”, she said. I replied that if she felt that way it might be best to think of another route to acting. “But i really want to go to drama school”, i said she shouldnt put pressure on herself too early on in life as it gets tougher as you get older so enjoy being young when you can. But i soon realised you dont know how good you had it when you were young until you are grown-up so that was particularly useless advice.

She then rattled off a list of things she would like to do including: actress, racing driver, writer, midwife or maid for a rich person. She then asked which of the two ideas i liked best. I refused to answer as i said it was ‘entirely your choice’. She then begged me to answer her but i refused and said ‘the best advice i can give is do what you enjoy and the job will come and find you’.

I just hope she doesnt like watching tv and eating crisps to the extent that she waits for the job to arrive.

In the Tarantino film Jackie Brown, De Niro says to Bridget Fonda ‘you need ambition’ (or something along those lines) and she replies her ambition was to ‘get high and watch tv’.

I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

A very British School Summer Fair

Things that dont normally happen at your average school summer fair:

1) you win the bid for a pair of Alexander Mcqueen Puma sneakers supposedly once worn by Miley Cyrus (they must have been worn for namoseconds as they were not remotely cheesy). My daughter is thrilled to have won them (she will have to wait a couple of years for her feet to grow) and I was semi-humiliated as it was announced how much I bid (after a glass of Pimms and mild sunstroke). I laughed it off saying it was an early Christmas present and I figured at least the money (£70) is going to the school. My daughter seemed more than happy to have them as her Christmas present, although I wonder how she will still feel about that come December. Before i bid for them I was initially disappointed as I selfishly thought i could have them for myself, but when i discovered they were size ‘4’ it then dawned on me that I have a daughter who is showing the beginnings of shoe worship like her mother. In fact she has an effortless style that i never seemed to be able to carry off when I was eight, probably because my dad was too busy enlarging my girth with frequent trips to McDonalds.

Things that normally happen:

1) Gossip and the discovery that any news from you has already raced its way through the grapevine so that you have nothing to add (except put a few facts straight)

2) Getting a bit too competitive in the Mums race – I tried not to care that i didnt get a medal for coming third (i will wear trainers next time)

3) drinking a bit too much pimms

4) Moaning about senior management decisions, in this instance changing the school logo to…..wait for it……a child’s drawing of a tree (how original) to add insult to injury it looks more like a propeller with green blades

5) Just when you successfully had a clear out of toys, books and bears for the fair donations pile, you end up walking out of there with an armful of more toys, books and bears

6) The home movie that you will watch over and over again when your son is older of his first ever race (he was too comfortable to stand up for the get set, ready, go part and came in second to last – but was one of the cutest on the track)

7) Two children with way too much sugar in their bloodstream

8) The need to lie down in a darkened room, plus lots of paracetamol afterwards

But its all good in the mummy hood.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Racist at 8

When a mother turns up at your doorstep saying ‘can i have a word’, you immediately think ‘uh-oh’. But in this case it was about a child in school who has not only been causing problems in class but creating racial tension on the school bus. We live in a rural community with a few children from other ethnicities in addition to white British. In the four years my daughter has been at school, i have never heard a racist mark and she has been completely unaware that racism even exists in society, treating everyone as an equal, which is as it should be – its just adults that balls things up.

So when she hears this particular child call her black friends ‘brownies’, she is instantly offended because she doesnt like name-calling at all, least of all when it is regarding someone’s appearance. I am sad that an 8 year old child already holds these views and has obviously been influenced by ignorant parents.

But how do you undo bad views? The saying goes, ‘show me a boy at 7 and I will show you the man’. This child is 8 and his prospects are frightening. The best intentions of the Headmaster cannot undo years of negative behaviour from parents. If he becomes too much, what next? Where does he go?

I am already panicking about the implications on my daughter’s year group as they progress to the local comp….

Oh to be the mum of a toddler again…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Let’s hear it for the girls

Sorry I was absent last night. I hit my Thursday night wall again for the second time. I have this wonderful boss who is very charming and this helps in his powers of delegation. He askes me to focus on one project and then keeps adding to my task list, forgetting that I work 22 hours a week. I’m not the modern day Cinderella, my work more resembles the ugly stepsister trying to squeeze work into the petite shoe that is my part-time hours. I’m sure part-timers the world over are nodding their heads in sage agreement.  I also got a dose of what it is like to be a single working-mum, as hubby was away. Hence me hitting the deck as soon as possible. Single working mothers I bow down to you all in awe – hats off girls and keep up the good work!

Of course I also took advantage of hubby being away by organising a girls night in. I also gave myself a night-off from checking the nutritional info o the back of pre-prepared food, so just chucked some dips on the table and breadsticks and let the girls let rip. I had my fair share too plus a couple of glasses of wine. So I was incredibly puzzled when I found myself upchucking over the toilet bowl in the small hours – has my diet made my tummy completely intolerant of anything mildly rubbish? I don’t know, needless to say I haven’t touched the dips since, I am also a bit scared of the crisps …and rose wine.

In my bid  for the bed and rest, I missed the England Men’s football, what a shame….lost again.

But on the flip side, look how well the women are doing:

England’s Women are just one point away from next summer’s World Cup after a narrow 2-1 win in Ukraine.

Mark Sampson’s side have won all eight qualifiers to date and are five points clear of second-placed Wales with two Group 6 matches remaining. A draw in Wales in August will seal a place at Canada 2015. (source: thefa.com)

Read more here

I am already looking forward to next year when I am hopeful the women can show the guys how it is done….and on (shock horror) less than £300k a week (or whatever Rooney earns).

I shall tell that to my daughter when I pick her up from football after school today, she is gradually receiving more passes from the boys having inspired the girls to get involved, come on we are in 2014 people!

As I missed last night’s post another £1 to Unicef. If you can donate to the campaign – great!

Thanks for reading.

Deadlines

It is 8pm. My daughter is busy creating an elaborate pack of home-made cards as part of her homework, I ask whatever happened to a standard worksheet? Baby boy has (i think) finally gone to sleep after several false alarms followed by successful visits to the potty. In an attempt to wind him down i sing ‘ba ba black sheep’ at his request and he then has the audacity to say ‘try again’. The dogs were unimpressed when i put down a handful of bonios for dinner because i haven’t had the chance to buy proper dog food and my husband has passed out on the sofa catching flies with his mouth wide open,exhausted after a day at college and his motorbike ride on the M25, which took all his concentration to prevent accidentally ending up on the organ donor list. A prospective client rang earlier and asked when he would be able to call her, i said it may not be this evening because he works late on Wednesdays to which she replied, ‘well can he try and call me tonight as i do need to get my trees looked at’……i dont fancy her chances.

I am typing this blog upstairs because despite all my best attempts, bombs keep exploding downstairs resulting in a permanently dishevelled existence, in fact ‘dishevelled’ is a very accurate description for most things at the mo.

I just overheard my daughter explain to a sleepy/semi-grumpy daddy that she has to cinish her jomework, ‘otherwise i am going to be dead’. I think her teacher needs to let them in on the secret about ‘deadlines’ what is the point in trying to burn them out at 8.

Talking of which, that is why I missed a blog post last night (£1 in the pot to Unicef) because i was reviewing my husband’s homework till 11pm last night and after helping out my daughter with her homework earlier in the evening, i didnt fancy staring at another screen of text. I would hate to know how many hours we lose just struggling to meet deadlines and staring at bloomin screens.

I am blogging for Unicef, thanks for reading.