Thursday, 28 May 2009
We are going to eat fish and chips with seagulls whirling all around us goading us into throwing a few chips into the air.
We will have a paddle in the icy cold sea.
There will be sand castles.
We will drive over Dartmoor and I will point out the huge granite tors to a pair of uninterested children.
We will arrive at the lighthouse.
There will be a wifi connection that is reliable (yay!).
There will be photo's posted on the blog.
We will have pasta puttanesca cooked by eldest daughter.
There will be gin and tonic at the top of the lightouse for everyone over 18 (i.e. me).
There will be contemplation of impending 40th birthday ....but not in bad way.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
- The shop on the site does not sell any fresh vegetables but it does sell the biggest jars of hair gel known to man.
- You need never wonder what it is like to have a shower inside a coffin again.
- The fridge is tiny and you may panic that there is nowhere to stick your wine box but due to lack of fresh veg (see above) you can use the veg drawer for your wine.
- When there is a particularly strong gust of wind the whole caravan shakes which is an added trill.
- The ornaments in the caravan. There would be a picture here but the wifi in the "Oceana" club refuses to upload it. Imagine glorious blue dolphins.
- This is the only place where your children can meet a man dressed in a fox costume and feel very excited about it.
- Its been sunny all day here and it has rained back home.
- The kids feel like they are having an adventure.
- Hey, you feel like you are having and adventure. People are drinking blue drinks here...
Monday, 25 May 2009
- When putting a post code into your newly acquired satnav check it is the right postcode. So if you actually want to travel to the headquarters of the holiday company that you are staying with go ahead and use the postcode at the top of the receipt. Otherwise you might want to look a little further down the receipt and find the postcode of the site you actually staying at.
- When deciding to give a child complete responsibility for a bottle of water in the back of the car (especially a small child, especially a child with co-ordination difficulties) you might want to check that the lid is on before they wave it over their head. Otherwise small child will end up suddenly covered in water. Which will be quite a shock to them. And you.
More tomorrow from the caravan park....
Sunday, 24 May 2009
...I also discovered that zero key on my laptop has stopped working. This had two consequences. First I could not get online at the cut price hotel we were staying at because to do that I would have to pay £5 per hour and to do that I would have to put my card number in which of course contains a zero. Bah and double bah. Second my parentheses now have no end. I can start like so (but I cannot finish . So henceforth I am designating this - ^ to be my close brackets. For example: I thought £5 per hour for internet access was eminently reasonable (who am I kidding - what a bloody rip off!!^
...I was relieved that mother lived up to reputation of supplying at least one good line per trip. Last time she informed me that she had been to the cinema to see "Alcoholic Shopping". I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea for a film, or possibly a way of life, until I realised that she meant "Confessions of a Shopaholic". This time she told me that I didn't look like I was going to be 37. Which was a lovely compliment , especially since I will be forty next week. One might think that of all people you could rely on your mother to remember your age but apparently not so.
...I am currently praying to the god of traffic jams that we have done our time and that we can go on holiday tomorrow without being stuck in any more queues. While I am at it I have also asked the packing fairy to pop by and sort out our bags.
...I am wondering whether it is possible that someone has broken into my house and stolen only the suitcases.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Youngest was first to show symptoms. She announced yesterday evening that she was in love with Oliver. Not only that but she would be marrying him in the summer under the tree in the playing field at school. I was invited but I would need to wear a pretty dress which would need to be bought specially for the occassion - clearly my current wardrobe is not deemed to be up to scratch. Even more importantly Oliver WAS NOT aware of this plan and nor was he aware of the fact that that THERE WOULD BE KISSING. Under no circumstances was I allowed to reveal this information to Oliver - not a hard promise to keep since I am by no means certain exactly which small boy he is in the class of seven year olds which youngest is in.
Disconcertingly eldest is also showing signs of having been infected. When she snuggled next to me on the sofa last night her mobile phone came too. Whilst that may not be unusual for a lot of twelve year olds it is distinctly odd for eldest. She has an almost unnatural reluctance to switch her phone on which I can't really explain other than some desire to preserve the limited life force of the phone. I swear that I have explained that batteries can be recharged and everything but she really doesn't seem to want to believe me. Anyway phone came to sofa too. And low and behold .....messages were received and sent. More than that, potential messages were checked for even when they weren't there. All became clear when I saw the new screen saver. Picture of friends had been banished and replaced with "I heart Harry". This is where it all starts I thought.
I remember the intoxicating adrenaline rush of my first love. We didn't have text in those days. We were both 11. He was called Stephen and sent me a valentine card. I gave him piggy backs in the playground. It was a summer love. Short, intense, built on a shared appreciation of a certain type of bacon flavour crisp which you can't buy anymore. It didn't last of course. But it was so innocent and sweet and intense.
I almost felt envy but not quite. My heart has been through enough. I'm not sure I would have the strength to start again from the beginning again.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
It is walk to school week this week. Which is fortunate as the car is currently in the garage having major surgery. Such major surgery that in fact I did wonder whether to let it just pass away quietly and send it to the great scrap heap in the sky. But we need a car for our holiday next week and the thought of buying a new car in a week just filled me with horror. So its being mended as we speak.
Whats more it does feel a bit like one of the family. Its the first car I bought all by myself for a massive £450. I like the way it has got actual bits of bare metal on the top. I like the way it brings down the tone of the road I live on. I like the way that white is my least favourite colour in a car but driving it makes me feel like a cop in a terrible '80's drama. I like the way the sunroof doesn't shut properly when opened. I like the way I forget that at the beginning of every summer and wonder to myself why I don't open the sun roof more (yep, did it again this year, had to rope in brother-in-law to help me close it). I like the way it took me and the girls all the way down to the south of France a couple of years ago. I like the way how, on the trip down, eldest could pay the tolls from the passenger seat side because, you guessed it, the drivers window doesn't work either. I particularly like the fact that the satnav will be worth more than the car. I like the fact that I have forgotten to lock it like a hundred times but it is so knackered that no-one has ever tried to nick it. I like the fact that early one morning I once found a well dressed young man asleep on the backseat who presumably was unable to make it home after a night out. I particularly like the fact that after I kicked him out and he had rather sheepishly apologised he had the gall to ask which way I was driving so I might take him home.
And in case you are wondering why I am sad enough to take a picture of my car, I'm not. Eldest daughter did. I can only assume that she feels the same way about it as I do.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Anyway, moving on to the list:
- Two holidays, one after the other. Cheesy tacky caravan (the chief pleasure of which is the "clubhouse" where all food comes in a basket and the entertainment consists of a man in a giant chicken costume - best enjoyed with several large glasses of pinot grigio and a healthy dose of irony) followed by slightly more refined lighthouse weekend (will post some pictures for Polly)
- Satnav in order to get to these places without having to rely on map reading by 12 year old.
- Dog -theoretically for children but all the pester power in the world would not stand a chance if I wasn't secretly fulfilling my lifetime ambition to own a dog.
- Ticket to Copenhagen to partake in the madness/creative frenzy that is Blogcamp. Could be the only chance I have in my life to learn belly dancing and knitting in one weekend whilst eating/slurping a gin and tonic sorbet.
- Tattoo. Dragonfly on hip. I am very pleased with it especially since it meant I got to wrap myself in clingfilm - something I have always wanted to do although not necessarily whilst youngest daughter watched me with a look of mild surprise on her face.
It's still a couple of weeks away so doubt there will be more excuses for presents to me....me....me
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Feeling thoroughly at peace with the world we went to the kitchen to make breakfast. Fried egg on toast for her and bacon and tomato sarnies for me. Coffee, juice, radio in the background, lovely smells from the cooking breakfast and coffee. The kitchen has a huge bay window which almost goes down to the floor and looks out over all the back gardens. We like to watch the comings and goings of the animals while we sit at the table. Mainly birds but sometimes squirrels or the fox that lives in the garden downstairs. We have been following a pair of wood pigeons who have a nest in the tree at the bottom of the garden. I see one on the fence and point it out. Youngest points out that there are two pigeons. I stick my face up against the glass and peer again. There certainly are two pigeons. And by the time they are finished what they are up to there might be a number of baby pigeons on the way.
It's not that I'm a prude but circle of life questions before my first cup of coffee of the day are a little taxing. Moral of the story: put contact lenses in before pointing out potentially copulating animals to small children first thing in the morning.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
This runs on par with my other attempts at being a girl. I fall off high heels. I bite my nails. I can't really do make up. If I do do it I always forget to take it off. I rarely have matching underwear on (something I am given to understand that real girls do). I can't bear the time and effort it takes to blow dry my hair (another reason for the crop decision). I only own one handbag. My favourite gadget is my cordless drill as opposed to say my "Ladeeze Whirlpool Foot Spa" (which I hasten to add is not something I actually own). I am unable sustain any kind of conversation about beauty products, hair removal strategys, make-up or anti-ageing creams.
I have really been trying to discover my inner girl. There's no real sign of her as yet but maybe she will surface after the hair colour. Not holding my breath for it though.
Friday, 15 May 2009
I'm just waiting to see if he can invent an excuse to get behind me whilst I write this. "Scuse me love, just need to do my 9pm cleaning behind the sofa on a Friday night."
Hang on here we go....hold on....
There that's scared him off. He's slunk off into the kitchen looking very disturbed.."she's writing a blog about cheese...?" He can't stand cheese. It's his garlic and crucifix if you will.
So my evil work here is done. The devil can rest easy for the next few days.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
So today when I woke up tired and the sky was slate grey and overcast I also noticed all the small stuff that contributes to cheering me up. Among my passing thoughts for the day so far have been the following:
- (Upon staggering out of bed) thank god I'm not a kid - at least I can crawl to the kitchen and make coffee. How on earth did I ever get out of bed without the promise of black coffee to entice me?
- (Upon finding out that stepson has an exam today) again thank god I am not a kid. I'm not sure I could do exams any more.
- (Upon finishing off youngest's breakfast) I'm so pleased that she only ever eats half a boiled egg. Somehow eating half boiled egg makes me feel much better than eating a whole one.
- (Upon reading 50 page court judgment which I have to summarise by tomorrow) phew - not only do I understand it but most of it is irrelevant (in my humble opinion).
- (Upon putting the washing away) ALL SOCKS HAVE PAIRS!
- (Upon making more coffee) oh look there's a bagel left for me for lunch.
- (Upon noticing roof terrace through my bedroom window) bloody hell - I have managed to keep those plants alive for a whole year. Not only that but it looks lovely out there...
Of course there is a lot more than just monitoring my own internal monologue. There is the chance to reach out and to be reached to. There's other countries and experiences and lives to wonder at. Anyway before this turns into an ode to blogging (which I feel deeply unqualified to write given the short time I have been doing this) I am going to go and eat that bagel.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
My critical (rational?) voice in my head says "what the feck are you doing? Just end it. Move on. You don't need him. You have made a life without him. He left you. He could do it again. Get thee to a therapist....you have issues." But my heart answers with "what if I just hang on for a little longer and for the first time in two and a half years we both decide that we want the same thing at the same time?" What I do know is that right now when we see each other it feels like there is a chance for us. So I am going to see how this tangled mess that we have made unravels, for a little longer at least. What never ceases to amaze me is the capacity for two intelligent people, who profess to love each other, to invent new ways to stall, test and generally mess up their relationship.
In the meantime I think I might still need therapy. I may have some mothering issues as well as relationship issues. I took the eldest to the orthodontist today. She has, sadly for her, inherited her mother's rather random freestyle tooth arrangement. They had to take some pictures of her teeth. The final one involved her baring all her teeth and pulling her lips back. The dental nurse then stuck in what can only be described as "lip horns" (like a shoe horn but clear plastic and curved right over at the end). These were put on either side on of her mouth to pull the lips and face back even further. The results were astonishing. She was suddenly transformed from my beautiful girl to candidate for the lead roll in Resident Evil - Dawn of the Undead. My reaction was a violent fit of the giggles which despite/because of my best efforts to suppress ended up with me snorting and weeping in the corner of the room.
Is this a normal maternal reaction?
Monday, 11 May 2009
Of course the girls have started to think of names. Their taste definitely runs into the sickly sweet and twee. I am absolutely going to have to put my foot down as I know that I will end up being the one in the park shouting for "fluffywuffysnookybuns" to come back. I am all for cool, off the wall names, none of which find favour with the girls. They are not so keen on introducing Razorblade to their friends. So all name suggestions gratefully received.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Saturday, 9 May 2009
How is my lovely little girl going to survive as she moves through the school system? She is my bright and shining star but because of her disabilities maths, reading and writing is just a mystery to her. How do I keep her self esteem intact as she falls father and father behind at school? Do I give my beautiful eldest girl enough of my time when I so busy helping youngest with everything from school work to learning how to dress so that she can fit in with the normal kids? What is normal anyway? Why can't I just have a regular relationship with the man who is still technically my husband? Why does he see his girlfriend for lunch and then invite me round for dinner? What are we playing at? Why can't we let go? How am I going to get a promotion at work and fit it in with the hours that I need to work to be here with the family? Am I doing enough to help my mother? Probably not as far as she is concerned. Who is going to clean out the goldfish?
Think I'll start by tackling the goldfish.
Friday, 8 May 2009
- Don't have that perm in your first year at university. It will look dreadful and do something very odd to your scalp.
- Spend more time with your father - he isn't going to be around for ever.
- All that stuff about high factor suncream is right - use it so that you don't end up with sun damaged skin.
- When your parents give you a car after you pass your driving test try not to crash it the second time you take it out. Its going to knock your confidence behind the wheel for years otherwise.
If all of this sounds a bit scary you need to remember that even if you change nothing you will be ok and you are in for a hell of a ride.
Your Older Self"
Thursday, 7 May 2009
I entertained eldest daughter and ex-stepson (I'm not sure if you can ex a step child so I shall continue to refer to him as stepson) by singing "I am off to blog camp" (to the tune of "lets all do the conga"). I hasten to add that this was before the celebratory sherry. They thought it was very weird that (a) I was singing and (b) I was travelling to a foreign country to meet people I hadn't met in real life.
Whilst I went off to have a little sing to myself in the kitchen and cook dinner they commandeered both the laptops and set themselves up at the dinning table. They were both engrossed and I asked them what they were up to.
"We are both on MSN" came the reply.
"Who are you talking to?" I asked.
And they think I'm weird. I rest my case.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
But before I launch into that I need to set the scene. I am a member of a walking group. Actually that sounds a bit formal. Me and three good friends go walking once a month and once a year we like to set ourselves a walking challenge. We kind of peaked the first year when we did trailwalker. The aim being to get your team of four 100km over the South Downs in under thirty hours. That's 63 miles with no sleeping. We did it in just over 29 hours. At this point I could wax lyrical about the highs (the camaraderie, the sunrise over the mist in the valley, the enormous sense of achievement) and the lows (the state of the toilets, the cramps, the blisters, the silent sobbing at 4am, what extreme endurance events do to your stomach hence the state of the toilets) but I shall refrain and simply say - great to have done it but NEVER EVER AGAIN.
Last year we attempted the Yorkshire Three Peaks and for the first time in the history of our walking challenges we didn't complete it. The weather was appalling and half way up the second peak I was blown over. Literally. At that point we decided to call it off after having visions of being trapped up there with only a dry stone wall for shelter and our rations dwindling to a bit of squashed Kendal Mint Cake which was sure to be lurking at the bottom of someones rucksack. We limped off the mountain in the driving rain (it almost goes without saying that we were at the furthest point away from the car)and began a very long, very wet, very depressing trudge back.
Safely back at the hotel, warm, dry and armed with a large tooth mug of wine each we vowed to return. So we are going back this year. The aim is to do the three mountains (23 miles) in under 12 hours. And this is the point where we get back to the e-mail. It transpires that my friends have been doing extra training. I am almost tempted to say extra secret training although to be fair they have all mentioned it before. Its just that its only just dawned on me that I have done nothing extra. Unless you can count my clothes shopping trip with eldest girl at the weekend as some sort of cross-training on the basis it involved walking round the shops and holding shopping bags?
We have a fifteen mile training walk on Sunday. Fingers crossed that I can keep up.
Monday, 4 May 2009
I'm not really sure where she gets it from. I am certainly not a pink person. I'm not really a dress person although I do own them. When I choose clothes I am not really aiming for "pretty". I like to think I am aiming for chic but goodness only knows if thats were I end up.
Today we decide to go to the movies and, of course, this is an ideal occasion for youngest to throw on a pink confection. As I stand in front of my (largely black) wardrobe inspiration strikes and I decide to be guided by the fashion principles of a 7 year old. So yes, the dress is black but look - yellow sandals! (I believe that these are the first ever yellow shoes I have owned and I am feeling inordinately proud of them.)
Let's just have one more picture of the sandals...
Anyway, as my mind wandered during the movie I realised that youngest's approach to fashion is really all about the "nowness" of being a kid. Living in the moment. After all, if you don't put your Snow White outfit on to go the supermarket who knows when you might next have an opportunity to wear it? It's not a bad fashion principle to live by. In fact its not a bad principle to live by. Full stop. Although I am still working up to wearing the tiara into the office.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
But I have decided to do exactly what I want to do. Read my book, maybe watch a film and eat prawns doused in lemon juice and covered in black pepper. I may even stretch out on the sofa and drift off to sleep warmed by the sun coming through the window. Or take the beanbag out onto the roof terrace and lie in the sun listening to the sounds of other peoples sunday afternoons drifting up from the gardens below.
And the very best bit of this day of indulgence will be when youngest returns tonight and she cuddles up on the sofa next to me just before bedtime and we make plans as to what we will do tomorrow when I won't I have any time to myself and I will love every last minute of it.