Sunday, 7 August 2011


So. Much. To. Tell.  Not enough time to tell you sadly. We are on borrowed time as it is although I only rough dried my hair so I could spend more time with you - I hope you appreciate the sacrifice.

Here and now - I am now sitting here in my London Residence listening to Heart FM (it's a little edgy for my tastes but I needed something a bit more up beat than Magic which was bringing me down) on the sofa in the middle of a Sunday with NO CHILDREN. I know. Not a one. I mean K is upstairs obviously, I can't palm him off on anyone, that would be cruel. Here's how - as a lovely twist on an already luxurious break chez mother she very kindly suggested that rather than drive up for the day to see some old school friends today, I should stay the night on Saturday and make a weekend of it. So, here I am just me and K in the house whilst we wait for the rain to stop so we can go and enjoy a picnic in Clapham. Such excitement!  I felt ridiculously guilty as I left, naturally. I didn't tell the children I was going off to see their daddy - that would have been too difficult to explain. I told G I was going off on a top secret mission, I told Bea I was going to see friends at a place children weren't allowed and Mum has told Ted I am picking up Bea. They all seem quite satisfied with their respective explanations. And so it was that yesterday I left Bea with my sister at her house for a sleepover with her girls and put the boys to bed at my mother's house before jumping in the car and in an hour and a half I was back home and off out for dinner with K. It is quite amazing not worrying about how much/little sleep you are going to get and just enjoying being out. It took a while to adjust - K kept asking if I was alright. He said it was like we were on a blind date except we knew each other. Don't worry unnecessarily though, I was fine after half a bottle of wine, scallops, sea bass and ricotta cheesecake.

So far the holidays are living up to expectations. I had my hair done the day after we broke up and then on Sunday we packed up, said goodbye to K and off we went to sunny Suffolk to a warm welcome of more food than you could shake a stick at and constant on tap entertainment. Not that I let them enjoy it for long as Monday morning was the start of Stagecoach. I had booked Bea and G in to do five mornings of a singing and dancing holiday course with a final performance on Friday. The theme was Mary Poppins. Bea has done Stagecoach twice before (both High School Musical) but this was G's first time and I was very apprehensive about his reaction. Bea assured me he would be fine and that she would look after him but I was still concerned that it wouldn't be his 'thing'. He was not at all worried and in fact was very excited about it all. Until I picked him up at lunchtime on that first day and he told me he had spent the whole time asking to go home. (Bea told me this was a lie and he had had a great time). Tuesday morning saw him adamant that he wouldn't be going back. Mum and I gave in and said he could miss one day. Wednesday morning saw me feeling quite ill with a very sore throat and muscle aches but quite determined to get G back in to the building to carry on learning supercalafragalisticexpialadocious. I managed to manhandle him with extreme difficulty into the car with my aching muscles, but he got out and ran back to the front door. After a few more attempts I got him strapped him and started moving the car, but he undid the seat belt and opened the door. A few more goes later and we were on the road. He undid his seat belt again so I put the breaks on. He and his car seat flew forward into the seat in front. (A valuable lesson as to why he should always wear a seat belt - fear not he was unharmed). I strapped him back in and this time he did not undo it and after 10 minutes he stopped screaming. Bea and I managed to talk to him in a reasonable manner and by the time we arrived at the school hosting the holiday course he was still not keen but less angry. By this time we were very late and the mornings activities had already started. Bea obviously ran in all happy and I assured G I would wait until he too was happy to stay. After twenty minutes of me feeling crap and being very angry about the considerable waste of money over his lack of participation, I admitted defeat and took him silently back to mum's. (Silent as I was angry with him and because my throat hurt a lot). I did use what voice I had left to assure him he would NEVER again be allowed to do any course ever, ever again and he would definitely not be allowed on stage on Friday.  He happily spent the rest of Wednesday playing at Grandma's and relieved that he had 'won'. Thursday morning saw a very happy G skip downstairs at 6.30 in the morning saying how he wanted to go back to Stagecoach today. He merrily got dressed and at 9am was very happy to get into the car with Bea. He stayed for that morning and Friday morning before appearing on stage and mumbling through Let's go fly a kite, Feed the birds and finally four renditions of Supercala etc. Bea was 'the old woman' who fed the birds and was incredibly excited that she had a line and was centre stage for a good section of the twenty minute performance. G was so relieved the whole thing was over that he started to undo his shirt on the third go round of supercala so that his podgy stomach was hanging out and I had to stand in the aisle and shout loudly at him to stop before he went any further in the fourth and final go at the song. All in all it was totally worth it and Bea smiled and sang very loudly the entire way through. It was beautiful. To some extent I did sympathise with G. This wasn't really his thing and the woman who was in charge of the 'early years' section is quite the most unfortunate looking woman there ever was. She didn't look like she was able to move particularly easy as she was incredibly large. I am obviously not one to throw stones, living in the same glass house as her, however she was uncomfortably large and looked to be carrying about 10 stone around her middle alone. She did not carry her weight well and reminded me of a melted candle slightly - it looked as if someone had put a great heat above her head and everything had melted and sagged down settling just at the top of her legs which meant that she was the most unlikely person I have ever seen to teach small and eager young people how to dance and move around stage. It also didn't help that all week she wore black trousers and a black top so she had a quite an imposing and ominous presence - she had short hair and didn't smile much to break up the quite miserable looking face either. G did not warm to her or to the two teenagers who were her assisting her. (The one in charge of dance also had a weight problem, as did the Principal of the entire operation - I was very close to handing out my card and asking if I could help them en masse). I am not trying to be cruel but it isn't what you expect from a dancing and acting course. For the performance on Friday the lady who wore black all week tucked in her black top to her black trousers and finished off the look with a jaunty brown belt to show that she had dressed up for the occasion. I appreciated the effort. I'm not sure G could tell the difference and he certainly wasn't sad to be leaving. I shan't book him in for next year.

The weekend saw me do exceedingly well at a boot sale and we are now the proud owners of many light sabers (or light savers as G calls them), spidermen (Ted's new fixation - 'man' is now everything and we have to carry around five in a 'man' bag as well as 'man's' car), a Polly Pocket cruise ship complete with many, many small accompanying items, power rangers, water pistols, teenage mutant turtles, batman and Ben 10 figures. I was immensely proud of myself and the money saved in buying all the plastic pre-opened and pre-used for a small fraction of the price. It is a good thing too as our staycation in the country has made me realise that the grass is not always greener. I have for many years thought that we would be an awful lot happier if we left my beloved SE23 and moved to a big house in the country with a big garden. I am wrong. We would be housebound. Just taking the kids back and forth to Stagecoach and getting to a boot sale used more Diesel than I would use in two months in London. Maybe even more. It is ridiculously expensive living in the country. All dreams are now dashed and I am now happy to stay here indefinitely without any mournful looks at the RightMove site to see what we could get for our money in Suffolk. We clearly have the best of both worlds as we are so this is how we shall remain. Not least because K's job is going very well at the moment so he is very happy AND my lovely mummy friends are now a stone's throw away from opening the doors to their fabulous new delicatessen. By the time I return from our holiday with the children the doors to Hills and Parkes will be open and I would urge anyone who was ever thinking of visiting the delightful Honor Oak to make the journey if just for the food they have on offer. At the end of my road there is now a Beauticians, Gift shop, Estate Agents and a Deli. I have all I would ever need. There is even a posh looking undertakers slightly further up. I am totally sorted.

Aside from the Diesel, spending too much time in the car has meant that I am now FAR TOO familiar with the works of Justin Beiber. He has officially become the soundtrack to my summer. Even if I am not in the car I find myself singing 'one less lonely girl' and 'baby, baby, baby oooh'. Ted even sings the 'ooooooooo' part of the beginning to baby, baby. I know most of the words to the rap section where some American informs me that no one could ever compare or come above his baby. It is all too much. Come back Hannah Montana, all is most definitely and categorically forgiven. I never thought I would yearn for the days of the toothy, hairy wonder but she most definitely better.

Still, the children are all very bronzed and happy. Not only do they get to see their cousins every day, a bouncy castle, trampoline, huge paddling pools, sandpit, wendy house, toys a plenty and three cooked meals a day but in order to add to her appeal my mother discovered a school swimming pool you could hire out. (A notice on a lampost in the village - where else would you find out such things?) The school is ten minutes down the road (two and a half renditions of Baby, Baby) and it is part of an infant school so there is no deep end, G and Bea are both able to reach the bottom throughout and there are even brighly coloured paintings of sea scapes all over the walls. There are also floats, toys and large balls to play with and the best thing of all - there are no other children. Hoorah! We have been going every other day and it really is quite the best thing. Bea is desperately trying to swim, although mainly she is moving her arms and kicking off the bottom to propel her forward. Ted even agreed to go in after a few sessions. I didn't realise why he was being such a scardy cat when I had assumed my problem would be trying to save him from drowning not trying to tempt him in. It didn't occur to me straight away but of course, this was the first time he had seen a swimming pool. I have never taken him before but being the third I didn't really think about it. The first two have been in and out of various pools thanks to K's mum's gym, trips to communal pools I have been forced into and a few trips to Center Parcs back in the days Pre-Ted. But of course Ted has only ever seen paddling pools and the sea - nothing in between - so it must have taken a bit of getting used to.

So, all in all, the first two weeks of the summer holidays are going very well. I think Mum might be quite knackered and in need of her own holiday after we leave, but I for one feel exceedingly well on it all. I even got to go out to the cinema - I saw Bridesmaids - it is fabulous. And I have been out for supper with K. And all of this without having to endure a trip to the airport, delays, flight with Ted, transfer to hotel and trying to deal with sleeping arrangements in a room smaller than our kitchen. The sun has even shown up a few times. So, in summary, life is peachy and summer holiday staycations RULE. From here I am going to stuff my face at huge picnic in the park and then enjoy the journey home sans Beiber.  This is most definitely the life.

Chim chiminy super cala baby baby oooooooohhhhh