I have mostly been obsessing about one or all of the above recently, sometimes all three at once. Two out of the three haven’t been featuring nearly enough over the past week. The children seem to playing a kind of insommnia tag team game and have clearly signed a pact to ensure that they never sleep through the same night. Consequently we are barely functioning and tempers are shorter than Britney’s first marriage Miley Cirus’ virginity pledge. Making matters potentially horrifically worse is the threat of hand, foot and mouth disease that is hanging over us like the Sword of Damacles. 50%*of the playgroup has been struck down with this most evil of viruses since a birthday party last Friday. The 5 day incubation period is nearly up and so far my two seem to have had a miraculous escape**. I really don’t think we could cope with illness on top of sleep depravation. I’m already on the edge – I nearly bought his and hers adult onsies the other day.
The other irritation and occupier of brain space in the small hours is the hens. They don’t appear to be laying as efficiently as they used to and sometimes I’m greeted with just one measly egg. It’s pretty devastating when, for a time, all five were laying beautifully. Even Bunty, the mother of the group, who stopped laying for ages, had a stay of execution when she started coming up with the goods again. We wonder if some of them are laying out as they roam free every afternoon but I don’t have the heart to keep them in as they’re always desperate to be let out. There’s no room for free-loaders on this estate, however, so they’d better get their shit together and start producing or it’ll be the stock pot for Bunty and friends.
So with all these dreadful first world problems hanging over me, I’m ever thankful for the leaves. The LEAVES! They are amazing already. Everyday they get a wee bit more golden, or orange or red. I’m worried I’ll forget to look and suddenly it’ll all be over and they’ll be on the ground in a big sludgy mess. I never thought it would be so fabulous to be surrounded by trees. I could seriously bore both my readers to tears going on about leaves. There is a view at point on the road back from the school run which takes my breath away every day – at the top of the hill you can look down and see our beach and the bay, fringed by trees with a spectrum of coloured leaves (LEAVES!) and it’s changing all the time. Next sunny day (it’s pissed it down for days, the honeymoon is over…) I will stop the car precariously on the bend and try and capture it, amateurishly, with my cheap camera. I love the fact that everyday there is something I see which makes me think, wow, I live here.
I decided to take the girls on a wee visit to BofA for a few days to catch up with parents, friends and Sainsbury’s. I was worried that it was too soon and I wouldn’t want to leave but I definitely feel like a visitor and that Torrisdale is home. Also, I couldn’t cope with the expansive aisles in Sainsbury’s and the plethora of choice and variety. I popped in for some bananas and spent £90.
Even the journey was better than I anticipated, despite a major breakdown 2 hours in. (Me, not the car). We all recovered with a half-way ice cream and some dog-snogging. (The kids, not me).
After that it was plain sailing but boring as hell as they fell asleep and radio 2 fell out of range. Must dig out some old cassettes for the journey home. I’m sure mum still has Elaine Paige and Baraba Dixon: The Hits.*
It has gone Very Well Indeed and has been lovely to catch up with people, including a couple of antipodean bonus extras. Mum and I have narrowly avoided a monumental clash a couple of times, but we did manage to keep a lid on it so there was no storming out and running down the street this time. We shared a very special moment watching a blind Japanese pianist play
Rachmaninov at The Proms – my late aunt’s favourite piece. It was very moving, up until the moment mum reached into her bag for tissues and pulled out a large cucumber**.
I do love her.
*Yes, it was news to me too
**it had been missing for a while, along with half an avocado which is worryingly still at large.
It was very strange coming back here after our holiday instead of the old place. For the first time I’ve thought ok, it’s been great but can we go home now please? It’s not that I don’t love it here, just that I MISS MY MUM! And dad and sister and friends and Tesco delivery and an emergency wine option and mobile reception and going to work (no, really).
I’m handling this downer really well though by being stroppy and bad-tempered to everyone. Which is nice.
Things took a turn for the better this morning when I accidentally had a cup of normal tea after a day of herbal muck yesterday. I immediately felt amazing! And the dull headache I woke up with went instantly. Clearly I am a caffeine addict! Hooray. I thought I was just mental. I’ll choose my detox weeksdays more wisely next time. (Never).
I’ve also given myself a new project which is making me feel more human and less like a deranged mother tiger. The reality of being a stay at-home-mum has also sunk in this week as I’ve struggled to cope with the bickering and screaming. Three minutes of calm, happy play is all I can hope for before piercing screams destroy the peace and I am forced to intervene with my own piercing screams. I need to revisit Bhuddism for Mothers*.
Anyway, the project is to clear out the playroom and turn it into a family room. It’s a lovely bright room and has so much potential but is rammed to the gunnels with four generations worth of trash I mean treasure I mean trash…
It’s a thin line.
And also a political nightmare when it’s not your stuff but I like to think I was ruthless yet diplomatic. Survivors include all the 1950s and 60s children’s books and toys (even the creepy ones) but sadly my brother-in-law’s Thundercats(tm) lampshades are off to the tip.
* I say revisit, I didn’t get beyond chapter 2. Highly recommend though!
A major worry about moving the family to bunglefuckthe arse end of nowhere the country, was the school situation and a peer group for the children, or lack there of. I imagined no one under 25 for miles around and the kids having only each other to fight play with. And more worryingly, ME having to constantly think of things to amuse them with without a local soft play* or pals to visit or parents to off load them on**.
Picture my delight then when we went to visit the local primary to enrol Zoe in nursery and discovered a beautiful, modern open plan building covered inside and out with bright murals and not one or two but FOUR peers in the nursery class! It really is a wonderful place and her first taster session went brilliantly.
It helps that 3 out of the 4 kids also go to the local playgroup which is on twice a week. Another fear silenced. Chums for them and chums for me! Although I am mindful of the old saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the others know all your sordid secrets and embarrassing mistakes from the past and won’t hesitate to remind you of all the times you’ve been a total fanny.”.
*I freakin’ HATE soft play
**I have Niall’s parents! Yay! And they are just a staircase away…