Last weekend was a tad…frantic… I would like to say it is unusual. It isn’t really… I am sure some of you can empathise..
It started off on Friday. I was a due a day with no workmen…just a furniture delivery and a furniture collection. Oh and the grocery shopping. But then the wooden floor man asked if he could start prep for Monday’s job and of course I agreed, hoping to salvage Tuesday.
And so I was confined to barracks again waiting for people. In any event I had a cake to bake so really it wasn’t too bad. And my in-laws were due so things had to be prepared and cleaned. The floor man arrived at lunchtime and immediately got VERY noisy doing unspeakable things to my architraves… I left him with the in-laws to collect eldest and youngest from school. He had thankfully finished when I got back.
We dashed off a bit of homework and then I took youngest to piano, you know that hokey cokey I think I have mentioned before. After a bit more desert natural life adaptation work I took eldest and his cello to piano (don’t ask) and picked up youngest. I slowed down outside our house, booted her out of the car, checked the in laws had answered the door and drove off to pick up middlest from his school trip. After the obligatory wait for the bus to crawl up we left and I took my Tudor boy to the chippe. Youngest is banned. The blood splatter is still there.
We got home around 6.20pm and stuffed down chips. At some point the kids went to bed and I then packed for the following night and built a football out of rollable icing for the top of that cake.
The next day dawned, wet. Husband and I did the usual fielding of football games/ training sessions, made slightly easier by eldest having the weekend off. I watched youngest and her team comprehensively beat the opposition, in the rain, with Granddad and latterly Grandma and eldest, who, showing his empathic side, had brought a folding camping chair for Grandma…I had time for a momentary flash of pride.
We managed to get home before middlest, who was merely training, and his father. So, damn, I had to start on lunch. Spag bol for seven. Whilst that was steeping I emptied chests of drawers.
After lunch the husband of a lovely friend (of course he is lovely too) turned up to help shift our extremely heavy chests of drawers out of our bedroom onto the landing in readiness for our fitted wardrobe…fitting. I bet he wished his wife was not in the Monday morning coffee group I attend. Where we regularly offer up our husbands for ridicule (in a loving fashion) and the occasional job.
We then spent a few hours at the kids’ football club annual presentations, in the rain. The children seemed to enjoy the stalls on offer, despite having to wring out their socks after utilising the bouncy castle obstacle course. Husband and I managed to see youngest receive her medal and take a team photo before we had to rush home to get ready for an evening out. We left the in laws to watch middlest and eldest get their awards. They were there until gone seven. Ouch.
An evening out is a rare and wonderful thing. This was work though. We had to schelp to Birmingham (an hour and a half drive- in the rain) in time to host a table of 12 at the Rep Theatre’s fundraising 1920s murder mystery dinner. We arrived in Birmingham at around 6pm and drove towards the hotel. We were slightly disconcerted at the large number of ball gowned ladies tottering towards our venue. We couldn’t check the time that our function started as the details were in the boot of the car. Fingers crossed husband had it right then.
He did…we had about 50 minutes to get changed and make ourselves over from soggy football parents into scintillating black tie dinner guests. Posterity will show if we got that right, along with the annoying photographer at the event. Husband assured me that the venue was ‘right next to the hotel’ so off we went. Luckily it had stopped raining. I tottered, he strode; I shouted, he slowed down. After crossing a canal, walking past hundreds of bars, dodging pools of sick (never easy in a floor length gown)and walking through what looked like a shopping centre we arrived. I may blame that ‘quick walk’ if I look less than scintillating on those photos.
Luckily the guests husband had chosen were actually quite good fun, they were even more fun after a few glasses of free wine. Them not me, I don’t drink. In fact I love watching other people drink. In a kind of anthropological experimentation kind of way. One mentioned that they had passed the Annual Slimmer’s World awards ceremony on their way- ah those ball gowned ladies. On the menu- one shake and a green salad?
So due to the company the event was actually fun. There was also a really quite good murder mystery to solve. And a live jazz band. Well we were in a theatre so I had expected a certain level of acting and music. There was a quiz. I love a quiz. There was an auction to take the mickey out of (we were at a table of bankers and guests I leave you to decide how much was spent collectively). I managed to be amusing and good fun so all in all not a bad night’s work.
All too soon it was time for that ‘quick walk’ home. I purloined husband’s jacket to avoid garnering too much drunken attention en route. I may be the wrong side of 40 but still scrub up OK in a ball gown, especially when the audience is pissed.
After a terrible night’s sleep (clearly chucking out time is now 3.15am- when did that happen?), we awoke, packed, and left to head back to the kids and relieve the in-laws, stopping en route for a sausage and pancake meal somewhere on the M6.
We got home around 11am. During that 3.15am early morning call I had realised that this was going to be my only window to get my prize winning children to a book store to choose appropriate books ahead of Friday’s deadline. Yep you read it right, my only window. So I scooped them up and drove to town, leaving husband to rustle up some roast potatoes and cabbage for a 1pm lunch. We browsed the books, fought over suitability and discovered that the book tokens provided by the school would in no way cover the cost. On the way home I picked up a ready cooked chicken.
We ate. We cleared. We had a small space for a sit down. We then left to host youngest’s 8th birthday party at a gymnastics centre in a nearby town. Once everyone had arrived, and I had reminded the staff of what I had actually paid for, the party went quite well. I rolled out that cake, children were collected and I drove home. Really this does not in any way sum up two hours with 13 very excited children, two Year 9 boys ‘in charge’ and a host of dangerous gym equipment but I let your imaginations fill in the gaps. I am too traumatised to go through it all here. Suffice to say it wasn’t what I needed after 4 hours sleep. But then children’s parties are never something I need even on a full 9 hours.
We came home, unwrapped presents, assembled kit for the next day & accomplished the bed time routine. I discovered it is actually possible to fall asleep whilst reading aloud from Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix.
We got some tea for the in laws. Who looked a bit shell shocked.
And then I sat down and fell asleep in front of the Antiques Roadshow.
I make no apologies for that.
Well, I’m sure Paula is looking forwards to all of that.