Parenting, profundities and humour

Witness — February 11, 2022


You small patch of uninspiring mud
And tangled shrubs and broken bricks and sporadic grass
Graveyard of deflated, lost spheres
from games long over
Revealed in winter’s barrenness
What witness you have borne

Zip wiring teddies hung by their ears,
Trebuchets of poles where once beans scrambled
Paint mixed from gravel, water daubed fences
Chalk emblazoned flag stones
And shelters of sheets.

Naked abandon in sprinkled water freezing
Tepid pools deserted after one day of sliding
(For bugs and grass and rain)
Sun hats (with flaps), sun suits (with reluctance)
Surprise cricket matches (with Grandmas)
Police cars, and red cars, and skateboards and diggers.

Hot wheels on hot days out of the window
Ping pong and croquet (wood worm still allowing)
Bouncing and flipping and screaming and laughing
Tap tap of sticks and off cuts of carpet
Records broken in ruined socks.

Snowflakes on sleeves in wonder and confusion
Food sprinkled for four hoofed sled pullers
Snowman delivered by hand to the door
Water in guns and frozen in balls
And countless battles amongst boulder strewn fields

Fights with the shiny hard orbs of autumn
Harvesting melons and raspberries and cucumbers
(And strawberries, yellow and black soldiers permitting)
Birds logged and counted and nest boxes mounted
Teaching and watering and digging and planting

Muddy circles on free flapping laundry
Lost spectacles found in peg bags
Stumps and posts and nets and bare patches
Paint on tables and dollies in baths
And photos and photos and photos and photos

You small patch of inspiring mud
And exciting shrubs and useful bricks and field of dreams
Collector of lost but now returned spheres
For games still to come
Rediscovered in winter’s barrenness
What witness you have borne

September — September 8, 2019



Unyielding leather creases across youthful feet
Unused to such confinement
After days of summer sandals and sloppy trainers
Those flip flop days that passed in a drowsy haze

Sun slanting at an angle more acute
Than the overhead heights of searing heat
Which beckon from only yesterday
Condensation bedews window sills
Behind curtains drawn at an earlier hour
Than of late.

The smell of windfalls lying unused on the lawn
A mocking indictment of crumbles unmade
Freshly chalked side-lines bedecked with watchers
Alternating in and out of coats
As summer remains unsure
Whether to linger longer
Or exit out of the door

Returning to the timetables of life
The schedules and menus and planning
Of time which seems more fleeting

The song of birds earlier and later
Plaintive; mourning what has been
The barbeque lit in defiance
One last time

Clinging onto the last vestiges of the season almost over
Sewing on name tapes in fresh new cotton
Robed in my fleece in the garden
In the last rays of evening light
Contemplating the inexorable slide

To winter.

The Beginning of the End… — December 3, 2018

The Beginning of the End…



And so the inevitable has happened. Eldest has acquired a girlfriend.

I really don’t know how I feel about it. At all.

On the one hand I am pleased for him. I have always maintained that he would benefit hugely from a close relationship which isn’t founded on taking the mickey or benching or rolling around in mud… and that’s just his siblings. His friendships with his male peers are even weirder…

Eldest is a deep thinker. Immensely caring. Thoughtful. He has a lot to offer and a lot to gain from a close friendship with a girl.

But on the otherhand it feels like the beginning of the end.

My time as the main female in his life is in its death throws. I know it happens to us all. I just wasn’t ready yet to have a rival for all that love and affection.

Being the mother of boys is an immense privilege. They learn how to treat women from you. They learn to understand how we tick. They worship you. When they are little they run to you in a way daughters don’t. It seems odd but that is how it has always been with mine.

And letting go even ever so slightly hurts. Just a little bit, but it hurts.

So make the most of those hugs and kisses and special times when warm fuzzy heads nestle in your arms and sticky hands clasp at yours for before you know it they are  6 feet tall and you have to stand on tiptoe to steal an occasional kiss.

My beautiful boy. Let’s hope I have equipped you to be the best boyfriend you can be. You are certainly a wonderful son.

Love Mum x

Social Pariah? — February 22, 2017

Social Pariah?

So tonight I am in the bad books.

Wednesdays are never a good day. A difficult confluence of clubs and activities means I spend the three hours between 4 and 7 more or less in the car and the kids eat sandwiches whilst I drive from one place to another. Tonight was so tight (it being football training week rather than Cubs week) that I ended up eating chips in the car whilst waiting for Youngest to finish said footie training.

Middlest spends a fair amount of time at home alone and no one gets any help with their homework or bag packing or other such stuff that I can usually be prevailed upon to assist with. For I am a soft touch. But not on a Wednesday. Because Wednesday is also the evening I try to get out to sing. Not tonight though. A late plane saw to that. Another story.

So suffice to say not much ‘mummy time’ is on offer on Wednesdays. And it shows.

Middlest was fine all evening eating his solitary sandwiches and tackling maths revision alone. We did have time to remark that the cress we had sewn yesterday in response to his Science teacher’s homework request to ‘germinate’ something had indeed germinated. (Their current topic is reproduction and, as Middlest stated, there won’t be many practicals so I guess she is trying to bring it more to life, literally and figuratively). She is the teacher famous for the homework ‘please produce a 3D model of a cell’ (in our case cillia, some girl got sperm). She has form. Luckily I am a mum who has time to pop out to get seeds that will germinate easily in less than a week. Not all will be so lucky. The runner bean is still in the airing cupboard…ungerminated.

But after his shower (which was somewhat marred by his brother having used his towel ‘by mistake’ and more over having not thoroughly washed the Rugby Sevens training mud off his body first) his mood had shifted.

I mislaid him. I didn’t notice at first as I was washing up all the sandwich boxes and snack pots and water bottles and sorting dirty Rugby Sevens kit and persuading Youngest out of her shin pads which involved me tugging heartily at socks which seemed by a combination of sweat and rain to have melded to her skin.

But he was absent. I went up the stairs and sure enough he was buried under his duvet at an unusually early hour. Something was amiss.

After some coaxing it transpired that I am the worlds worst mum because I do not allow him Instagram.

Now I recently signed up to Instagram mainly to see what all the fuss was about. And to be honest I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. But apparently Instagram has made it onto Maslow’s hierarchy of needs just, and I mean just, above food and drink for any right minded eleven year old.

He also mumbled something about X Box games that ‘everyone’ except him plays and talks about ALL day leaving him out. This from the child who pestered and pestered and pestered for months for an X Box so he could play Overwatch with all his friends. I relented at Christmas and now he has the blasted game no one plays it anymore. Except his brother who seems quite happy with it.

Unfortunately for my children I am the sort of mother who looks at age ratings and follows guidelines. More or less. People with much more knowledge and, let’s face it, time than me are paid to rate these things, I feel it churlish to ignore them.  I had bought him Overwatch at Christmas which is rated 12 here in the U.K. And he is 11 but I did plenty of research first and decided that was ok.

So anyway after comforting the child as much as possible whilst still saying ‘no’ (so not really all that much) and saying ‘goodnight’ to which I got a ‘Harrumph’ in return I decided to re look at Instagram. I was aware that some of Eldest’s friends were on it aged around 10 so thought I may have mis remembered the age rating.

Sure enough Instagram’s own Terms and Conditions state that their site is not for anyone under 13. So therefore I assume that in order for these children to be using it they have lied about their ages. With or without parental consent. Either is worrying.

I remember dimly an e safety talk I went to when a lovely policeman explained about the dangers of lying about one’s age on social media. That the ‘computer’ will think you are 16 or 18 when you are not. How their duty to protect you changes when you achieve such ages. How adverts are tailored based on ages. In short lying about your age is not just immoral but also dangerous.

So it is still a ‘no’ from me.

And as for Titanfall which ‘everyone’ plays that is also a no. I went on you tube and watched some actual game play. The commentator was busy explaining that he didn’t think the gore level was too high as you only see blood with a short range weapon such as a shot gun (!) when his avatar broke someone’s neck. So no blood. But certainly not all that pleasant.

So I will continue to be ‘bad’ mum. He will rant and rail. And I will watch his cress grow. And then so will he.

I won’t share a picture of it on Instagram.


Being Brave… — December 20, 2016

Being Brave…


Recently I was given the chance to be brave. In my life there are not many opportunities to live that cliche oft spouted on inspirational posters and face book walls and old episodes of The Apprentice:- Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. My life is fairly humdrum involving many, many tasks none of which are particularly difficult or scary. Hard work for sure but not seat of the pants type stuff.

In the dim past when I was working most of my days were full of stuff that scared the living daylights out of me, presenting to clients, picking up the phone and cold calling, meteing out difficult decisions, lending millions of pounds and hoping it would be repaid and the like. But since leaving and having kids those sorts of activities have kind of gone away.

Yes I have had to be brave at certain times. Because life was shitty and the ill health of myself or others needed to be borne and soldiered on through. But that is a different sort of brave. That sort of brave is a braveness of necessity,  I am thinking here of optional bravery. When one puts oneself out there. But didn’t have to.

In fact this blog is the scariest thing I have done in sometime. Writing personally for the hopeful enjoyment of an unknown readership. But it is not an immediate type of scary. It is a ‘help only 3 people have read it today’ type of scary. And anyway in the scheme of things does that actually matter? Especially when one is up against Strictly Come Dancing The Final….

This sort of ‘optional bravery’ is all the more pertinent to me because my kids are often very brave in that sort of way. And often I am not all that understanding of what they are going through. In fact I may actually put them in situations they would rather avoid because of the bravery involved. I think I am helping them build their characters and so I encourage them to enter festivals and music competitions and reading competitions and sports competitions and….

And so often my boys are performing with their instruments such as at last week’s Christmas concert, or my Youngest is taking to the pitch as the only girl on the field, or one is playing piano in assembly, or singing a solo as Joseph age 9 (that was Eldest still one of my proudest moments as a mum), or playing an amazing violin solo at a small concert (Middlest age 10, OK Joseph is only joint proudest moment…). Etc. Last week Eldest gave a speech in the end of term Assembly in front of the whole of Years 7, 8 and 9. To be fair I hadn’t ‘made’ him do that, his form teacher had, but still it was a big ask for a 12 year old.  And every year they are all in the church Nativity Service on Christmas Eve when the whole village turns out to watch. They take music exams which I remember from my childhood made me feel physically sick.

And yes just before their performances I too get nervous, experiencing that butterfly in the stomach feeling on their behalf hoping they don’t muck up and make themselves feel bad. For although the cliche goes that it is doing it anyway that is important succeeding is also quite a biggy. Even if succeeding is just getting through it.

And so when my choir mistress asked me to sing a solo at our concert yesterday my immediate reaction was ‘Not on your nelly!’. But she asked me to think about it. So I did. Other than the fact that I was very flattered that she had asked me and therefore had faith in my ability to do it at least some justice, I decided I needed to ‘live’ that advice I often give my kids, that a little bit of bravery can deliver all sorts of rewards in terms of self esteem at a job well done.

I didn’t tell anyone beforehand. Mostly because my children have extreme versions of my ‘sympathy’ nerves and would have worried about me. Middlest was very nervous watching Eldest do that speech in Assembly last week. I didn’t want to put him through that too early in proceedings.

So they only knew when they turned up to watch.

And yes just before my slot my bowels went to liquid and my thighs got that awful achy, dead sort of feeling (which incidentally I also get when I drink alcohol which is why I don’t) which meant I felt like I might fall over, my stomach was doing somersaults and it was hard to catch my breath (not great for singing). But I got my note, breathed in deeply and went for it.

Afterwards everyone was very kind. One lady asked me if the kids on the front row were mine. When I told her that they were she replied that she had guessed as much because they had looked so proud.

And so I guess that is why I did it. To prove that bravery of that sort is for everyone. Even if they are 46. And I hope next time they need to deal with their bowels and thighs and stomachs and breath they might remember their mum singing alone in front of 250 people and decide it is worth the risk.



Brother Mine, Sister Mine… — July 31, 2016

Brother Mine, Sister Mine…


I have three kids. Those of you who know me know this. Those that have bothered to read my ‘About’ pages will also know. As will regular readers. So for those of you who are new (where have you been?) I have three children. Two boys and a girl.

I had them close together. Deliberately. For a few reasons. One, I started late and needed to get on with it; two, I wanted them to get on; and three, I was very close in age to my own oldest brother and it worked well for us. There are three and a bit years between Eldest and Youngest. Middlest is, well, in the middle of that somewhere…

Overall it has been a good decision. My children are a ‘unit’. Wherever we go they are together. Ready made playmates. They are tight. It has always been the way and even now they are 12, 10 and 9 it still holds true, although Eldest is pulling away a little and tends to stay with us more whilst the other two maraude off.

But then his younger siblings also entice him into things he might otherwise feel too cool for. For instance recently at a local fair they persuaded him on a bouncy castle slide that his 12 year old self may have considered beneath his advanced years. Of course he had a ball.

They have a lot in common. A love of all sorts of sport. Playing and watching. Competitiveness. Music. The same school. Being outdoorsy. A liking  for terrible Disney Channel shows. Shared history. In jokes. A love of inventing madcap games (recently they spent four hours in the paddling pool playing water polo, in six inches of water)…

Even now, when friends are very important at school, they still spend all their weekends and holidays together. They don’t seek out friends particularly. Although they could knock on doors. They just ‘are’. Together.

Don’t get me wrong we don’t live in utopia. They fight, squabble, hurt each other deliberately and by accident. An awful lot. But fundamentally they do get on.

I really want this to continue. Although I know it will get harder as adolescence creeps in.

For instance tonight after a day spent in the pool on holiday and an hour of family football (which nearly killed me, I am sure I will find some energy to write about that at some point) Youngest’s hair was a chloriney, sweaty, tangled mess of knotted bum length strands.

She and Middlest got in a warm bath together. I hung around ready to assist with the hair washing. I wasn’t required. I merely spectated surreptitiously from behind the door as Middlest lovingly gave his sister a hair wash. Carefully applying and rinsing off shampoo and then conditioner. Advised by Youngest on how much and where to apply it. Tipping her head around in the shower to get all the suds out. Asking if the temperature was OK. I heard him remark that it was just like they ‘used to do after football’. Before we moved house and she got her own shower room. He had missed it. So had she.

I guess at some point a brother and sister will stop this sort of behaviour. For modesty.    Naturally. This might be the last year on holidays that they do such a thing. It nearly made me weep to think of it.

I am sure something else will take its place instead. I hope it does.

For what great lessons they learn from each other. How to treat the opposite sex. How to be a decent member of their own gender. How to fall out and make up. How far to push. How to negotiate. How to fail. How to say sorry. And how to be unconditionally loved.




Living in a Bubble? — June 26, 2016

Living in a Bubble?


So just a day after I wrote my last post Should We Stay or Should We Go the almost unthinkable happened.

The Great Britsh public voted to go.

My husband told me the news at 5am on Friday morning. To begin with I clung onto those last thirty odd areas yet to declare hoping against hope that the result would change. Of course that didn’t happen. It was like watching a car crash. In slow motion.

It is now Sunday. And I am still in shock. The expected turmoil happened on Friday. And now we are in the eye of the storm, awaiting fresh turmoil tomorrow.

I don’t know what to think. I know I feel worried and angry and ashamed. Both personally and for the wider situation.

I had to turn the television off on Friday. As party leaders fell. And sterling crashed and burned my brain couldn’t really take anymore. I made cup cakes.

I sometimes think I am guilty of living in a middle class bubble. I often deliberately avoid the news. I think it is a form of self preservation. When I ponder on such enormities as global warming my mind starts to shut down. The fear I feel about what the future holds for my children and grandchildren is too much to contemplate. And yes I recycle and turn off the lights and turn down the thermostat. But I don’t march or sign petitions or campaign.

I just cannot. To admit it is to make it real. And I am coming to the conclusion I am a bit of a coward…

And so I will never be an activist. Even though I do feel passionately about things. I will do my little bit locally helping govern our school, sitting on the neighbourhood planning team, writing minutes for the Scout group, volunteering at jumble sales, baking cakes. But I won’t be marching in the capital. Setting the political world on fire. Making a real difference. I am not proud of it. But it is reality.

But then I hope to bring up three children with the sorts of values I think are important. Instill in them tolerance and altruism and the ability to try to see both sides of an argument. And maybe that will be my lasting legacy.

I read more stuff today on the EU situation. The racist incidences which seem to have been unleashed. Stories of people losing jobs or being asked to relocate. The implosion of our political parties. Graduates having job offers withdrawn. The Far Right bandwagon rolling with increased momentum. The possible splintering of Great Britain. The lies being exposed. Maybe it is hyperbole. And maybe not. In any event that fear was back. With avengence.

And again I had to stop reading.

Today we were all tired from a lovely evening out with friends. And so in the end we all watched Independence Day on the TV. Oh the irony. I found myself thinking that it could be worse. We could be being invaded by aliens.

Proper aliens. From outer space. I’d be happier if our world had been turned upside down because of that.


Piggy in the Middle — June 12, 2016

Piggy in the Middle

middle child

You often hear about ‘Middle Child Syndrome’. Well maybe you don’t but I have read a bit about it. As I have a middle child. He is very precious to me, as much as the other two, but Middle Child Syndrome suggests he won’t feel that unless I make a special effort. He will feel invisible. More prone to depression. Have nothing special to call his own.

I have a tendency to believe all such ‘syndromes’ are, frankly, bollocks. We make out of life what we can. But still I occasionally ponder it. As I am now.

And here is why. This weekend I have been able to spend a bit of time alone with Middlest. This hardly ever happens. When he was born I already had Eldest, a demanding toddler at the time. He hasn’t really got much less demanding over the years. He is a deep thinker prone to over-analysing and over stressing. He sucks up attention. And that is not at all his fault. It is partly because he does everything first and so such events as starting Senior School seem a big deal to me as a parent doing something new as well as a big deal to him. When the other two do it I am blasé. And expect them to be so too.

By the time Middlest was himself a toddler Youngest had come along and turned our lives upside down. She is my only daughter and so my relationship with her is different. She gravitates towards me and always has. I can remember a period when she was about two when she would not let anyone else do anything for her except me. Flattering but exhausting. She had me all to herself for two years once Eldest and Middlest had started school. And those two years were amazing. We both had a lovely time.

And then there are three of them and two of us. Naturally Middlest is often in a pair if we split them up. That is because he is great mates with both Eldest and Youngest. They have hobbies in common. Middlest has never been left ‘home alone’ whilst the other two go away camping for instance. He is always one of those doing the camping with one or other of the other two. If you catch my drift.

When Middlest was little he had numerous outpatient clinics for various minor medical issues; eyes, diet, asthma. We loved those afternoons with appointments. I would pick him up from school and we would go off alone and sit in a waiting room together chatting away. He still fondly remembers making a dodecahedron out of plastic hexagons that slotted together whilst waiting in the Moorfield’s eye clinic waiting room. That must be five years ago.

Being able to have time alone with him this weekend is happening mostly because Youngest is at Cub camp and we are down to two children. We can divide and conquer.

So yesterday we walked to his football tournament alone whilst Eldest and husband went running. The walk lasted about ten minutes. They were a good ten minutes though. Of all my children Middlest is the easiest to have a conversation with. I am  not saying I do not enjoy time alone with the other two but Middlest has this way about him. He is intelligent, perceptive and gently amusing. He listens well and makes thoughtful observations. He is eloquent. He is still young enough at 10, nearly 11, to care about what I say.

So in those few short minutes we discussed the EU Referendum and some of his friends’ frankly bizarre opinions on the same.  We came to some conclusions. Namely you shouldn’t believe everything you read and hear. Unless I tell him something, obviously.

Today husband went cycling with his mates as is his wont on a Sunday morning. Eldest had some language revision to do so I took Middlest to town to collect his new glasses and buy a birthday present for his Grandma.

It was lovely. Truly lovely. We chewed the cud. About all sorts. Marijuana. Balconies. School. Scouts. Girls. The EU again. And our lack of time together.

I would love to spend more time with him alone. With all of them actually. Life gets in the way. It is hectic and full on. I must try harder.

Just as we pulled back into the driveway Middlest asserted that in our average week of chaos the only time he gets me to himself is on the drive from home to piano lesson and later back. That drive lasts about three minutes.

As he put it “It’s not a very long time, mummy, but I really enjoy it!'”

Me too, son, me too.


Hard Drugs… — February 1, 2016

Hard Drugs…

Well that got your attention.

This entry will probably disappoint those searching for my seedy past. Which doesn’t really exist.

No this is a post about Eldest. And before you call Social Services he doesn’t use mind altering substances either. Well unless you count sugar. And Toxic Waste. Look it up if you don’t understand that.

This weekend Eldest turned twelve. It is not much of a milestone. Well only in as much as any year is a milestone in a child’s life. And that of its parents.

And then today I was queuing up in Boots for yet another large bottle of Calpol. 6+ Calpol. And the pharmacist asked me how old the child was who was going to use it. In case I didn’t understand the name 6+ Calpol… I replied that he was twelve. And he retorted that in that case I could give him actual pills of paracetomol. And I realised 12 is actually a milestone year. He no long needs to take his pain relief in liquid form via a large, squeezy syringe.

I nearly burst into tears. Right there in Boots. Rather embarrassingly. I still bought that Calpol. As Middlest and Youngest are, well, younger. But still, a bit of me died.

Parenting is like this. There are little things that you do routinely for what seems like years. And then one day you realise that you are no longer doing them. At least for one child if not all of them.  And further, you don’t really remember the last time you did do it. It just stopped at some point. And even though you realise this it keeps happening with the same child and with subsequent ones too. It cannot be anticipated. These things just stop. On a random Tuesday. It is only in hindsight that you notice.

Some of the things are a relief. Like bum wiping. And nose wiping.

Some are heart breaking. Hand holding. Bedtime story reading. Getting goodbye kisses at the school gate.

And some are surprising. Like no longer providing pain relief in liquid form.

Ah Eldest. Where did the years go? It is a cliché. But it is true. Time flies. And before you can blink that sweet baby is as tall as you and wears shoes two sizes bigger.

He will always be my baby though. My sweet, sweet baby. X


15 Years and Counting… — November 18, 2015

15 Years and Counting…


I have a vague idea I should write something about marriage.

The reason is that today (well at 3 o’clock this afternoon) I will have been married for 15 years.

Also it is Week 3 – see Keeping Clean Sheets if you don’t understand that reference- and so I am employing as many avoiding tactics as I can. I have done three fifths of Week 3 and have re-jigged it a bit so I no longer have the family/ scuss bathroom to do- poor Week Two is the down hearted recipient- but still major avoiding needed. The Kitchen Diner is left…need I say more?

The downstairs loo is leaking again. The number pad on my PC keyboard has stopped working. I have the mother of all weeks meetings/ helping at school/ parents evening/ ferrying/ school concerts wise. And so feel like taking this morning easy before I leave the house at 1pm and do not return except to briefly stuff sandwiches into kids until gone 9pm. My ‘working’ day, always a bit odd.

And anyway Christmas is arriving after a flurry of on-line activity yesterday and I do not want to miss a courier whom I have accidentally drowned out by over zealous vacuuming.

So there we have it I thought a quick post avoiding the use of as many numbers as possible would be the order of the day. And as today is my wedding anniversary it seems like as good a topic as any. Although it involves, already, too many numerals.

I have started this entry and discovered that since I last wrote Wordpress, my lovely blog host, have decided to change everything. I cannot find buttons. I no longer appear to be able to link to my other entries in a logical way. The Save button has mysteriously disappeared. I don’t need this in Week Three, I really don’t. Don’t they know I have been married for 15 (arghh) years today?

As you may have gathered we are not doing anything special today, despite its significance. Well I am having bacon on cheesy rolls for lunch but otherwise, no.  At about 5.30am husband used the assistive light on his phone to blind me and also deposit a wrapped article on the bed. I tried unsuccessfully to fumble under my bedside table for his gift and card. He told me to leave it until later. He has probably forgotten that there won’t be a later. He ordered me to get more sleep (probably the most romantic thing he will say to me all day- in fact one of the few things he will say to me at all today) which I tried to do. It was difficult with burning retinas.

In any event that present isn’t up to a great deal. I am far beyond those times when I spent every available lunch hour devising, planning and purchasing a perfect gift for each anniversary (and birthday and Christmas). The present was purloined off his Christmas list which I only extracted from him on Saturday morning. And so although Youngest and I tried to find something more inspired between football matches and rain showers in town we failed. Fifteen years is crystal. We have enough tumblers. And what would a grown man do with a small glass animal? And in any event my mind is too full of what to buy small people for Christmas and what other people can buy my small people for Christmas and what I should buy the teachers for Christmas and what I would like other people to buy me for Christmas…. perhaps more time? It is like this every year and led me once to forget our anniversary completely. I was that ‘buying flowers in a petrol station’ cliché. My tip is not to get married in November.

Anyway back to this morning. Once the alarm went off a mere half an hour later I struggled blindly through my minimal ablutions and then took a pause to open his gift and card before rousing the kids. Do not fret dear reader my retinas are recovered. I always struggle blindly through my morning ablutions in a kind of denial. About morning. About the day to come. About, well everything really. I do not usually leave this ‘denial’ phase until the caffeine from my first cuppa has kicked in.

The gift was lovely. A pair of earrings and a necklace. Some sparkle. I love a bit of sparkle. Oddly for someone so un-girly. We recently went to the V&A in London just to do the jewellery section. It was darkly lit with everything on black velvet and looked simply stunning. Although come to think of it my retinas did hurt a bit then too…

I put the earrings in. This took longer than it should as the holes have partly closed up as I haven’t worn such adornment since around  2004 (or blank blank blank blank as my duff keyboard would have it). Which does, not unco-incidentally, co-incide with the birth of Eldest.

Not one of my children liked the earrings. It is just the shock I think. They will come round. My new hair cut (which my mother does not appear to have noticed, or if she has noticed she does not approve of enough to say anything, either is worrying) apparently calls out for earrings according to my good friend. And maybe, judging by today’s gift, silently husband.

Just so you know I have now found the Save button. But not the Review button. I shall keep going and also keep you posted. But hopefully not this entry. It is too soon for it to be posted. As I haven’t reviewed it yet. I digress.

All this anniversary guff meant we were behind schedule. The kids gasped at the clock. Corners were cut. It is likely Eldest will have to swim in Speedos out of the Lost Property basket. Is there any fate worse?

I shouted instructions through the open window of my friend’s car as she pulled out of our drive. ‘Find out your cello lesson’, ‘Don’t forget to find your snack pot’, ‘Get out quick tonight so I can get to my meeting’, ‘Please remind me you need hike boots for Cubs’, ‘For god sake do not let me forget piano again’, ‘Eat a hot school lunch it is only packed tea tonight’. Etc. Etc.

I retreated indoors to the carnage left from the morning and the relative peace. I retrieved that gift from under my bedside table and put it in the grubby Kitchen Diner where hopefully husband will see it when he returns from Cub pick up much much later tonight. I will find out if he likes it when I get in from my last meeting at circa 9.30pm. It does not have much sparkle. I do feel slightly out done gift wise. It is not as bad as on our first anniversary when he bought me a diamond eternity ring and I got him a….magazine subscription. In my defence the first anniversary is paper.

Somehow this post has got quite long and yet I have said hardly anything about the nature of marriage. Or have I?

15 years ago I walked up the aisle- well a corridor made by two sets of chairs we didn’t do the church thing- to start on this road of married life.

To begin with the road was a flower bordered bucolic path meandering through fields and by river banks. We idled along hand in hand taking in the view. Revelling in its beauties. We took long metaphoric picnic lunches and the sun shone.

Over time the road has changed beyond all recognition. It now feels more like a motorway whizzing along at breath taking speed. I do not know when this happened. When the route morphed from footpath to bridleway to A road to six lane monster.

At times it has felt like two parallel carriageways with far too few shared service stations . It can be full of pot holes and road works. Nearly constantly it is crowded by other travellers getting in the way and driving recklessly with no regard for the rules. I am not always a good driver. I go too fast or do not look in the mirror enough. I get road rage and shout at the sat nav. Sometimes I know where this road is headed but often I need a map.

But at the heart of it all there is that other person racing along too. Providing solidarity. And earrings.

Glad its you Andy.






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