I left my mother to the airport this evening, off for her annual "Parish Pilgrimage" to Lourdes. When she returns, she will distribute all manner of purchased favours and talismans to myself and other lucky relatives and friends; mass cards, holy water infused cough sweets, small bottles of holy water in the shape of Our Lady with a blue lid in the shape of a crown, relics (splinters of the true cross/Padre Pio blood flakes etc), medals, souvenirs, bibles and prayer cards.
Brenda insisted I was to drive her across London in the Audi Q7 and not the Prius, as she is keen to display evidence of her daughters affluence to the other parishioners. In the queue for check in, standing behind a woman with in a fabulous full-length shearling coat, my mother began jealously quoting (Matthew 19:24):
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven."
"What are you trying to say mother?" I laughed. She is such a hypocrite!
Finally at the check in desk, the assistant asked my mother:
"Did you pack the luggage yourself?"
To which my mother replied bitterly:
"Did you ask the woman in the shearling coat that question? Do I not look as though I can afford help?"
She is a pretentious old bird. We are so similar in many ways...
Monday, 30 April 2007
I left my mother to the airport this evening, off for her annual "Parish Pilgrimage" to Lourdes. When she returns, she will distribute all manner of purchased favours and talismans to myself and other lucky relatives and friends; mass cards, holy water infused cough sweets, small bottles of holy water in the shape of Our Lady with a blue lid in the shape of a crown, relics (splinters of the true cross/Padre Pio blood flakes etc), medals, souvenirs, bibles and prayer cards.
Sunday, 29 April 2007
Just over a week ago I was feeling particularly hard done by, James was about to leave town for one of his routine business trips and the nursery school had sent home a letter in the darlings book bags asking for parents to volunteer to accompany the children on a special day trip to the zoo.
I had volunteered James' name, knowing full well that he would not be pleased by the prospect of a day at the zoo with lots of unfamiliar women and children. He would much rather play golf with a spare annual leave day, actually, he would much rather go to work...
The day came and as I was loading the munchkins into the car, James was standing just inside the front door in the manner of a sulking teenager. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I was wearing that scowl that James says I have had for the past six years. I was arguing with my dear husband from the drive - oh how I love to lower the tone. I had been up since the crack of dawn, home baking organic picnic food.
The poor little children, listening to me:
"Why should it be me James? Why me instead? They are your children too. I went last year, this is your turn, give me a break," etc, etc, etc.
Freya was repeating the same sentence over and over, quietly, each time the same words in the same rhythmic pattern. Eventually while securing her seat belt I listened to the words she said;
"I have a special present for you mummy, do you want to see what it is?"
"Yes darling, what is it?" I snapped crisply.
Freya gently insisted I closed my eyes, and delicately placed a tiny thing in my open hand, when I saw what she gave me, it just melted my heart. She had placed a tiny daisy head in my hand, and she kissed me.
"I love you mummy and I wish you were coming too," she said.
I cried all that day in work. I really should listen and be more careful of what I say in front of these poor impressionable little ones. It is not their fault that I have been in a bad mood for almost six years. I am not even sure that I have been in a bad mood all of that time, I think I have just been frantically, chaotically busy. Too busy to see what I have in front of me.
Now where is that corkscrew?
Saturday, 28 April 2007
The munchkins have just returned from a day in Beckenham with my mother, where they watched one of their favourite TV shows called "Ying Yang Yo" (I know just lately it sounds as though the darlings watch far too much TV - I can assure you they watch no more than twenty minutes per day).
Poor Max is very upset with Grandma Brenda tonight because she has been ranting on about that "dreadful show" all afternoon. Brenda was telling her friends in the park how this particular episode of "Ying Yang Yo" featured "The Knickers of Knowledge."
"It is fueling small children's pre-occupation with bottoms, poo and pants" she has been saying...
Little Max is not so much annoyed that Grandma Brenda is so easily offended - she is my mother after all... It is just that "The knickers of Knowledge" are in fact "The Pants of Wisdom"! I think that this is a complete hoot, I am a scatterbrain too you see. Grandma should however try to note, the correct phrase or term is everything to the children - they think Grandma Brenda is sooo old hat!
Friday, 27 April 2007
Before I was married, I rented a super swish bachelor girl flat on Tollgate Drive with my barrister flat mate Katie Bancroft. She thought she taught me everything I knew.
Katie constantly reminded me she had a promising future, if only she could get one of the super boys she worked with to marry her. To Katie's utter horror, they kept dating the wrong sort of girl... She never liked or approved of James.
"He says he works for Comet for Gods sake," she jeered.
At one point, much to Katie's disgust her Australian cousin came to stay with us. Matt was travelling - a backpacker, and said he simply intended to 'crash' on our sofa for a couple of days, but he became rather too comfortable for Katie's refined tastes and days soon ran into months.
Matt was the modern day London equivalent of a locust. Katie and I ate out most days of the week, our fridge was normally bear apart perhaps from a small stick of lemon grass, an apple and an open jar of Pasta Gusto Sauce with fur growing in the lid. With this veritable feast - Matt could add rice and make a stir fry. I am not joking, he was like a human vacuum cleaner. He would shout out to us as we left for work in the morning:
"Bring back bread, milk, pasta and beer" etc.
Once Matt arrived, he seemed to intend to stay forever, punctuating his visit by welcoming passing Antipodean chums to join him on our living room floor. He was a lovely guy, and made himself more than comfortable. I enjoyed his company and sense of humour, but Katie was terribly frustrated, and could not work out a way of politely regaining the use of our living room. I never knew a successful barrister who was inarticulate or lacked the ability to manipulate a situation.
I remember Matt complaining bitterly one evening:
"I am a qualified chiropodist, not a beautician,"
to which I simply informed him that unless he wanted to be a homeless qualified chiropodist - he should damn well get on with my second coat, and further, he was not as far as I was aware - a chef, but he was to cook my supper when he was finished.
Oh how we laughed...
Eventually he moved out (er ... escaped). I have found in life, there are many ways to achieve the required outcome. Men really are in my experience - simple creatures. No-one has ever ironed my Eqyptian cotton sheets and pillow cases quite so well as Matt...
Thursday, 26 April 2007
On Monday morning at the crack of dawn, James crunched down our gravel drive on his way to Heathrow Airport for another business meeting in Japan. The darling munchkins were inconsolable when they awoke and realised daddy was gone yet again. They adore their sweet gentle father so.
Poor James, I know how much he loves being here with them. At the moment he enjoys playing with Max on that dreadful Wii games console thingy for hours on end. Apparently the boys have just found a special portal and moved up to a whole new level on the "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" game. Max can't play it by himself, he is like a lost lamb without his papa. The tot has been spending his evenings on the bottom stair in the hall, looking so glum.
Straight from Japan, James will be travelling on to Barbados for the Cricket World Cup, he is probably in the air right now. These corporate jollies are a necessary evil he tells me with large doleful eyes, as unavoidable as the far flung business meetings, necessary networking opportunities. He doesn't like to go and leave us all behind...
I am not a fool.
I know my man too well, he went to Winchester far too young. I am often invited along to join him on his little sports trips abroad, and I almost never go because they always seem turn into opportunities for random acts of nudity. My usually restrained and composed gentle man, turns into a sports yob when abroad.
James attends Cowes week annually with several of his ex public school chums for a festival of generalised bottom baring, so it's really not for me. When surrounded by the old school tie chums, you can safely assume that at least one chap will be travelling home sans eyebrows.
Indeed, my hen party consisted of a civilised day at prestigous Elemis day spa, followed by dinner at Caprice. James took his chums to Monaco for a weekend at a Grand Prix, I remember at the time being terribly impressed by their sophistication. The trip resulted in the entire party of eight being cautioned by the police. I believe on that occasion they were all wearing dresses, James had his legs waxed and his best man Geoff had been used as a toast rack and could not sit down for a month. How very tasteless and embarrassing.
It really is for the best that James gets this need to be at one with nature (or to behave like a buffoon) out of his system, as far away from my impressionable children as possible. It is as though he turns into some kind of warewolf suffering from irresistible urges when his old school chums and a sports fixture are on the cards.
I just brought diddums his supper on the stairs. Our daddy will be back with us soon, the daddy we love I reassure Max...
Wednesday, 25 April 2007
I am simply delighted by that TV programme for kids "Lazy Town", where the hero Sportacus loves to eat apples. My darling big boy Max has eaten five whole apples today! In his quest to be more like Sportacus, he loves to eat "Sports Candy."
Advertising is incredibly powerful and can be wonderful if it is used a positive way, particularly with impressionable unsophisticated little people. Fast food advertising on Saturday mornings during prime time children's TV was indeed a dreadful evil. The TV companies can never advertise enough fresh fruit and vegetables as far as I am concerned.
I am afraid that this is a short post this evening as I am completely exhausted. I was up at the crack of dawn in the queue at Sainsburys for the super new Anya Hindmarch "environmentally friendly alternative to plastic carrier bag" this morning. I managed to get in the queue by 6.15 am, and the store was completely sold out by the time the queue was only half the way into the shop! You simply can no longer buy this limited edition hand bag.
There are absolutely no more to be produced, so hurrah! I am top of the class when it comes to having my finger on the pulse of fashion. I have a super new limited edition hand bag, I wouldn't dream of using it for the shopping. Just check me out at the school gates in the morning!
Oh yes, as I was saying, advertising is a powerful thing...
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
I was waiting in the queue at Starbucks this morning with my super PA Lydia, and while leaning against the counter waiting for our refreshments we began to converse about the practicalities of just how very uncomfortable some underwear can actually be.
"Those nickers that pull in your tummy, honestly, on some days, if someone were to pinch my bottom - they would surely hurt their fingers because my bottom is so very firm", I whispered.
Lydia laughed and pointed out that her gel filled bra -
"must weigh a couple of pounds, and hits the bedroom floor on occasion with a great thud!"
We both agreed that our underwear is making promises that our body's can't keep. What a hoot!
"Oh, Lydia!" I laughed, "I really must write this down, you know. I simply must put this on the blog!"
Lydia agreed, and said:
"You will be glad you did when you are discussing your blog observations on Richard and Judy".
At this point the conversation cooled dramatically as it had become far too relaxed for my liking.
"Woman's hour," I said, "I shall be discussing my observations on Woman's Hour."
These young girls have so much to learn! I am after all Dulwichmum, not Kerry Catona.
Monday, 23 April 2007
I shall always be scarred by the memory of a day trip James and I once took on the Eurostar to Paris.
When we were going out together, James invited me join him on a trip visit a super new Conran restaurant Alcazar in Paris. I simply loved Mezzo and Quaglino's, and I had never been to Paris, so I was over the moon!
The date of the proposed trip co-incided with the anniversary of our being together for eighteen months and also my 3oth birthday! Naturally as a girl of almost thirty years I attached huge significance to this trip. Clearly, James intended to propose. Hurrah!!! My months of adhering to "The Rules" were finally about to pay off.
My body clock was ticking so loudly in my ears at the time that I could hardly follow the line of poor James' conversation.
I promptly informed all of my girlfriends, my flat mate Katie Bancroft, my mother and my sisters that James was intending to propose. I bought myself a suitable new outfit; a baby blue cashmere cardigan, a black pencil skirt, and a super new Mac lipstick and Hermes scarf. I was appropriately attired for a proposal of marriage in Paris. I had rehearsed my look of surprise so many times in the bathroom mirror, I could surely have given Meryl Streep a run for her money in a believability contest.
There we were on that romantic Bridge on the river Seine, in front of Notre Dame - the perfect romantic location. James went down on one knee, I welled up with excitement and emotion - he tied his shoe lace and stood up. James ate the dreadful meal (steak tartare is actually raw meat with an uncooked quails egg on the top! OHMYGOD) at the superb restaurant, nothing was said, no diamond in the glass of champagne. At this point I was becoming panic stricken. I stared at him unblinking, wide eyed in horror.
Walking through the streets of Paris, I began to hug James, practically frisking him, seeking evidence of a ring box about his person, but nothing was to be found. I tried to convince myself that this was a good sign, who wants to be presented with a diamond, when you can help to choose it?
In the queue for the lift for the Eiffel Tower I decided I could not wait any longer...
"Have you anything you wanted to ask me? Any important questions?" I enquired.
"Yes", replied James. "Now that you mention it, you owe me £90 for the Eurostar". I almost swallowed my teeth with disgust.
"So you are not intending to propose to me then?" I demanded.
"No" he replied simply.
I could not breathe in with the shock. I didn't speak to him for a full twenty four hours after that. I really wanted to dump him in disgust. How could I face my friends with no ring? How would I face Katie Bancroft? She would instruct me to show him the door! She was constantly telling me not to put up with any nonsense.
But I couldn't stop seeing James, you see, I love him.
Kate Bancroft is a very difficult woman to please. She still lives in that shared flat in Gainsboro Court SE21...
Sunday, 22 April 2007
I have returned home this evening from my relaxing weekend break, and realised that even when balanced and refreshed, I still feel completely rejected and disapproved of by my mother-in-law. This is not a cyclical thing, the penny has finally dropped, this is not simply my PMT.
My suspicion of her is as a result of her overt coldness and hostility towards me. Grandma Elizabeth said tonight that blogging is "NOCD" (Not Our Class Darling), arghh... Thank God she doesn't know what a blog actually is, or how to use a computer.
Why does she disapprove of everything I do so much? Perhaps I said "Pleased to meet you," instead of "How do you do," when introduced to her all those years ago. My mother Brenda was only an air hostess before she married my father after all, but then - so was Grandma Elizabeth before she married!
James has become rather unsettled of late, since realising that I catalogue every minute detail of our lives in this blog. He says that I have turned us into the Jordan and Peter Andre of Dulwich!
How very dare he?
His solution to my little hobby is that we are to move to Chislehurst, indeed, he took me there to see a property the other evening with a view to relocation. It was a great rambling mock Georgian pile on a rolling tract of land, and reminded me of The Hurlingham club. It really is not for me, it is far to close to my mother in Beckenham for a start.
Can you imagine it, Chislehurstmum? It just has no ring to it!
"No, no, no. It's just not Dulwich," I concluded.
James has however caused me to consider the possibility of purchasing another home, an additional weekend type home, just a little distance outside London, further south perhaps than Bromley and not quite as far as France - their toilets are so basic, their toilet paper a criminal offence to the senses. A place for gadding about with horses and splashing about with the children. Mmm. I really quite like Poole in Dorset - but not for every day, just for weekends and bank holidays.
I shall keep my blog, wherever I go. I read somewhere - "in cyberspace, everyone can hear you scream". I shall always be Dulwichmum, and I shall keep on screaming, where ever I live...
Saturday, 21 April 2007
I have had the most marvelous sunny squiffy day in London. Isn't it just the best place to live? I just love Fenwick, all of Bond Street, Jo Malone, South Molton Street, and the personal shopping service at Selfridges. My feet are killing me, and my fingers ache from carrying shopping bags, but what a day...
This afternoon Devi and I took Pret a Portea at the hotel, it was simply superb.
I feel the old me beginning to re-surface. I even had a make-over with the lovely girls at the Bobbi Bown counter in Fenwick.
Devi is the original - "I shall take a pair in my size in every colour" girl. When the shop assistant replied; "But madam, we have seven colours," - Devi curtly replied "and?"
I would simply hate to let James down in her company. Manek owns most of Mumbai, so I had to spend a fortune just to keep up!
NOTE TO SELF: Best never to go shopping again with Devi unless completely sober.
Friday, 20 April 2007
I have not been a good mummy. Over the Easter holidays my parenting skills have completely dis-integrated and I have descended into a cycle of barking orders at the lambs and confining them regularly to the naughty step. I have no doubt that my shrieks from our home of late, have become a regular source of alarm and amusement, providing our elderly neighbours with a veritable circus sideshow of entertainment.
The mists of paranoia have now descended and my self-esteem is at an all time low. I feel racked with Roman Catholic style, deep and all encompassing mother type guilt. I need to replenish my energy levels, go in search of my true self, rekindle my self esteem and find a calmer me.
The parenting manuals and course I have been on of late have left me more than a little confused. The authors of 'Freakonomics' - Levitt and Dubner articulated my confusion beautifully, "spare the rod and spoil the child, spank the child and go to jail." I really don't know where to start anymore.
I am enveloped in an dreadful sense of failure...
I successfully completed my Lenten fast, and abstained from alcohol and chocolate for six full weeks, but now that my little helpers are permitted once more I just can't seem achieve optimum blood levels of either, where is my equilibrium?
Myself and my great friend Devi have decided to go for a Mummy Rehab weekend. We shall take a weekend of time out to rest and seek inspiration to go on. My mother in law is about to visit, and arriving so soon after the dreadful school holidays could just push me over the edge... I'm off!
I have informed my mother in law that I am going to a work conference, which a colleague is suddenly unable to attend due to a family crisis. Naturally James knows the truth.
We have managed to book a last minute 'Girls Night In Weekend at The Berkley'. Beauty treatments, chick flicks, Diptyque candles, chocolates, ice cream, cocktails and fine dining at Petrus just downstairs. We shall spend Saturday shopping on Bond Street for us - not a Baby Boden catalogue in sight, hurrah!
I shall be home in time to detox the little scamps on Sunday night. I need a holiday after their school holidays, as I require plenty of emotional energy in order to wean the munchkins off sugar when grandma leaves town.
Soon I shall be back to my old superficial, perfectly groomed, usually slightly ethanolic self. I do so wish you could join us!
Thursday, 19 April 2007
My mother-in-law Grandma Elizabeth, has just telephoned to say that she will be arriving on Friday (tomorrow) afternoon for a long weekend. OHMYGOD!
Soon she will pull up outside our home, her enormous old Rolls Royce creaking under the weight of six packs of Fruit Shoots, great multi packs of Monster Munch crisps, Haribo jellies, and those little pastel coloured flying saucer type sweets that are filled with sherbet and feel like polystyrene on your tongue (where does she get them?).
Grandma Elizabeth will no doubt have one of her 'special little gifts' taking up the entire back seat of the car. On her visit last month, she brought a ride on Motorised Thomas Train with its own tracks that took up half of our lawn. What will it be this time, life size stuffed ponies? Soon there will be no room at all for James and I in the house, and we shall be confined to the games room above the garage next to the au pair.
Grandma Elizabeth always finds the children 'hard to handle' when she visits, but then she does insist on feeding them a diet of pure sugar and E numbers. It takes me about seven days to completely detox them after she leaves.
I cannot bear to allow her to take the children to the park anymore. On a previous occasion, I decided to join them all in the park after a dental appointment, and when I eventually found her reading the paper and sipping lemon tea in a quiet corner of the coffee shop, the children were no-where in sight.
"They will return when they are hungry," she cheerily informed me!
"But Freya was not yet four, Max is only five, you should not let them out of your sight," I exclaimed in horror.
"I raised two lovely boys," she said coldly, "and we had The Moors Murderers in my day. The papers exaggerate the danger" she told me dryly turning the pages of her paper.
I frantically searched the park for my darlings, and found Freya at the top of the climbing frame and eventually Max too, helping the man in the bicycle shop on the other side of the park. Yes they were alive, but it was more luck than judgement.
Grandma Elizabeth constantly sends me up for my choice of organic and fresh food and low salt/low fat foods. She throws cups full of salt into my boiling vegetables. James and I are so careful when it comes to salt consumption.
It is so hard to be assertive with my mother in law, I cannot bear it when she complains that the children are swinging from the light fixtures - filled with her E numbered and sugar drenched confections. Fruit Shoots are nothing but rocket fuel for kids, Monster Munch taste vile and cause the children to be monsters. She has no real experience of children, James and his brother were raised by nannies after all!
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
My baby boy has lost his heart!
This is not the first time my little Max has been in love. In the past, he declared his love for Polly, a full year his senior. Max was completely in awe of the sweet darling, but the relationship floundered when she had the stabilizers removed from her bicycle last summer and cycled off into the distance without him. Although Polly came from a suitable family, men like to be authoritative, knowledgeable and in charge, so Max naturally cooled the relationship.
Now it is spring once more, and a young man's thoughts naturally turn to love. Max has fallen for the charms of little Saskia, a full year younger than he, in Freya's class at the nursery.
"She has pretty sparkly eyes and she says her Barbie has a car" - he gushed. "I want her to be my wife!" Diddums!
This afternoon Saskia is having a special fairy tea for her birthday. The three little girls from her class have been invited, no boys. Freya danced about with glee this morning, she goaded Max, describing the delights of Saskia's Barbie collection (my boy is fascinated by Barbie). Freya knows already exactly which buttons to press...
I telephoned Saskia's lovely mother Imogen this morning and she immediately invited Max to join the girls. I have arranged to take a half day off work, will collect him personally from nursery and take Max to join the party.
Freya left for school this morning full of anticipation of the afternoons celebrations. She was wearing her wings, a wand and special floaty skirt - going straight to Saskia's house from school with the other little girls. I dashed home from work early this afternoon, to make Max a set of special boy pixie wings before collecting him.
It is spring after all, I don't want my precious boy to have a broken heart. I am not looking forward to their teenage years. There really is nothing I would not do for the children. I genuinely have no pride at at all when it comes to my little ones.
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
James suggested first thing this morning that he would like to see the "House of Flying Daggers" this evening. I misheard him, and thought he was sarcastically referring to our family life, not the Chinese film. I almost packed my bags right that minute - thank God he realised it was a misunderstanding...
I am exhausted after the three week action packed romp that we cheerfully call the school holidays. James has been working every single day including Easter Sunday. I will not be leaving the house this evening as I am looking forward to a deep bath, an early night and lots of indulgent sleep.
This morning all of the school traffic was back on the roads again, heralding an end to the Easter school holiday fun. The bus snaked along Croxted Road, through Lambeth and into work. The journey took 30 minutes longer this morning than it had for the last three weeks. How refreshing!
Darling Max and Freya set off for school with Ana, book bags in their little chubby hands, and a skip in their step, they should be tired out tonight! The sun was shining and song birds filled the trees.
My babies are happily occupied at school once more, Ana has become addicted to Krispy Kreme doughnuts and she ran out of contact lenses this very morning!
Hurrah, there is a god in heaven.
Monday, 16 April 2007
I left the munchkins this morning all ready for a full day of gardening in the sunshine with Ana. It was a perfect picture postcard scene, both darlings wearing sweet little Wellington boots, gardening gloves, aprons, little primary coloured watering cans and trowels. They stood smiling amongst the flower pots freshly decanted from the greenhouse by our wonderful gardener - tomato, strawberry, carrot, leek and sunflower seedlings, all lined up next to fleshly turned soil. The cherubs looked so very sweet with their sun hats on, their little noses and cheeks smeared with opaque white sun block.
"Oh mummy, can't you stay with us? Must you work?" they begged.
I am only too aware of the hell that this idyllic picture can prove to be in reality. Pushing and shoving, earth and compost in the sandpit, watering cans being emptied into each others boots, crying, tantrums, plant food and seedlings trampled into the ground and the consumption of garden snails.
No doubt by the time I return this evening, they will be mud wrestling on the trampoline, and the bird feeder will be full of freshly dug earthworms, the water butt empty and not a towel in the house dry. Thank God for the number 3 bus, and the place of safety that is my full-time employment.
The cherubs are very sweet, and I must admit - rather better behaved than many of their little chums, but why do they never listen to me when I speak to them, or ask them to put something down?
"No don't throw that, please come out of there, take that out of your nose" etc?
I often feel as though I am going to lose my tiny mind at the weekend, disrespected, abused and menial, in attendance only to serve them juice or chopped apple - "NO WITH THE SKIN OFF", or yoghurt, "strawberry yoghurt - IT HAS TO BE STRAWBERRY, I want some right now" etc, they yell.
I am frantically trying to concentrate on the positive things they do, ignoring the negative, distracting them from murderous acts and tantrums as per the parenting manuals. It will be entirely my fault if they suffer from low self esteem later in life. It is exhausting, where will it ever end?
I flee the house to work each Monday morning feeling an enormous sense of failure, a heavy weight on my shoulders. I have resorted to shouting and the naughty step yet again. Naughty mummy...
My work colleagues are far less demanding than these delightful children, they are substantially easier to please and generally don't shriek at me. I feel quite overwhelmed by panic at home.
Am I the only woman in the world who is this bad at being a mother?
Chablis or Pinot Grigio?
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Words cannot express the horror I experienced on Friday last, when I read The South London Press. It is not a paper that myself or James ever read, obviously. I have been lying down in a darkened room for most of the remaining weekend as a result. Yes I have a hangover from the great day out that we had yesterday at The Grand National, but I am also suffering from delayed shock and psychological trauma.
Our cleaner Liliana brought the paper to the house on Friday evening, having noticed a quote attributed to me, and I am still not clear whether or not this was an act of loyalty. The offending article was about ‘dogging’ (it gives me palpitations just typing the word) and described how this perverse activity has tarnished the tree lined avenues of SE21! Can you believe it?
The evil journalist included (without my permission – damn this ‘cutting and pasting’) a quote from me on the subject, I feel nauseated admitting this. I had been chatting on the East Dulwich Forum, as I do very occasionally, when someone happened to mention this perverse and disgraceful local happening.
In an effort to lighten the conversation and to avoid any resulting local plummeting property values (it was SE21 they were discussing specifically), I commented in jest that those who indulge in this disgraceful act should have their children removed by social services and they themselves be boiled in oil.
Well, obviously I was speaking (typing) tongue in cheek... clearly! I would never advocate seriously that anyone should be "boiled in oil". The paper quoted me as though I was completely in earnest! The quote was used out of context, and made me sound like some kind of Daily Mail reading busy body!
Can you believe it? A comment from moi, on this subject, in that newspaper? Pass the smelling salts...
Obviously these people should not be allowed to raise children, and their poor mites should be removed to a place of safety, but I doubt that any of these ‘doggers’ could actually be parents. Who has the energy for a sex life with young children afterall?
These people should simply be compelled to endure some type of degrading community service, perhaps cleaning the toilets of local parks while wearing unflattering orange boiler suits and Crocs plastic shoes in primary colours. Their images could be displayed prominently with the nature of their offence printed in large letters on posters, in a name and shame manner.
I am sure that if these people were actually from this area, The Dulwich Estates could intervene and perhaps drive them from the locality. They are clearly NOCD! They should go and live in Mitcham, indeed, Brixton is too good for them.
It is in times like these that I am glad to live on The Dulwich Estates. They have a draconian rule in place covering every eventuality, you should see how they sanctioned a grumpy old neighbour of ours who recently removed a mature chestnut tree without their permission.
Mr Miles never has a smile for me or my babies. He had sought and received the necessary permission from Southwark Council to remove a tree that was undermining the foundations of his house, but forgot to seek a license from The Dulwich Estates. He has this weekend been forced to replace the original tree with a Horse Chestnut of a similar age and size, virtually the same price as an average family car (not ours – obviously). Soon his house will collapse into rubble no doubt, as a result of daring to disrespect the scheme of management.
The Dulwich Estates really are my kind of people! I wonder if I can contact them by email?
Saturday, 14 April 2007
Silver Birch won The Grand National today at Aintree. James returned from the Cheltenham Festival just last month with tall tales and high expectations of this fine beast. He had a sizeable bet on him this afternoon.
Hurrah, James won an amazing prize at thirty three to one!
The 'fashions' worn today at the course were a disgrace. The women in attendance looked as though they should have been taking part in the tournament itself. Shame on them, velocorapter's dressed as lamb. I kid you not.
I looked amazing in a petite black Philip Treacy hat and a Jaeger black and white polka dot dress. I am off out with my man this evening to celebrate.
Friday, 13 April 2007
I must admit that our au pair Ana is just wonderful with the children, but she is just far more good looking than is necessary. Good quality, reliable childcare is so difficult to find, and the same too can be said of a good husband. I shall do everything in my power to keep both. I have therefor decided upon some radical action.
I shall pay for Ana to have major orthodontic work. Braces are so unattractive, and they should serve to remind my husband of the vast age difference between them both. There doesn't actually appear to be anything wrong with Ana's teeth, but the orthodontist near my home is notorious for finding something expensive to occupy himself with in the mouths of local teenagers and if I wave James' credit card around when we visit, I am sure he can find something to do for Ana with a couple of metres of wire and a great sheet of metal.
Last night I dropped a sugar lump in Ana's tea, and I also bought her gifts of a six pack of do-nuts and a great sack of tortilla chips. I am eagerly anticipating her imminent massive weight gain.
This morning I cunningly cancelled her direct debit with the online optician, thus halting her monthly postal delivery of contact lenses. Ana's glasses are not dis-similar to those of Ugly Betty.
This afternoon I shall take Ana shopping for those unforgiving smock dresses which are currently in fashion, while at the same time replenishing my stocks of La Perla underwear. I may even purchase a new pair of white jeans. I look amazing in white jeans...
I shall do everything I can to keep James' attentions for myself...
Thursday, 12 April 2007
A friend of mine recently attended a social function at which a former member of the British royal family was a guest. This ex royal, once had a reputation for being a fun loving party girl, with a natural Pre-Raphaelite type of beauty. Not any more, apparently now her face is now so pulled and full of fillers and Botox that she is practically unable to chew food. It is easy however, for us to scoff...
I made a list of potential treatments for consideration this evening, prompted by the recent athletic exploits of our au pair sur le trampoline in front of my perfect husband.
I think I would like to begin with medical microdermabrasion myself, followed by a hint of Botox and a couple of touches of Restylane. I should like nice shiny new veneers, some small but pert saline implants, a tiny tummy tuck, another rhinoplasty, and a slight brow lift. I like to think of this as a little 'fine tuning'. This is not for James you understand, no it is for me. I always like to make the best of myself.
That complete, I should like a major makeover hair cut and colour with Nicky Clarke himself followed by a day or two with the personal shopper at Selfridges. I am not feeling even slightly insecure, I just like to look after myself you understand.
I will have eyelash and brow dyeing, eyelash extensions, Everlasting nail polish manicure and pedicure from Nails inc., a touch of lazer hair removal on the upper lip, eyebrow threading, extensive waxing, Elemis exotic lime and ginger salt glow treatment followed by a nice massage and spray tan. Oh, all the usual routine stuff every girl does each month.
When to stop? OHMYGOD. You see how easy it is to loose control, to end up looking like Frankenstein's monster?
Perhaps I should just ask the au pair to go? I simply don't fancy a general anaesthetic, or looking for a new au pair actually. Ana is so good with the children, so reliable, and they so love her.
I shall take a friend's advice, insist she wears a boiler suit in my home and buy myself some Magic Nickers. Now where did I put that corkscrew?
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Yesterday the munchkins begged me to take them to the "Gambado" indoor soft play centre in Beckenham for a jump about. The weather was amazing and it seemed positively sinful to waste the sunshine, but I dutifully took them (avec l'au pair naturellement) to their desired play time destination.
It is indeed wonderful exercise for them on the enormous play frame and the little darlings are always so absorbed in their activities that I actually get to read a book or newspaper. I took along my unread copy of The Sunday Times from the day before and settled in with a large latte.
There was a terribly interesting article about children taking a gap year before university. The article described the merits of such a break and described how it can improve their relationship with parents and siblings, empowering them with a newly found sense of independence and self respect.
I wonder how soon young Max and Freya can take a gap year? I suppose a year off school travelling the world independently with the au pair is out of the question (for them) before they progresses up to the pre-prep from nursery? I would love to take a gap year myself...parenting is simply exhausting work!
Every mummy in Gambado seemed to be wafting about in those smocky mini dress type affairs, combined with leggings, functional shoes and enormous plastic jewellery - thus ensuring that they looked like the cast from "The last of the summer wine". It really is not a good look. Perhaps on skinny girls under twenty, but never on portly post partum women in their mid to late thirties!
My big boy Max was soon careering about in the bumper cars with his (for once) complaint, waving and delighted baby sister by his side, when that energising track by Good Charlotte - “Girls don’t like boys, Girls like cars and money” was played on the sound system. Sometimes the lyrics of a song can be so profound and really strike a cord - don't you find?
I smiled to myself admiring my sons super advanced driving skills. It will not be long before we can buy the darling a Mini Cooper. He will be such a hit with the girls - I shall see to that!
Monday, 9 April 2007
Easter Sunday proved to be the exact disaster I had anticipated, although at least I could drink alcohol to numb my senses and help me through the day. Hurrah, at last my Lenten fast was over and I could also eat chocolate! Calm has returned once more to Alleyn Road.
James was out working all day, but I had been aware that he would be unavoidably absent for the last two weeks. No, the big stress of the day was the fact that my mother was spending Easter Sunday at our home, as usual...
My three older sisters are all abroad and unmarried, all three free from obligations with regard to children and (as far as they are concerned) family. Our sweet mother spent the entire day either reminiscing about the tragic death of my darling father thirty years ago, or being nasty to me because she feels neglected by her ungrateful offspring. I am her captive audience - her abused youngest stay at home child (although not 'stay at home' in the family home - clearly).
My oldest sister Veronica is almost 48, and lives - well she lives all over the planet actually. She was a model and 'parts of her' were stunningly pretty when she was younger. She was 'the hands' of a major brand of nail polish for an age. Veronica is the picture of my mother, and can do no wrong as far as she is concerned. Veronica spent Easter at a spa in Antigua is a very clever lady and invested wisely in property when she was younger. Veronica didn't even bother to telephone to say hello - poor Mother.
Michelle is my next sister 46, and she works in IT and has a super hi-powered job for an enormous multi-national firm based outside Dublin in Ireland. She too was working all over the Easter holiday, and omitted to telephone our mother.
"Too bloomin important for her own good", according to Mother. "She never prioritised having children into her grand plan - so who will look after her now when she grows old, who will visit Michelle?"
Then my super sister Lisa, she is 41 and a dynamic foreign correspondent and journalist currently working in Iraq. Mother is worried sick about Lisa, and spent most of yesterday wearing the head phones from the "Skype" type thingumabob that James set up for her before he left for work this morning. We were hoping that Lisa would try to contact mum via the Internet as she had promised.
Before journalism, Lisa spent almost a decade living in a tipee commune type of arrangement in Wales. My mother despised this lifestyle choice back then, but on reflection, would prefer it to Lisa's current dynamic and dangerous incarnation. My three older sisters have always been terrified of falling in love, reluctant to comit, cautious of having their hearts broken.
I can understand why mum is upset, but I am always here, I don't let her down, yet I am the one who suffers the brunt of her anger and frustration. I am afterall, the only one of her daughters around to take it, and incidentally the only one who looks like my father!
I knew the afternoon was tipping into a downward spiral, when I noticed my mother in the kitchen with a bottle of James' cherished wine which she had pilfered from the cellar.
"Don't worry," she chirped, "it is just white Hungarian rubbish, James won't mind. Why can't he just get a bottle of chardonnay, and keep it for me at the back of the fridge?"
Did I tell her how expensive and worshiped this particular wine was? Insist it was returned to the cellar, and pop over to Tesco Metro to buy some plonk for her and end up suffering her scorn for the rest of the afternoon? No, I chose to suffer James' scorn instead. James is far more forgiving than my mother.
She poured a large amount into a tumbler, drowned it in 7up, and topped it off with ground ice from the dispenser on our brushed steel Miele American Fridge.
"Marriages come and go in this day and age" she often re-assures me, "but your mother will always be your mother - even if your husband runs off or dies or something"...
I suppose I could have offered her a Riedel glass to drink it from?
What's the point?
Sunday, 8 April 2007
I went shopping around Lordship Lane yesterday afternoon, and came away rather puzzled and perplexed...
I saw "free range" lamb for sale! Now how exactly does that work? The butcher at the farmers market on North Cross Road explained to me that the lambs were left "free to roam the field" - as free as they can be left considering the dangers of Mr Fox and the boundaries of the farmer's land, I assume.
Whenever James, the children and myself travel to Wales in Spring, we observe free range lambs jumping and skipping in the fields all the way down the M4. I asked the butcher if the lamb was also organic - he shook his head. He said he had free range, but not necessarily organic. OK, so it is normal everyday type lamb then, is it not? The butcher was less than pleased with my line of questioning.
I then trotted off to the fabulous fish mongers, and noted "organic" cod on display! Now, explain that to me please Mr Fishmonger? I understood that all cod is deep sea caught, and so it would naturally therefor follow that it is free range, and if it is impossible to exert control over it's diet, how can the fish monger be sure it is organic? It could be swimming through radioactive waste and raw sewage for all he is aware. Surely it is as organic as any other cod?
I spent time browsing in "Dr Boo" the super make-up emporium on North Cross Road where the sweet sales assistant described the merits of their new eye brow gel, "which promotes and encourages sparse over plucked brows to grow more profusely" - no, really? For just twenty pounds per ten mil pot!
Now, wouldn't that product make a fortune? A preparation that actually restored hair growth! Thinning men and women throughout the land would beat a path to the manufacturer's door, and buy great 500 ml pots of this product. Talika would surely make a fortune. Mmm...
I remember my father returning from a business trip to France in the mid 1970's, when I was a very young girl. He was an honest man, even tempered and not easily vexed. He was more than annoyed because a waiter had dared to charge him several francs;
"for the privilege of serving plain water from a fizzy drinks bottle. Did he think I had more money than sense?"
I noticed yesterday in a magazine while waiting to have a manicure at Fenwick, that women in the Far East pay to breathe "oxygen shots" to in an effort to improve their energy levels, increase alertness and reduce stress.
Is it just me, or has the world gone mad?
I saved so much money yesterday morning not buying hair restoration products, free range or organic meat and fish, that I went for an impromptu manicure in the afternoon!
Saturday, 7 April 2007
James telephoned me this evening and invited me to join him for dinner at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant at Claridge's for supper. James will be working for the entire bank holiday and insisted that we should snatch these opportunities when we can. I was aware however, that he had gone into work without his tie, and so would need me if he intended to eat dinner out. I am not that silly.
When I arrived at the hotel James was already in the bar, and appeared perplexed. He informed me that he had noticed two of the boarders from a local independent school "the comprehensive you pay for" (Tatler 2007) entering the restaurant for dinner.
"They dined at The Connaught during the week too", he said "the poor boys were unaccompanied by adults, and clearly unable to travel or unwelcome at home over the Easter break" . My darling husband really is a sensitive sort underneath - very far underneath...
These little Russian boys annoy me no end. They must be just fifteen years old, and are already capable of commanding tables at the best restaurants in town on a whim. I must use James' special concierge service, afforded by his super black charge card in order to be acquire a table. It is shocking to see such wealth and privilege afforded to children so young. How can they possibly appreciate the "Menu Prestige" with its truffle, caviar, sweetbread and pate de foie gras?
I will admit to you - I am rather bitter and jealous.
When we entered the restaurant, there they were - Dmitry and Grigory, seated at the best table in the house! They were clearly guests at Claridge's for the entire Easter break. James was pre-occupied by the hardship of their plight, and even considered informing our neighbours - whose son George is such a close friend to the boys, in order to enquire if the two lambs could join their family for the break.
The boys sheepishly acknowledged us and sent a bottle of Krug to our table.
Russian boys have excellent manners, and both are only a little over ten years senior to Freya.
She is such a pretty little thing, I have high hopes for my baby.
Friday, 6 April 2007
I really don't know how you feel about your children, but I am now convinced that ours are completely over indulged.
Last weekend, Freya was bestowed with all manner of delights and favours on the event of her fourth birthday. Indeed, James worked late into the night on Friday, assembling her new wooden Retro Kitchen from The Great Little Trading Company - in an effort to ensure that our darling baby was appropriately delighted when she awoke.
Make no mistake, such toys are not easy to assemble, and if it was not for the fact that James had achieved the title of "UK Champion" for his skill with a Rubix Cube during the early 1980's and further, has a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, Freya could have been sorely disappointed. James appeared to have been defeated by the conundrum on more than one occasion during the evening.
For all the pains that were taken, Freya has spent hours this afternoon lying in the box from her special toy, pretending it is a coffin! The tot has a cushion, a sleeping bag, a box of raisins and a small bowl of chopped apple in there with her, so some modicum of comfort has been provided for the corpse. What is going through the mind of this small child?
I have deduced that the munchkin has been over-indulged, and is sensitised by the sheer diversity of gifts bestowed on her. James blames the Roman Catholic church.
Father O'Connor has been more than graphic in his descriptions of the crucifixion to the little poppets at their special children's mass in the weeks leading up to Lent. I would never take them to such events, but my mother is hell bent on introducing them to the concept of good old Catholic guilt and repression while she can.
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Today was the last working day before we broke up for the Easter hols - hurrah! The children are such hard work and once again, James will be working all over the bank holiday. On this occasion however, he will bring Freya with him - I just haven't informed him yet.
I put a nice bottle of Krug from the cellar into the fridge this morning, in anticipation of being able to partake of alcohol again imminently. The end to my abstinence is finally in sight, hurrah!
This afternoon I was introduced to a new client and although I say new she was immediately familiar to me from the various first view events that I have attended over the years at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Anne instantly recognised me too, and as we are virtually neighbours and in holiday mood, we trotted off to the nearest Starbucks for a decent latte and a chat.
Anne joyfully informed me she lives in a palatial mansion in the middle of the Village - good for her! She has twin children who are now grown up and have left home - how satisfying for her, she shall probably have a restful Easter.
Then Anne moved on to the subject of Dulwich independent schools, the temperature dropped substantially...
Anne volunteered that her son Geoff had been a boarder at Winchester from the age of seven - clearly a great source of pride to her. But daughter Rosie had been unsuccessful in her attempts to gain a place at School 1 or School 2 at the tender age of three and a half, and had "been forced" to attend local independent School 5 . I must admit I felt slightly sick at this point in the conversation, as I realised that there would be a hasty end to our friendly chat.
Tears welled up in Anne's eyes as she described her "intense sense of rejection and disappointment" almost twenty years ago!
"All is not lost though", she explained, "Rosie subsequently secured a place at Imperial and studied medicine, so she was not silly after all"... Clearly!
There are lots of very bitter parents out there, who have had the enjoyment of their children's young years sullied by their chosen schools refusal to allow their children a place. I don't think that Anne was so much disappointed for her daughters sake, but more for her own perceived loss of social standing in the locality!
Anne then asked me the inevitable dreaded question:
"So what school are your darlings attending then?" I had been fearing this moment since the subject was raised...
"They are at The Prep nursery", I replied.
"But you have a daughter," she said, "and they are shown the door at age four, are they not? where will she go next year?"
"School 1," I answered quietly.
"Well bully for you", she hissed before marching out of the cafe.
The poor woman has clearly been miserable for years suffering from affluenza - there are afterall some things that money just can't buy!
It was too close to the Easter holiday to do serious business anyhow, the Big Boss will never know about this lost contract...
Wednesday, 4 April 2007
Travelling on the Number 3 Bus on Sunday morning with my darling baby girl, was truly a terrifying experience. As the bus coasted through Brixton, sweet Freya commented loudly that the blue of the seats and upholstery reminded her of her favourite restaurant.
"This blue Mummy", the tot exclaimed, "it is the same blue as the sign outside Carluccio's on Russel Square" (you think I am joking now, I am not!).
"Mummy can we have lunch at Carluccio's in Fenwick? I so love Carluccio's. I love Italian food, real Italian food, I so miss Ella our Sardinian au pair. She was such a good cook".
This little one is far too bright for her own good. We were on the way into town to spend some of her birthday money - she was just four years old the day before.
We were surrounded by velour Juicy Couture tracksuit wearing killer Chavs, looking at us for all intents and purposes as though they were going to stone us to death with their gold tooth fillings. My baby was laughing in the face of danger. I wasn't...
This is the only occasion where I have wished that my munchkin would articulate a love for McDonald's! As we travelled across Lambeth Bridge, Freya announced:
"Mummy look, the London Eye" .
I could not help myself, and under my breath I referred to my darling baby as "The London Mouth". She collapsed in a fit of giggles. I just love it that she now understands sarcasm - the lowest form of wit. My wit.
Later, safely in Hamleys, Freya quickly found an enormous display of Ziggle "Movers and Shakers" vibrating cuddly toys.
"Don't let your daughter near them," hissed a well dressed exhausted looking mother standing close by.
"My daughter has been sitting on hers for the last three weeks"...
"Yes, indeed," I agreed,
"I can see, it could give a girl unrealistic expectations of married love".
I so enjoy shopping with my baby girl, we are more like sisters!...
Tuesday, 3 April 2007
I feel really happy this evening, and I would like to share that feeling. For that reason I would like to encourage you to click on the link below, and please remember that youtube is not just for the young people...
Isn't Gary Barlow simply a darling!
Have a good evening.
Monday, 2 April 2007
Yesterday morning, James announced that he "simply must" go into the office! Well, I cannot claim for one minute that I am not influenced by the comments I receive on this blog, and as NumberOneScumMum so kindly pointed out recently: James is off doing "God knows what" at work for most of his waking hours, so I just had to take action...
I suggested that James should take Max with him to work. Well, Sunday is meant to be a family day, a day of rest. The children are on their school holidays, and have the expectation of spending time with their parents after all.
We have some super high flying neighbours, Melissa and Timothy. Their older son Christoph left Dulwich College only last summer with wonderful A level results and has not raised a finger since. A gap year is all very well and good, but this boy will not even answer the door to the dog walker or the cleaner. Melissa has left her spare set of keys with our au pair Ana, Christoph is a disgrace!
If Melissa and Timothy are not careful, Christoph's gap year may turn into a gap life. Everything is handed to their golden boy on a plate; a car, snow boarding, tropical holidays, designer clothes and a generous allowance.
I have expressed my concerns to James about his wish to retire imminently - should his wonderful current dream deal come off. What kind of male role model will the children have? They could grow up - the equivalent of children with a father on welfare, seeing their father loll about the home all day, drawing money from the hole in the wall.
James will tell me he is building a pigeon loft in the back garden next. OVERMYDEADBODY!!! How can he just stop earning a living at forty. Surely he can never have earned enough money to retire? He was not shopping with me in Regent Street yesterday - I got the most amazing blouse from Jaeger's window.
If James does not work, why should I?
"Take The Boy Wonder to work with you while you still can", I pleaded.
My darling Max tells me everything that goes on during his day - every evening. He is a shy and gentle boy by nature, but while eating supper each evening, my perfect son gives me every delicious detail of the day, breath by breath.
James was by all accounts working at his office today. One of only four men in the entire building, he really is the man of my dreams.
I was just making sure...
I took Freya to Hamleys to buy Barbie and her incontinent cat. Now Freya has two Barbies, and my son is preoccupied with the bodily functions of both of the dolls' domestic pets.
Sunday, 1 April 2007
My baby boy is a baby no more. I am beside myself with grief!
I began to sing the munchkins' their favourite song today..., to no response! Normally by the time I get to;
"with a flippy floppy hat",
my darling babies are jumping about doing the actions with all of the energy of the cast of Rainbow (remember them?) on speed! Instead, my young man stared at me with a look of complete disgust. Indeed, he was practically sporting a mono brow!
'I'm a big boy now mummy, please stop the silly song singing'.
"Silly song singing"?
It was his "very best favourite" song only last week! What is going on?
NO, NO, NO! My baby Max is now gone forever...
I noticed recently his little sausage like fingers have slimmed down, he has lost the baby fat around his wrists, those sweet chunky bracelets are no more.
I am bereft. I suppose I should have realised that this was day was coming. Freya was given a Barbie doll by Liliana (our cleaner) for her birthday. Would you believe the dreadful plastic stick insect doll came complete with a pooing pooch? It is so unbelievably dreadful I can almost not bear to describe its horrors.
The Labrador type dog Tanner, opens his mouth and eats a small brown dog biscuit, which it then passes as a poo! And then, once again he gets fed the same dog biscuit... In the name of God and all of his Angels and Saints - you could not make this up!
When the doll was unwrapped, Max made off with the dog and biscuits, he has been fascinated with it's functions all afternoon on the living room floor. In goes the dog biscuit, out comes the poo!
Max tells no end of bottom jokes, and his constant talk of poo has meant that my poor mother has not been brought into his company for the last two weeks. Her sensibilities would be so offended. She would probably have the little lamb exorcised.
According to the literature this is; "all part of normal development". Soon my baby will be a man. He is growing up!
I wonder if he will still respond to the old favourite song: 'Sleeping bunnies'?...