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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Silly me!

My lovely neighbour's son Alexi has been spending rather a lot of time in my home of late. I empathise with the boy, his mother was so traumatised by his recent GCSE failure but I am happy to provide the cub with a place to unwind and clear his head after a hard day at school.

Alexi has expressed great interest in my writing, and been begging me to allow him to read a draft of the book which I am currently working on. Melissa says that he should only be allowed to read his school texts in my home, but I must admit that I have been terribly flattered that a trendy young teenage chap should show interest in the musings of an average working mother like myself... It makes me feel good to think that I can tickle his sense of humour and gain the attention and respect of a young person.

This evening I was standing in my en-suite wet room, applying a spritz of Lime, Basil and Mandarin and powdering my nose before the munchkins' bath time. Alexi was pleading with me for access to my text from the doorway, when my darling husband James returned home uncharacteristically early from work.

"Haven't you got some Skelextric or something to play with?" He demanded of Alexi (rather rudely to my mind).

I was not very impressed, and chastised James for his rudeness later when we were alone. "Young boys like to adopt grown-ups other than their parents as role models," I insisted. "Haven't you read Raising Boys?"

"Silly Bea," he scoffed, "Alexi is sixteen, and the word 'sex' is in the title of your book. I dare say I have a good idea why he is so interested in it. I should like to read it myself..."

OHMYGOD! I really am terribly naive you know. It hadn't even occurred to me before... I really should keep young men away from the environs of my bedchamber in future.

Friday, 21 September 2007


Snap… Snap… Snap…

The top floor of the Number 3 Bus is empty this evening as I climb up the stairs and sit in the front row. I sometimes like looking out, peering down from the upstairs front window at the poor precarious racing cyclists below. But…

Snap… Snap… Snap…

There the noise goes again. OHMYGOD... I know what I think it sounds like, but I am not a bad minded person – no, I refuse to believe it could be. I refuse to let my imagination run away with me but;

Snap… Snap… Snap… PING!

Something small hit the glass in front of me. I dare not look around to see where the “snap” has “pinged” from.

Snap… Snap… Snap…

Instead, I gaze down at the floor of the Number 3 Bus as it zooms up Croxted Road – on the home strait now, soon I will be in Dulwich.

Indeed, a small crescent shape, embellished with metallic purple paint lies on the floor to the left of my feet. I curl my lip, this is really rather ghastly… Let me out of here. I dart for the stairs… but glance back as I go,

Snap… Snap… Snap…

A lone female passenger is perched a couple of rows behind me, cutting her toe nails!!! I thought that there was nothing new at all that these people could do to shock me - not any more.

I ask you, whatever would posess anyone to wear such a loathsome colour?

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


"Its all about me."

"Really?" I replied to James. "How frightful for you darling! Are you sure you are not just being paranoid?"

"No," he said, "your blog is all about me and I have checked - you had 997 hits today! I am the laughing stock of the entire locality."

"Darling man, how dreadful for you, but it is my name on the cheque, isn't it? So, it really is all about me you know. I think I shall buy a super new Mini Clubman in canary yellow with my advance from the publisher..." (Financial freedom really is rather liberating!)

"I feel so exposed," he bellowed out after me into the hall.

"Well you should draw the curtains when you put the lights on in the lounge darling, and do tuck your shirt into your trousers. I am off to Cafe Rouge with Vashi, your dinner is in the microwave - cheerio."

Whatever does he mean "the entire locality"? - I get hits from a large number of readers in the Gulf, the USA, Australia, Canada, Morocco and France too. I think he will find that they are talking about him from further away than "the entire locality"!

Mmm, I wonder if I should invest in plantation shutters?

Friday, 14 September 2007


I am so glad that the weekend is finally here. I am quite simply exhausted.

In the middle of the night on Wednesday I was sure I heard an intruder in our house, and as my darling man was snoring his head off beside me – I decided not to rouse him for fear of the consequences… I straightened up my La Perla silk night dress, donned the matching pure silk dressing gown, brushed my hair (added just a touch of lip gloss) and flounced cautiously down the back stairs.

Light was streaming from the fridge door and someone was rummaging noisily within it! Indeed, the cheeky scamp was actually warming a pizza in my oven!!! My heart almost stopped, and I immediately darted for the cover afforded by the minimalist Poggenpohl kitchen island (with poured concrete surface). OHMYGOD!!!

I thought to myself – “I must take action, I must protect my munchkins and darling man from evil hungry intruders.” I grabbed a lengthy French stick which was poking out of the bread bin and sprang out to attack the intruder – screeching aggressively as I vaulted. I was making short work of this frightful criminal too (with not a jot of concern for my own personal safety I should add), when my darling husband pulled me from the bulky intruder.

It was actually Ana, our au pair! Ramadan has begun, and so the poor child was trying to have her first meal of the day by 4.00 am, she cannot let a single nutritious morsel or sip of fluid pass her lips until 7.30 pm each evening! I so wish that she had simply warned me. I almost strangled her with a French stick!

You know there really is nothing I would not do to protect my young family...

I really love Pizza Express ready to cook Pizza, so I took it to bed with me, and told Ana not to worry about cleaning up the remnants of the French bread until the morning, but on second thoughts I was far too lenient. The fragments of crust get simply everywhere…

Monday, 10 September 2007


I found my PA Lydia in the kitchen at work this afternoon scrubbing my cup before coffee break. “No, no, no” – I scolded. “You should never have do that... Your hands and nails should never be used as tools. Get some money from petty cash and go buy yourself some Marigolds and a dish mop.”

This evening after work I took Lydia to The House of Fraser for a manicure. I try to be a good role model and general super big sister to her, and used a favoured phrase of my mother's “You reap what you sew” sweetie, when Lydia appeared shocked by the price of our treatments. It was my treat, so I paid (clearly), and I was keen to point out that if a girl ensures she appears top quality, she will attract a top quality husband...

Lydia has been describing to me the horrors of her dreadfully ineligible young man. Any chap who refers to a lady’s lingerie as her “under crackers” and drinks beer straight from a can, is simply NOCD (not our class darling) and certainly not marriage material. “Dump him,” I insisted…

We were sitting next to each other in the middle of the sales floor (these nail bars really are dreadfully open and exposed) fingers and toes submerged in bubbles, occasionally sipping grande latte from paper Starbucks cups when I noticed to our left two enormous black leather arm chairs. You know the type of chair that reclines and the foot rest comes out (dreadful ugly things). Women were actually queuing up for “threading”(a super thorough plucking type of depilation – usually for eyebrows). It is simply all the rage…

Words cannot express the horror I experienced when I realised one of these customers actually having the whiskers on her chin removed in the middle of this open shop floor!!! The young girl carrying out the treatment was virtually perched on the customer’s chest without so much as a screen to spare the customer’s blushes!

I am sooo not joking when I tell you that I almost hyperventilated with horror. An open shop floor in an Oxford Street department store really is not the time or the place! What is going on? Had the customer lost her mind?

Which is more humiliating do you suppose, actually realising you are growing a beard, or having it removed in a public place for all the world to see? I grabbed my latte and my PA and left the House of Fraser before the said customer could present her bikini line for depilation – what has happened to our culture? Where is the refinement and beauty?

Well, I can safely say, I shall cling on to the remnants of civilisation right here in perfect Dulwich…

Friday, 7 September 2007

Book Group

When Helena first suggested that I join her book group – I must admit I winced and immediately began to rummage in my enormous handbag in order to distract her while I tried to think of an excuse… “Oh you must come,” she insisted, “it is at Eliza's house this month, and she has just had a super Bang and Olufsen home cinema and home integration system installed – I am dying to take a look. It will be my turn next, and I have just had my back garden landscaped to accommodate a tennis court. It really is a hoot, just like an alcohol fuelled version of the PTA – but with none of the teachers, a pure gossip fest.”

I immediately saw my opportunity, and insisted that the reason I had declined an invitation to join the PTA was because of a personal suspicion that I may already be alcohol dependent and if the book group was actually worse than the PTA, all could soon be lost...

“I have managed to get permission from the inner circle for you to join this group Bea, if you don’t come along, it will be interpreted as the most hostile of snubs – you simply are not allowed to decline this offer.”

I had no choice, I agreed to attend and I must admit – I was not looking forward to it at all. I never ever read anything for pleasure, that is not printed inside the cover of The Style supplement of The Sunday Times, or the Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine.

I received an email from Helena informing me that the book of choice this month was In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes, and so I sent the au pair to pick up a copy last week from Dulwich Books.

I must say, this book has been a complete eye opener for me. Caroline Smailes writes so very beautifully, I wept all over my dry clean only 100% silk Allegra Hicks Kaftan as I turned the pages (there was mascara everywhere, darn). It was a completely gripping book and touched me on so many levels. I found myself creeping out of bed at 3am to finish the text on the first night. My thoughts have been filled with the story, and also with admiration for the writers skill and talent – ever since...

Eliza pounced on me at the school gates this morning. "Are you coming to my house tomorrow for our book group then?" She demanded.

“Well, I said, I am really not sure that I am ready to discuss this book yet. It is a life changing text, I need to digest it, reflect on it. My emotions are still so raw, it touched me on so many levels,” I replied – my eyes once again filled with tears.

“Really? Gosh,” replied Eliza. "I was hoping to take a quick leaf through in the bath tonight after I ordered a couple of crates of Chablis from Majestic Wines. You really want to discuss literature then?" she said curiously.

"Oh yes, yes indeed. But not yet. I am not ready to discuss it yet," I replied, my voice filled with emotion...

"Darling girl, I don’t think you would enjoy our book group at all. It really isn’t your type of thing," she barked.

I am so relieved. I would like to thank Caroline Smailes personally. I would also like to give credit to my PA Lydia, who actually read the book for me and gave me notes, direction and motivation to carry off this act with confidence. I may even read this book you know, it really sounds incredible, but you know, I am deeply, deeply superficial!

I have been let off the hook...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Domestic bliss...

James has been reading The Evening Standard Magazine again. He thinks he is all the rage, and up to date with everything current in the world of arts and media after just ten minutes undisturbed with last week's glossy Friday Magazine.

I was telling him all about the horrors of the school gate mafia this evening, pouring out my heart, assuming that he understood my angst - when he had the cheek to tell me that we are all suffering from "Affluenza in Disturbia"! The cheeky devil!

I couldn't think of a witty rebuttle, so I simply reached down and put his plate straight into the dishwasher and turned it on.

Did I forget to mention that James hadn't eaten his supper yet?

Monday, 3 September 2007

GCSE disappointment

My darling neighbour Melissa telephoned me a week ago, filled with woe and sorrow. Her divine son Alexi had received his GCSE results, and all hopes for a future career in banking appear to have been dashed.

"Alexi got a 'C' in business studies," she wailed.

I really did not know what to say, she was devastated...

This evening I met Melissa at the train station and the sobbing and screeching has finally subsided, however her eyes were still swollen from sobbing and she appeared pale from lack of sleep. I asked; "What about his other subjects darling friend - how has Alexi fared overall?" trying to sound sensitive and not overly optimistic.

"He got ten A stars," she said, "Mostly in damned science subjects...OHMYGOD he will be the bottom of the heap. How will he provide for a family? Everyone knows that medicine pays a pittance..."

"The poor boy," I agreed, feigning horror. "Never mind, perhaps he could still get into a good university if he does well at A level."

James says Melissa has dulwichmumitis!