We were cycling back from summer club today, I stopped to briefly check that child #2 was ok in the trailer and looked up and noticed that I had lost child #1. I did not panic, as this happens to me frequently. I like to think that this is a test of my special parenting superanalytical skills … Deep breath, right, where were we? Cycle slowly back the way we were going thinking calmly about what clues have been given in the conversation we had in the 10 mins?
- Question about why blue tits are actually mainly yellow.. Nope nothing there…
- Mum why does that man’s tummy hang over his trousers, has he been eating too much crap? Oh dear…
- Something about an ice cream, therefore he’s probably decided to go to the shop
Ah yes here he is trying to persuade the shopkeeper that he can buy that ice lolly with 23 English pence and not the 7 kronor that it actually costs…
Ice lolly bought and consumed, we go to set off again, but he announces that this will be a problem as the bike is minus one pedal. The left one. He says don’t worry we can ring Dad, I say why do we need to ring Dad? And he says (deadly serious), well Mum he’s just a bit more technological than you isn’t he? Well, my feminist sensibilities are enraged, but I say, well Dad is in a meeting and I’m sure we can cope to screw a pedal back in.
Famous last words.
10 minutes later and with a running commentary along the lines of: it would have been quicker if we walked Mum; don’t worry Mum, Dad can fix it when he gets home; why don’t we ask that man over there to help us Mum? (pointing at a boy of about 17 changing fuses in lampposts); Mum can I go back to the shop and get another ice cream while I wait for you? Etc etc, I eventually manage to half screw the pedal back in. I instruct him not to pedal ‘too hard’ and we proceed slowly towards home. We make it almost all the way into the block, but the offending pedal falls off in the road outside.
I am determined that I will fix the pedal and while I am at it I will raise the saddle and seat and show the boy that Mummy can fix stuff too. I have given him a lecture on this on the way home, and he just says I know other Mummies can, but you aren’t very good at that sort of thing are you? Harumph.
I get the tools out and put them down on the patio to survey which ones I need.
I am very proud of myself because not only do I do all of those things without calling my husband or my brother, but I also do not have to use the hammer. At all. Job done.
We have a friend coming to stay and a party at the weekend, so I decided it was time for a tidy up. Having spent 2 hours retrieving lego bricks and bits of biscuit from every crevice in the apartment, emptying the dishwasher, loading the dishwasher, folding up and putting away clothes and hanging up the 11 coats strewn about willy nilly, I decided there was no way I could put it off any longer and I emptied out the washing basket.
It’s like a magic kingdom at the bottom isn’t it? You never know what you might find. Well, in this instance it was: 50 socks (but only 14 pairs, the rest odd); 3 pieces of pirate gold (plastic, sadly); a solitary pink bead; a lot of gravel; a button; 2 Greg Chapman pin badges (anyone know who he is, cos I haven’t the foggiest) and a black plastic poo bag with a bit of green glass from Sandown beach in it (approximately 1270 Miles from home).
We have only been here 10 weeks and already the junk accumulating around the place is extraordinary. And before you all start guffawing and pointing the finger at me, I’d like to state firmly that hardly any of this is mine. I have become ruthless, throwing away anything left lying around for more than 30 seconds. The top drawer in the kitchen (you know the one that every one has and chucks all their odds and sods in) is chock full of leaflets of all varieties, tourist attractions; takeaway menus and the weekly public health bulletins which keeping arriving in the mail reminding me of important things like registering the children for a dentist. The trouble is that it takes me 2 days to translate the leaflets and then I have to add them to the pile of all the things I need to do…
Jobs still to do: cleaning the sticky fingerprints off all the huge mirror fronted cupboards in every room (whoever kitted this place out most certainly did not have children); pairing up the dozens of odd socks and hoovering…
Last weekend we went to camp, our first camp as Swedish residents (this is important because it means we now all have numbers and have to quote them at least twice a day)… and of course it rained and rained and rained as if we were in the UK. And there was a lot of mud. And we all went, dogs too. This was OK for Pippa (now re-named Pippi, because Pippa means shag in Swedish and there’s no way you want to be shouting that out loud in the park, though I do keep forgetting)… But poor Sam has a cone on his head. You know, one of those big see through plastic ones to stop him scratching and licking his wounds, because, well, I ran him over. I realise that sounds really bad, and it was fairly awful (note the British understatement). But, don’t worry, it was only on my bike. Sam decided to run after a cat under the bike on the way to pick son #1 up from school.
So, we had a dog with a big hole in his head bleeding profusely, a toddler who was a bit confused about why Mummy was swearing in 2 languages and a small boy who was sent to try and explain in English to his Swedish TA why Mummy was crying and needed to know where the vet was.
The very calm (!!!) decision was made that it would be easiest to take the bus to the vets. We locked up the bikes at school and took the bleeding dog (and the 2 boys and the other dog) to the bus, this was a good plan until I got on the bus and realised that my travel card had run out that day. With a look of combined horror and disbelief at the mad English woman and the bloody carnage pooling on the floor, the bus driver quickly assessed the situation and sensibly decided that we should get on, quickly.
So, that is how conehead came to camp. In the pouring rain, in a very small tent made for 2 people but actually having to accommodate 4 people and 2 dogs… I suspect this did nothing but confirm to our Swedish friends that we are in fact crazy. I mean, who in their right mind does this kind of thing? Ah, yes, me.
Having just got used to a brand new bed in our brand new apartment in a brand new country, I had to go back to work in the UK. This meant a round of bed hopping in order to fit everything and everyone into my completely ludicrous schedule. But, as long as there are beer; bed and biscuits, everything is usually ok.
1. Holiday Inn, Southampton – after staggering off the coach at 1am with no idea where to go because the trusty electronic devices were out of battery, I joined the queue for the taxi rank. Once at the front, my allocated driver was clearly not keen on driving me a distance which he described as ‘a 2 minute walk’. I set off in with my bag full of booze (gifts for the family, honest), clinking merrily and started looking for a ghastly 60s tower block. Bingo. 6 mins walk though, but unlike the last hotel I stayed in, the bar was actually open when I arrived so of course I went straight to bed. A single bed, for £115, in Southampton. Mmm. Bargain. Shit biscuits too.
2. The cleanest flat in the world – occupied by the world’s most organised and lovely person was my second stopover and it was like a white oasis of calm, well, it was until I got there and my post-travel/conference body relaxed and had a monthly trauma on white crisp sheets. Bugger. Good job that every cleaning material known to man is stored (in alphabetical order, with a COSHH assessment, in a kitchen cupboard)… Incidentally, this is not as bad as the time as when I stayed at a friend’s in North London, collapsed on the sofa, vomited on the rug and then tried to clean it at 3am without waking them up.
3. Dad’s – well, thank God for my sister going round there to make the bed, very disappointed that the sheets weren’t ironed though, perhaps a lesson from 2. on this is needed. Haha. Dad is on a long term diet (good for him), so has absolutely sod all food that any normal human being would want to eat. And zero biscuits, not even a crumb. Or crisps or crackers or anything. Let alone beer. Note to self: get a waitrose order delivered there before the summer holiday visit. Seeds and low fat greek yoghurt anyone? No, I thought not. Off to my little sister’s for a curry then.