Thursday, 28 August 2008

Last of the Summer Whine

So it's the end of another camping trip for the Millennium Housewife family, the last of the summer unless all those ridiculously optimistic friends of ours are right and we have a 'late summer' (read: few hours of sunshine which everyone desperately and idiotically takes as the summer and walks around in shorts shivering). So we packed away with more care this time, aware of the fearful moment we face each year at the beginning of the camping season when we realise that neither of us removed the old sock/squashed banana/woodlouse family/entire cast of Grease! from the ground sheet and it is about to be presented to us in all it's eight month old glory. In fact Husband and I have been known to draw straws to see who actually has to unpack the tent at this time. I tend to win, I have an extending straw. Thankyou Paul Daniels Magic Kit and my tendency to hoard decades of birthday presents.
It was fun though, the weather held (and when it didn't we held it with an umbrella), camp fires were built, games played and best of all (according to Husband) I didn't insist on cleanliness.
Normally I tend to ruin Husband's camping trips and insist everyone showers at least every other day. Yes, I know that it's all a bit basic and cold but the tendency to build up smell while camping is simply too much to bear. Between campfire smoke, dirt, grass and sleeping in a sleeping bag you have quite a potent mix, hence the insistence of showers.
I do sympathise with Husband, as he puts it he likes to look rustic and really feel the grime. Lovely of course on a campsite with other like minded individuals, but what about when we go out, say on a long walk? If we stopped in a little tea room for refreshment (which we are wont to do) the couple at the next table wouldn't sit and smile genially at Husband and say ah, smell that really smelly man, isn't he enjoying his camping trip Bill? to which Bill would reply; phew! yes, he really is feeling the grime isn't he, what fun. Let's sit here for a while and really take in the smell.
Oh no, much more likely they will look at us suspiciously, wondering why this nice woman and children have befriended the local tramp and lent him some camping gear. They'll shift away to the furthest point that their table will allow (which isn't much in a tea room I assure you) and the wife would say Careful Bill, (obviously all this depends on the lady's husband actually being called Bill, otherwise a Who's Bill? argument would ensue and Husband's odour would thankfully move down the list of Things To Be Discussed Urgently In Hushed Whispers to number nine after: if there's been a Bill how many others have there been? But before: Any other business). Anyway, she'd say: Careful Bill, the man over there really smells don't sit too close. Breathe this way you don't know where he's been. At which point, my hackles will have been raised and I would be forced to leap to the defence of my lovely (but, to be fair, very smelly) Husband and shout He's been camping and he's enjoying himself in his natural state, haven't you ever felt the grime? And stomped off out of the cafe (having left payment and a fair tip). To be honest though, my nerve would probably fail me and I'd just hunch silently at our table, blowing Husband's air down wind. Or else point to a random man and shout to the husband There's Bill, there's the man you want, he's been at it with your wife! And scarper as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Things I Have Said to Myself Today

  • OK you can have one
  • Just one mind
  • One biscuit doesn't count
  • Not if you have it for breakfast
  • Hmm how many calories?
  • Let's see
  • 117?
  • Ah
  • Well then, being as it's breakfast
  • 117...x3...300 calories allowed
  • I can have three
  • Goody
  • If I break a bit off each biscuit that'll make them about 100 calories
  • There
  • Yum
  • I suppose I might as well eat the broken off bits
  • They're only about 17 calories
  • That one looks quite small, it's probably only about 10
  • No one else will want them anyway
  • Today I will be a better mummy
  • I will not shout
  • Unless the situation warrants it
  • No, I will not shout at all
  • Or get them to do things by saying that Daddy will be cross
  • Or by pretending to give the dog away to the neighbours
  • I must apologise to the neighbours
  • Perhaps five times in one day was too much
  • They're probably sick of the dog
  • OK, I will not give the dog away
  • Or say that Santa phoned and he was very disappointed
  • I will not take Jack to creche with a dirty nappy
  • It is nice that they do it though
  • But £2.50 an hour to change a nappy is a bit steep
  • OK, I will take Jack to creche but I will do a work out while he's there
  • Not sit in the cafe
  • Eating the soft cookies
  • Ooh, soft cookies
  • I wonder if they'll have the double chocolate ones today
  • One won't count
  • Not if I have it for lunch

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Just Call Me Sherlock

Today I have solved a myth, a riddle, a puzzlement if you will that has been niggling at me for ages. There is nothing quite like the feeling of actually getting to the bottom of something (especially if that something is called Mr. G Clooney) and sighing a satisfied aha! in your face sister, or some such hip and happening remark. I am hip aren't I? Anyway, today I had my moment.

My friend Kate and I had decided to take the children to feed the ducks, Kate is a typical Mum-about-town, all 4x4, gym membership and Boden, and before you ask I am not jealous one tiny bit, oh no, I swear. I mean 4x4's are terrible for the environment, if God had meant us to exercise in an air conditioned studio she would have made them free and Boden? OK I'd quite like the flowery boot cut thingys, and I do have visions of Isla being one of those achingly cool models, but I'm afraid the gene pool I have supplied her with will make it nigh on impossible. So no, I am not envious of Kate and her Mum-about-town status.

Anyway, this is the riddle: every time we go to the park to feed the ducks Kate's children whip out bags of fresh (yes, fresh) granary bread. The sort you get from those specialist shops in a paper bag, the sort where the shop also home makes the Chelsea buns and remembers to accidentally slip one in with the bread to eat on the way home. I didn't think much of it at first, being my only Mum-about-town friend I just assumed that this is what they fed the ducks. Indeed a daily boost of B vitamins would go a long way to ensuring a healthy duck population. How community minded. But last week we went to Kate's house for tea rather than feed the ducks, who wouldn't have been there anyway since the rumour of Noah building a Modern Interpretation of the Ark to escape the rain and flooding meant all the local animals have been queuing for days. Our dog even camped out, but came home when his sleeping bag flooded. It won't do them any good though as apparently the Modern New Interpretation involves lots of holes through the hull representing (I'm told by the dog) the disintegration of society, so not much chance of floating off towards an olive tree (we have two in the back garden for them to aim for, though no dove, unless they want to borrow Jack's hand puppet one).

Anyway, having tea at Kate's I noticed one tiny thing; she served white bread. I looked around the kitchen to see if it was just for the children and that she kept a lovely fresh granary for her and her Husband but no. Why? Where was it? Cue music for Scooby Do and the arrival of the Mystery Machine. Oh yes, I was about to become one of those Pesky Kids. I spent most of the afternoon trying to find reasons to look in cupboards, Kate began to think I may have had some mental impairment or at least a brain as leaky as (New Modern Interpretation) Noah's ark, as for the eighth time I offered to make the tea and proceeded to open five different cupboards before locating the cups. But it paid off, unless she kept the bread in the cloak room there was no granary loaf to be seen. No granary loaf at all. Right, something strange is going on and I have to get to the bottom of it (or perhaps I need a part time job to give my brain something else to do).

So today we met at the park, and there it was; the brown paper bag filled with fresh granary bread. Why? It turns out that Kate doesn't like to feed white bread to the ducks in case Other Mums-about-town think she eats it at home, or worse feeds it to the children. She does though, the family get through two loaves of thin white sliced every week. They don't eat the crusts either so she puts them in the middle of the compost bin so that the bin men don't see them and think that she eats white bread and is very unhealthy and feeds her children unhealthy things too. So the granary loaf is bought fresh from the bakers before going to the park and dolled out to the children much in the manner of left over bread. She recycles the brown bag though, she told me solemnly. She uses it to hide the Nesquick packet in the recycling bin.