Vegans must die.

Tis tricky feeding a family of four at the best of times, one has allergies, one is always on a diet and failing miserably (me) and another doesn’t eat veg. So imagine my joy when the one who avoids veg decides he’s going vegan. Yay!

Squidge has been vegan for a week now and is doing rather well. As inconvenient as it is for me his resolve is both impressive and rather irritating. If only I could stick to a diet like he does, I’d be tiny right now, I am in awe of the 11yr old.

That said, it is time to do the food shopping and I just can’t.

“I’m calling a family meeting” said I.

“Oh no” whined the kids.

I ignored the groaning and continued on.

“I want a comprehensive list of what you would like for tea this week. Squidge, you need to tell me what you can eat now you’re vegan”

He’s more than welcome to vegan himself right up but he can do the research, my brain hurts at the thought of feeding nothing but veg to a non veg eater. I’m not sure how many Indian Vegan burgers a person can eat before they never want to see one again. I’ll buy it, I’ll happily cook it but he must do the ground work.

“Carbonara” announced The Boom.

She’s easy pleased that one.

The vegan fell silent.

I sat scratching Boom’s back, she requested that I did it forever which was fine as we had forever to wait for the vegan to come up with something other than Oreos and prawn cocktail crisps.

We waited.

We scratched.

We waited some more.

“We could rip his head off?”

The 6yr old is a genius. Problem solved.

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Once more please.

Can I be a kid again please?

I want my mummy and daddy to look after me.

I want my mummy and daddy to take me to the seaside and buy me ice cream.

I want my grandparents, my uncle David and my uncle Harry back.

I want to go climb the third tree with my mates.

I want to make random phone calls from the telephone box on the green at the bottom of my road.

I want to fill steak pies with sweet corn and whizz them in the microwave then follow that up with a chocolate lovely.

I want to be surprised christmas morning when You Know Who has been.

I want a backie on my mates bike.

I want to throw corn bombs.

Can I then be a wee adult again please?

I want to go on one of those new years eve pub crawls that don’t exist any more, the ones where you could go in all the pubs not just the one you’ve got a ticket for. I want to kiss everybody at midnight. Every. Body.

I want to go clubbing till the wee small hours.

I want to drink. Oh how I want to drink. Lots of boozy yum yums with little to no aftereffects.

I want to pass my driving test.

I want to get my first wage packet.

I want to go drunk sledging in Levi.

I want to buy our first house again and get really rather too excited about buying a fridge.

Then can I end up right here again, right here and right now please?

Thanks xx

Vegan strawberry roses.

Squidge is vegan. Who knew? Not even he until last night. The kid that only eats meat is vegan. Anyhoo, vegan he now is despite my list of non vegan food stuffs.

Eggs both regular and chocolate, McDonald’s nuggets, smoked German cheese and Nutella.

All his favourite things.

Now, should I allow an 11yr old to go vegan? Yes, yes I should. He may be a wee boy but that there is his body and, as such, is his to do with as he pleases. Plus I doubt this will last because Nutella. If it does last and this becomes a complete lifestyle change, whilst remaining happy and healthy, then I’m all for it so long as I can still have shepherds pie.

This is the first of many Squidge decisions I might not agree with, this along with his choice of life partner. They’re not good enough for him whoever they are.

So, we’re a few hours in to his veganismness and he’s doing rather well. Breakfast was vegan, his packed luck is vegan and tonight’s tea is . . . . Erm . . . . FFS what is he having for his tea?

I’ve no idea what a vegan eats but still, I’m immensely proud of him.

Then there’s Boom.

In she strolled this morning, nice and early.

“Wow, you’re up nice and early. Morning Boom”

“Yeah, I’m feeling really good this morning” she grinned.

“That’s marvellous news, you want a strawberry?”

“Yes please. Yeah, only my neck feels a bit weird now, a bit sore”

What now? Since when did anything feel a bit weird? Blooming ‘eck. I gave her Calpol which worked instantly apparently. Go Calpol.

“Can I have a chocolate rose please?”

I made one at the weekend and it went down a storm so this is my life now. On the upside, providing I omit the chocolate drops, I can feed both kids this. Yay.

Kids 0 – Mum 1

But then it is only 8.15am.

QUEEN

“Do you want to see Queen and Adam Lambert at the O2?” asked The Husband.

No. No, I did not want to see Queen and Adam I’m Not Freddie Lambert at the O2. That would mean risking my life for a band I like-ish so no, thank you but no.

“Yeah sure” said I.

Since the birth of our children there has been very little The Husband and I have done just the two of us, we’re either with the children or one of us is oot and aboot whilst the other is with the children so, when he asks if I want to do something kid-less, I feel obliged to say yes even when every cell in my body screams FUCK NO.

Thing is, I like spending time with The Husband, honest, it’s just that I knew we would die in a terror attack at the O2 if we went to see Queen and Adam Blooming Lambert. It was months away so I just shoved the thought to the back of my mind along with all the other shit that scares me, there was a little room in a dark corner just past where I keep my fear of cancer.

At some point I made a joke about our impending doom.

“You don’t have to come, I’ll take someone else if you’re that worried”

He would have too and not thought less of me for it but no, The Husband had asked me, I could do this.

Fast forward to the day we were off to see Queen and Adam Sodding Lambert.

Most of the day was spent wondering how I could wriggle out of going but, before I could think of anything remotely believable, we were in the car heading to London.

Traffic. There was lots and lots of lovely traffic and we were stuck in it. We hadn’t moved in an hour, we would have to abandon ship. Yay!

“I think I’m going to leave the motorway . . . . ” The Husband pondered.

Do what you like mate, we’ve missed it, may as well turn for home. Whoopedy do da day.

“Yeah sure” said I.

I forgot that Mr Satnav used to drive all over the country in a previous life and that he knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going. Bugger. We hit London at what felt like warp speed, weaving in and out of traffic and taking sudden detours when it looked as though we were about to get stuck. I was beginning to lose it, the panic had set in. We weren’t travelling at warp speed at all but my heart was and I was struggling to breathe by the time we got to the car park of the O2. Oddly we’d managed to get parked quite close to where I was about to meet my end, which was convenient as now I had lost the use of my legs.

“Slow down, I need a wee”

It wasn’t a complete lie, I did need a wee, but my, far more pressing, problem was the full blown panic attack I was in mid flow of. The Husband, not wanting to miss any more of Queen and Adam Fucking Fuckwit Lambert than was absolutely necessary, had decided to run.

We hit security. Security which is there to keep a person safe but just reminded me of the Manchester Arena bombing. Shit. I could drop to the floor and play dead. This would be my last chance to escape the nightmare. I did neither, drop nor escape.

In we went. Still running we found the wee wee facilities then the door that would take us to our seats. We paused to double check we were where we should be. I took a deep breath, the first in a while, and the doors opened.

The crowd cheered, it was all I could do not to take a bow. We’d entered at the end of a song so the cheers weren’t for us, I don’t think, but the sensation of walking onto the O2 to that level of happiness will stay with me right up until the day I forget all about it. The heat, the lights, the volume knocked the panic and fear of everything right out of me. I loved it. I loved Queen. As for Adam Oh My Word He’s A Delight Lambert, boy can he belt out a tune.

So I am now a Queen fan, who knew?

We were buzzing for days, we even thought about getting tickets to see them again that very weekend but we’d already had to sell a kidney each for the first pair of tickets so decided against it as the kids needed feeding and a roof over their heads or something equally dull.

So, am I now cured of my fear of everything? No. I doubt that day will ever come but I did learn one hefty life lesson, never ever ever sing in public. When I played back some of the videos I discovered that I have the voice of an angel being wrung out like a wet dishcloth. I’d posted them to Facebook too! Delete. Delete.

Summis Desiderantes Affectibus.

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In the car on the way home from nannies.

“When I change schools will I be able to go to bed later?” pondered The Eldest.

“It’s a quarter past ten, if you want to go to bed later at your next school you need to start going earlier at this one”

“Oh. Yeah. But I usually . . . ”

“I LOVE MY LIFE!” exclaims The Youngest.

“Ah, that’s splendid news” says me genuinely pleased as punch.

TY – “I love my life and I love school”

TE – “I love my life but I hate school”

TY – “But we need to learn”

TE – “I’ve learnt everything. Go on, tell me something I don’t know”

ME – “The Summis Desiderantes Affectibus was written in 1484”

This is the only thing I remember from A Level History that I took aged 24.

TE – “When will I ever need to know that?”

ME – “At a pub quiz perhaps?”

TE – “No. Tell me a useful fact that I will learn at school”

I’d got nothing.

ME – “It’s not just about facts, it’s about learning to do new things and making friends and stuff”

TY – “Yeah and love is real”

TE – “What’s love?”

TY – “Erm . . . It’s kisses . . . ”

TE – “Eww”

TY – “And hugs . . . ”

TE – “Ewww!”

TY – “And giving presents”

The Youngest is just the loveliest wee soul huh?

Wrong.

When we got home she decided to run an arm wrestling competition. I didn’t win and they finally went to bed at ten past eleven.

There’s not much I wouldn’t do for a good cup of tea.

The Youngest was going to nursery three mornings a week and I hated it. I was so miserable without her, I had no idea what to do with myself so I panicked as that seemed the best thing to do at the time.

When The Eldest was wee I was at work, I left work because it didn’t fit in with him once he’d started school and besides I wanted to go to all the assemblies, school plays and woodland walks with the school, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that if I’d been at work now would I? The hilarious thing is that The Eldest wouldn’t let me go in to school, on the rare occasion I did go in it would result in a panic attack of monumental proportions so I stayed home. Except that time I snuck in at the end of a Christmas play, shhh.

Anyhoo, although I had only worked three days a week when The Eldest was wee, I hadn’t spent three whole years with just him as I had with the youngest. It had been just she and me at home for three years then off she went, without so much as a “Cheerio”

What an absolute arse!

Two years she’s been at school now and still doesn’t look back. Other children hug their parents, some will even part with a kiss, not mine though. This may sound like I’m whining, I’m not, this is exactly how things should be. I love that she loves school, long may it continue.

Right, back to me.

I decided that I’d volunteer somewhere. Why not eh? It’d keep me out of trouble if nout else. Where though? Where would I like to go for no reason at all other than I quite fancied it?

Enter: The Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth.

We, The Husband and I, were wedded at Swiss, it’s lovely there. Yup, that was the place. I signed myself up and, despite my not knowing a weed from a geranium, they took me on. That was Wednesdays sorted for the foreseeable. I’d wander aimlessly around the garden with a hand fork pretending I knew what I was doing. I fooled no one, they knew I was only there for the tea and biscuits.

The point is they didn’t seem to mind, in fact I’d go as far as to say they welcomed my not even slightly green fingers with an open tea pot.

Volunteers are treated like the bonus that they are. The Swiss team are always pleased to see us and, without fail, will thank us as we leave. It’s fabulous. I thought that they must all be slightly deranged until I arrived at my first volunteer dinner. Yup, they treat us to dinner too. Crazy huh?

I arrived at the allotted time but couldn’t find any of my gardening chums, I was beginning to think I’d got the wrong day when I spotted amongst the throng a table of six familiar faces. Phew. But who were all these other folks? There were gazillions of people there, none of which I knew.

The mystery persons were all volunteers. Wall to wall volunteers. It transpired that the much of the staff at The Shuttleworth Collection to which my, yes my, garden is attached are volunteers. Pilots, engineers, tour guides, meeters and greeters, gardeners and my good self, who happens to be none of the above, were all volunteers. It was then that I realised why the Swiss team were always so pleased to see us, it’s because we’re blooming marvellous.

The world runs on volunteers. Who knew?

Now I’m not above working for nothing, I used to work for a company that ceased paying overtime. I don’t want to name any names but we posties would still deliver the mail long after our time had run out because we didn’t want to let our customers down but I’d never really considered not getting paid at all until I became bored enough to.

But here’s the thing, volunteers aren’t silly buggers with nothing better to do, oh no, volunteers are wise beyond their years. Volunteers have felt the warm fuzzy glow of appreciation, the kind you don’t always feel when in paid employ and volunteers get to feel good for no other reason than they’ve done a little something for someone just for the joy of doing a little something for someone.

People will volunteer for a variety of reasons, the panic of being home alone long enough to feel the urge to do housework for one. Some volunteer at places connected to their past careers just to keep the old cogs a turning, some to learn something new or to test out a change of career before they jump and some just for the company and conversation. However, the bottom line is we volunteer because we like to feel useful, it feels good does being useful.

We like to feel good and we like tea and biscuits.

Gardening, not art, GARDENING! 

The Youngest had art club, this means picking up The Eldest only to walk in the house then turn around and leave again. The Eldest hates this so, casting aside all his anxieties about being home alone, he decided he’d brave being left for 20 whole minutes. This is his first ever home aloneness, this is huge, HUGE I tell thee. We had a few moments to prepare.

Snacks – check.

Drink – check.

Back door locked – check. 

Dog suddenly allowed up the stairs just for that extra feeling of safety – check. 

The Eldest said his goodbyes and I left. An odder feeling I am yet to feel.

I’d no sooner parked than my phone rang. It was he. Bugger. I gingerly answered fearing something, not sure what, but something. It was something.

“Hiya” say I all casual like yet holding my breath in case he was mid panic attack and I was a mile up the road so could do diddly squat about it “you ok?”

“Yeah. You know the dog?”

“Yes, we’ve met” I breathed big breaths of calm. 

“Well. He started to cough and something wierd came up”

“Oh” this is not good, The Eldest doesn’t do weird bodily excretions “right, just leave it there, close your bedroom door on it and go watch a bit of tele, I’ll not be long”

“Yeah, that’s what I did. You can get it when you come home”

Lovely. I was looking forward to it.

“The dog’s still coughing”

“Is he alive?” I ask.

Wouldn’t that be fecking marvellous? The dog drops dead when only The Eldest is home!

“Yeah, he’s alive”

Bollocks. Next time maybe. 

“Right, shut him in his room and ignore him till he goes away”

“Ok, see you in a bit”

For the love of biscuits! The first time he’s been left and the dog, his protector, was an utter twat. I’d only been gone a few minutes. FFS!

Then, like a breath of fresh loveliness, The Youngest appeared.

“Hello there, did you have a good time at art club?”

“No, it wasn’t art club, it was gardening club”

No it wasn’t. The children that go to gardening club need their wellies, I hadn’t sent her in with her wellies.

“We’re you meant to have your wellies then?”

“Yes and grey clothes”

Oh dear God, she looked bothered. 

“Oh I’m so sorry, what on earth was I thinking? I’m the worlds worst mother!”

“No, you’re not” she didn’t sound convinced. 

“Was it ok? Do you want to do gardening club?”

“Yeah it was ok, it might be fun”

Might be? Poor little sod.

How in hell did I do that? Did I pay for gardening club? Did she say gardening club all those weeks ago but I heard art? Or, did I pay for art club and the school cocked up? 

Not that it matters either way. As half hours go that one was beyond shit. Mumming is hard, being one of my children harder but they rise to the challenge daily and without complaint, they’re fabulous at being mine.