I’ve never been to prison.

I have known some interesting folk, I do still know some interesting folk, I’ve been very lucky in the amount of interesting folk I have known or now know. Look, here’s a list of the interesting things the interesting folk have done or are doing or have been or are.

Folk have been in the R.A.F.

Cooked for the Queen and the Red Arrows. (not at the same time)

Learnt to fly a plane.

Been in a band.

Travelled. (properly travelled, the left their jobs and buggered orf kind of travelled)

Been a P.A. to a famous person.

Started a business or two.

Been kicked out of a country. (I’m pretty sure they’re not wanted or anything)

Went to boarding school.

Been expelled from every school.

Retrained as something else.

Are arty.

Written a book.

Written a song.

Is travelling all over the world as a sound man for bands. Boy does he get about!

Is travelling all over the world with a very fast car in a very big truck to go racing other very fast cars.

Have emigrated.

Have moved to the coast. (no, I’m not jealous, I’m not, honest, oh bugger off!)

Been holiday reps. (I’ll wager they have a story or two to tell!)

Been on the tele.

Built film sets for Batman and Bond or

Been in prison.

I, however, have done none of the above yet, for reasons I cannot fathom, I have started a blog. I shall blog about my life, the life I have spent mostly within a five mile radius, the life I’ve spent not doing anything of note yet I shall note it. Why? Because starting this blog is the most daring I’ve ever been, the most daring I probably ever will be and because The Eldest thinks it’s

“Brilliant”

My children believe me to be far more interesting than all the interesting folk in the whole wide world, they think this because they are 9 and 4. One day they will discover the truth. Till then shhh, keep it between you, me and the gatepost while I make up a story about how I was once a pirate. I shall tell them how I navigated my ship, The Gutless, through stormy seas, how only I know the location of the treasure and all about the fearsome dragon, named Bob, who guards it at the top of Please Don’t Make Me Climb It Mountain. I shall be interesting, to them, if only for a short while, rather like Father Christmas only without the beard. Oh, no, I shall be just like Father Christmas.

 

(edited as I had forgotten someone, thankfully they were kind enough to point out this boo boo and quite right too, there’s little point in being interesting and not shouting it from the rooftops, I think, I wouldn’t know)

 

 

“Well, I’ll give it a go”

Six hours in to her first year at school The Youngest had made an impression. Teacher asked to speak to me.

“There may be something wrong up here” said teacher tapping the area where her brain should have been, the brain that would have alerted her, that would have stopped her tapping her head when talking to a parent about their child, especially this parent. I freaked.

In her defence I had sewn the seed because I knew that something wasn’t quite right. I had asked my daughter’s nursery teachers and had been assured that all was well but I knew all was not well. One nursery teacher said that they’d understood The Youngest better once they had got the hang of me. I took this as a compliment mainly because I did not know what to do with that information. Apparently it had something to do with my sense of humour and the fact that I let my children have a carrot at breakfast. It seems that this teaches them that it’s ok to have a carrot at breakfast and this may be why The Youngest was growing up with some right funny ideas. To be honest it wasn’t the funny ideas that bothered me and I still don’t see what’s wrong with a carrot at breakfast.

Funnily enough, the very morning of my freaking, I had been to see a friend for a cup of tea. I had said, to my friend, that the school wouldn’t be doing their job properly if I wasn’t, at some point, taken to one side. I hadn’t for one second thought it would be so soon. Six hours, boy the school were on the ball!

The Youngest couldn’t answer a question. At first any question she was asked received a resounding “Yes” but, as new words were discovered, her answers became so much more interesting and puzzlingly fabulous. We had to fill in a form before she started nursery, I’d started to do this for her but decided that was very wrong of me so I asked her some of the questions.

What is your favourite food? “Erm . . . blue”

What would you like to be when you are older? “Aaron”

What do you enjoy doing most? “Yes”

Fast forward to school, more new words.

“What did you do at school today?”

“There were a dragon and the ladies handbag flied off to the chair but the boy hadn’t got his coat so cheese”

Ok.

Random words joined together to make the most marvellous of sentences. The Youngest knew lots of lovely words but had no idea what any of them meant. I’m pleased to report that this small matter didn’t stop her saying them, all of them, all of the time. The school have a speech therapist and thought it would be beneficial for all concerned if they met.

I love the speech therapist, she is simply wonderful. One tea time the phone rang and it were she, she rang for a chat and did exactly that long enough for me to burn our dinner, I didn’t mind though because she was telling me how wonderful my wee lass is, well I think that’s what she was saying.

“She is absolutely fascinating, I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never met anyone like her. I cannot wait to see her again” the nice speech lady gushed.

It was suggested that we had her hearing tested. I knew her hearing was fine but we went, it was fine, then we had nuggets and chips for lunch. It was a trip out, we made the best of it.

Anyhoo. We’re now six months in and the change has been remarkable. The Youngest still sees the speech therapist and has some one to one sessions with another marvellous lady at school, the time and effort the school has afforded my little pumpkin shows in every conversation we can now have. I emailed the speech therapist.

“Is it wrong of me to miss the randomness?”

I was assured that I would still get some bonkers responses. I replied that I hoped so.

We were in the garden this weekend, I was trying my hand at a little topiary but only ended up cutting a hole inside a bush as a den. I suggested to The Youngest that she get a chair so she could make the den a home, she thought that was a grand idea, she followed it with one of her own.

“I know, I’ve got an idea”

She stood up to add some ceremony to the occasion.

“You pretend to be my mum”

THERE SHE IS. MY LITTLE DOUGHNUT IS STILL IN THERE. YAY!

I coughed to disguise my giggling.

“Well, I’ll give it a go” said I and I meant it.

 

Time Well Spent

I recently bumped into a 17 year old boy, as one does on occasion however hard one tries not to. This particular 17 year old boy happened to be the first born of one of my longest, but very rarely seen, friends. This particular 17 year old was also the first baby I attempted to pop a coat on, it was terrifying, my friend told me I couldn’t break him but I wasn’t so sure, he looked very breakable. Of course I told him this when we met.

“You were the first baby I dressed”

He looked perplexed, he’d only popped round to see his mate, who happens to be my nephew, he was not expecting some weirdo to start telling him he was a scarily stiff baby.

“I’m so sorry, do I know you?”

Polite, she’s done good I thought. I decided to text her as she does know me.

“Did you know your son is 17?”

It turns out that she had noticed as much. It must have come as such a shock.

But not as much as a shock as my finding out that my nephew is 18. He was 3 last year, I know this because he helped us move in to our first house, I can still see him leant up against a cardboard box that was bigger than him. Then, only last week I’m sure, he came for a sleepover, uninvited I might add, I didn’t know what to do with a small person back then but this didn’t deter him, he wanted to stay over so he did. He kept me up all night making camps next to our bed and in the morning we gave him diet coke and cookies for breakfast because we were childless and knew no better. As I said he’s 18 and a million feet tall so it did him no harm, there’s no need to call the authorities.

On Tuesday we went to see him on his birthday. He seemed taller than ever. The house was full of folk, family and friends turning up to wish him well and to eat his cake whilst he snuck off to fiddle with his Mini engine. Not a euphemism, he is building a car. He has a job, a real one, not like the jobs I had, one that could take him places, I mean really take him places, he travels all over the world even though he was only a tiny person last week. I couldn’t be prouder. Actually that’s not entirely true. One day, again only last week I’m sure, when he was still small, he stood in our kitchen.

“Tina, watch how many times I can jump”

I can’t remember now how many but it was a lot.

Which has thrown me more you are wondering, or not. Meeting that terrifying baby after all that time or getting an invite to the pub from the kid that once told his mum he couldn’t give his auntie a kiss because he’d run out?

Well I shall tell you. Neither.

Having found myself in a room with five of my nephew’s friends, just me in a room full of teenagers, I realised that I’m getting on a bit. I’ve worked it out, when mine are teenagers I’ll be in my 50s. I’ll not know any of their lingo, I’ll probably not like any of the music or films or food or clothes so what in the name of biscuits will we have to talk about?

I freaked a little. It’s all happening way too fast for my liking, in mere moments my kids will stop being kids, they will have jobs and friends who drive round to see them in their own cars. They will have lives of their very own to do with as they chose, lives that will run along side mine rather than with. Shit. Shit. Bugger. What will I have in common with these massive humans? These massive humans that I only get to borrow for a short while.

Well I’ve thunked upon this and, whilst mucking about in the garden today, it hit me, it’s everything. Every day out, every picnic, every Christmas, every holiday, every weekend and every evening meal. Every run around the garden, every game of hide and seek, every tumble or trip to the doctors, every cuddle and every kiss goodnight. I could go on but every is beginning to look wrongly spelt.

We will have time in common. Time well spent.

Every Cloud And All That

I usually take my mum to the hairdressers. I drop her off then go for a wander around town for a bit, take in some fresh air and then hit up a café for a hot chocolate. On this particular occasion I couldn’t and I’m glad because had I have been about the events that followed might not have.

My dad kicked her out in town, she was a little early so she wandered for a bit. It was then that she met Mr Fossett, the chap from Secret Life Of The Family, and his camel.

Mum used to go camel racing, well camel race watching, when she lived in Aden, she knows a camel when she sees one, she’s bright like that. Anyhoo, over she wanders and it is here she meets a drunk man who tells her that the camel looks as though he’s going to spit. One should always listen to the drunk, drink brings truth, mum wanders away again and heads off to get posh hair.

Now, our hairdresser is a genius, usually, but today was not her day. There was something adrift, mum couldn’t put her finger on it and probably shouldn’t have as it was a funny colour.

“It’s rather light” said the perplexed hairdresser in a tone that hinted at oh bugger.

Now my mum isn’t one to fuss about her hair, I once watched her cut off a foot of hair without so much as a mirror to see what the heck she was doing, just for giggles. This is a woman who has dyed her own hair for years and has, when the need arose, left a hairdressers and gone straight to the nearest chemist for a hair dye. Hair is not her top priority. But. This time it was bad enough for her to say

“I’m sorry but I don’t like it”

I didn’t get to see it but it must have been blooming awful for mum to get that cross. They started again and all turned out marvellously, phew. Meanwhile my dad had been sat in a car park awaiting the arrival of his gorgeous posh haired wife. It was 8pm by the time mum escaped her four hour ordeal and they were both starving. A drive through burger was in order.

They thought it was odd that they had trouble parking at that time of night but, near to starvation, they found a gap and parked up. After a few minutes it dawned on my 65 year old dad.

“I think we’re in a meet?”

“A meat what?” asked my mum as she tipped her burger up towards the light.

“No, a meet, where they come to meet”

“Who comes to meet?”

They, my parents, were sat in the glow of thirty or so sets of headlights. They now noticed the music blaring and the surprisingly shiny alloys on their fellow car park inhabitants cars.

“There we were surrounded by kids showing off their suped up cars, their lights shining onto our burgers but it was ok, at least I had posh hair”

By Any Other Name

“You should blog” they said.

“It’ll be fun” they said.

To be fair nobody said it would be fun, I came up with that daft idea all on my onesie. I wasn’t even sure what a blog was or what blogging entailed. Who can blog? Does one have to have some sort of training? Does one remain clothed throughout? What is the meaning of life? Why blog? I’m still not entirely sure but I’ll get the hang of it. I will . . . . I think. Maybe. Or not.

Anyhoo, for a while I would simply smile, nod, say it was a splendid idea then wander on my merry way and forget all about it. Then I met Mavis.

Mavis told me she was coming round to my house to set me up. Being a trusting soul I decided that she wasn’t about to steal the family silver or hide her drugs in my knicker drawer. I trusted that she was to set me up on here. Mavis told me she’d be round in a week and all I had to do was think of a name. Easy peasy.

Ha! What did I know?

I left it for a few days, no rush I thought. Then one day, whist the children were ignoring me, I went for a look see. I Googled blogging. Never Google anything. I know this so why? Why did I look? There are web sites on websites dedicated to blogging. There are websites that help you choose a name for your blog and there are blogs. There are many many blogs.

A little wee came out. What had I signed myself up for?

Right a name. What should I name my blog?

The rather too helpful website told me the name should give some sort of clue as to what I would be writing about. Great, I didn’t/don’t know what I’m going to write about so something mum-ish I suppose. No problem. Except it was a problem. Every name I thought of some brighter spark had already come up with. I had a friend on the case and she fared no better than I.

Mother Lode – gone.

Momfoolery – gone.

To name but two. There were scraps of paper everywhere with stuff, random words and a doodle here and there. I’d drawn the mother of all blanks.

Oooh, The Mother Of All Blanks . . . . . . . . . Nah, that sounded as though I wasn’t overly keen on my kids.

Each time a child walked past me I’d ask

“Quick, one word to describe your mum, go . .”

“Fat” said The Eldest. Hmm? I’ll see him later about that.

The Youngest was far less helpful.

“Well, sometimes I run and there were castles and peoples everywhere”

Great. Thanks.

One Friday night I was up till 3am, not partaying as one would hope, no, thinking up names. I didn’t even name my children, how would I name a blog?

Then, on the Sunday morning, The Youngest was sat on my knee amongst more sheets of paper with more stuff, more words and more doodles.

“Can I draw you a picture?”

I handed over my pencil, I’d lost the will to live by now anyway. I’d not wanted to blooming blog in the first place. Blogging could blog off for all I gave a blog. I sulked while The Youngest drew something. I needed an explanation, luckily she gave one saving me the embarrassment of having to ask when it was quite clearly obvious.

“It’s a sock”

“I knew that” said I unconvincingly.

“I know, I’ll make it a bath and some spinning things”

One Sock In A Bath. That’ll do.

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