Sunday, 31 July 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Why I can never be famous

There isn't a day goes by that I don't at some point believe I could rule the world. It usually lasts for a few seconds, then I'm back to self-doubting normality, but it happens.

These moments of madness and ridiculous self-belief usually happen while watching TV. Watching The Apprentice I know I could come up with better slogans, or craft a decent TV ad. Watching Big Brother I think I'd be a better housemate, less bitchy. And as for Parliament, well I've worked in local government long enough, surely I'd make a much better MP than that lot? Don't tell me you haven't thought the same.

But I can never, ever, be famous. And the reason for that is written on the front of a birthday card sent to me by one of my closest friends ........

You see? I've simply had too many nights out. And I probably couldn't tell you what happened on most of them. I may have been the model of propriety, well-behaved, lady-like, staying on two feet for the whole time. But judging by the bruises, vomiting and strange flash-backs I usually experienced the next day – I very much doubt it. I'm by no means a wild child, but as many of my girl friends will testify, during my teens and twenties, I probably behaved in a way I'd rather my parents and children didn't see.

And being famous means that every ounce of your past is dragged up and commented on. People see you on the TV and come crawling out of the woodwork to sell their story, not all true, and grab their moment of glory. I've never been arrested and I've never caused anyone serious harm (apart from falling down a big hole and landing on Nicola Roberts). But I have vomited in people's cars, got thrown out of the odd club and humiliated myself in front of the occasional celebrity. And like every one of you reading this post, I've been pretty embarrassing and there's probably photographic evidence to prove it.

So I've dropped the big ideas. I definitely wont be appearing on a TV near you any time soon. I'm sticking with my public sector job, relative obscurity and my cottage near the woods. And I think you should too, cos if I'm ever short of cash and see you on the TV........

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pictures calm me

No comedy in today's post, just pictures. I don't know about you, but looking at certain photographs can make me feel at peace.

Pictures calm me. They either evoke memories or take me to a peaceful place, away from the noise and craziness of life.

Some of my favourites are here and I hope you can see, and feel, what I mean. Enjoy.

The view from my sofa (my favourite place to feed Eve)

View from our room, Lamu, Kenya

Christingle 2010

Eve discovering mouse June 2011

Daddy and his daughter, sleeping. 5 days old.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Oh Shit! It's a girl!

"I'm having another baby and I'd just love it to be a boy!" I said.

I am already the proud owner of one well-balanced, non-climbing, sweet, attentive and 100% in-love-with-his-mummy boy. So for my second child, I'd like another please. Oh it's for practical reasons (I convinced myself). They'll be great friends and I won't have to buy new clothes and toys. A boy it is then. Sorted.

I didn't want to admit I was scared. That a girl would challenge my place as number one princess in this house of men. That she would question me, manipulate me, and worst of all, be much better dressed than me.

I'm a tomboy you see, a real Daddy's girl, much more at home drinking beer and watching sport than I am painting nails and decorating bedrooms. What could I possibly have to offer a girl? I can't teach her about fashion or wearing pink. I'd only embarrass her in front of her friends. She'd probably disown me as soon as she could talk.

And then I had one. Shit, it's a girl (and I said it aloud, to my husband and the midwife). But we haven't even got a name, I thought. And then I started to really think about it. A girl. What do I want her to be?

And I realised I wasn't scared, I was excited. I will bring her up to be brave. She'll be passionate, strong-willed, have a zest for life. I'll teach her to not to judge, treat everyone the same and never ever be bettered by men. This is my big chance, not just to be a supportive mum but also a great friend.

I'm still afraid of how she'll turn out and if she'll love me forever. I'm not afraid to admit that I still feel threatened by her very existence and I doubt I'm alone – am I?

But I'm happier than I've ever been. I'm addicted to her clothes and have embraced pink. I shower her with kisses. I even rented Beauty and the Beast. Because of all the Disney princesses, I want her to be Belle.

And I named her Eve, because she's my first lady.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Straight talking with my Nan

This week's gallery theme on the sticky fingers blog is 'grandparents'. So this got me thinking about mine - well, one in particular. Peggy Patch.

Peggy Patch is my maternal Grandmother. She's been known to me as Nan for most of my life, but the older she gets, the more nicknames we give her.

I love this photograph, taken with my husband before our wedding. At this point she was still sober, but determined to enjoy herself, despite the absence of my Grandad who'd died some years before. And enjoy herself she did, giggling all the way through the speeches like a naughtly schoolgirl, drunk on champagne.

There are many things that I love about my Nan, mostly her sense of humour and her love of life. She did everything a grandparent should do - which is basically everything your parents wouldn't. She put sugar in my tea and butter on my toast. She bought 99's from the ice-cream van and didn't tell Grandad we were drinking pints. She says 'fanny' and doesn't care if the kids wreck her house. And on a night out, she believes in having a good time and is always the last one to leave.

When my Grandad died, she crumbled. It was like her world had ended. For two years I shared the responsibility of staying with her, to help her get used to life alone. But I enjoyed it so much I ended up almost moving in. She didn't bat an eyelid when I returned home from clubs at 8am the next morning. She'd bring me water and empty the bucket when a night on the tiles left me throwing up for hours on end. She gave up her house so my friends could all stay. We would stay up late, drunk and laughing, unable to get to sleep. But best of all, she welcomed my husband-to-be into her home, giving up her bed so we could stay together - and then lied to my mum!

And now my 3 year old loves her too. He laughs whenever he sees her and she's just as naughty with him as she was with me. So when I saw the gallery post for this week was grandparents, I had to take this opportunity to honour my Nan. Margaret 'Peggy' Soden (nee Jones). One in a million and the funniest person I know.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Losing sleep over burglaries

This week's news agenda is making me lose sleep. I wouldn’t say I spend my days worrying about being burgled, but there's nothing worse than the fear you feel when you are woken in the early hours by a strange noise.

So add a spate of burglaries in our local area, to the ongoing discussion about the law for defending your property and you can guess what the pillow talk in my house was this week.

I started the conversation, interested to know what I should do if a burglar comes in the night and my husband isn't here. 1. Is it best to disturb them, cos usually they'll run away? Or 2. is it best to ring the police and hide in a cupboard as the burglar rummages through your house, waiting for the police to get to you.

I'd go for option 1. I reckon a mad mother-of-two, coming at you like a screaming banshee, wearing flannel pyjamas - and no bra - would scare anyone off. Husband disagrees, he thinks I should get the phone and hide in a cupboard. “You don't want to put yourself in danger” he says.

Ok – so what would he do? Oh he's very clear about that. He thinks he would go for anyone who came anywhere near his wife, his children and his property. He would reach for the nearest large implement and if attacked, hit them with it hard. It seems his protective instinct since becoming a father is stronger than I realised (and I quite like it).

So the discussion moves on to defence of choice. I'm ruling out kitchen knife, I can't even slice an apple without taking the top of my finger off. I opt for pick axe. He says it's too heavy, it would be stuck hanging in mid air as I struggle to get enough swing on it. Golf club? Too long, I'd probably catch it on something, taking out a light fitting or picking up a few toys along the way. I don't own a baseball bat (it's times like this I wish I was American.) Cricket bat it is then! If only we had one......

Anyway, I've decided that if I'm attacked, I'm reaching for a bedroom lamp, or a plant pot. Something that's likely to be nearby and not require a stealth operation to get from room to room without being seen. I've also added the neighbour's number into my phone, a lot nearer than the police and he looks like the type of man whose 'protective instinct' would kick in too.

So when you get in bed tonight and fancy some pillow talk, I think this is a conversation you need to have. Go on. And let me know what you come up with.

Don't have nightmares.