The surgery website says that if you need a doctor’s appointment you should call at 8am in the morning. That’s fine, but at 8am in the morning, I am busy doing what countless other mothers are doing at that time: clearing up last night’s dinner, finding second pair of games socks and mouthguard for rugby match (no mouthguard? Find your brother’s. No that is not gross. I’m certain you won’t suffer any sort of spit related infection), sponging down tunic which has missed the weekend laundry, getting ready for work, applying mascara ineptly in the kitchen mirror (have you ever tried applying mascara without a mirror? Impossible!) while listening to someone read another chapter (Wonder by R Palacio. Brilliant book btw), sewing on name tape (wrong name – I knew I should have ordered more than 72 – but folded over they have the same surname, I figure that will suffice) into waterproof needed for today’s trip to Kew Gardens. I know you get the picture. Therefore, by the time I call the surgery, it is 8.04am (quite an achievement really!), and my call is now number 34 in the queue. Is it worth hanging on to be told there are no appointments left for the day, or the next slot is on any day next month that doesn’t end in a ‘y’, or I should go to A & E if it is an emergency (which it isn’t, obviously), or ring back later and spend another half hour on the phone? Last time I visited the GP, it transpired I had been struck off their register because I hadn’t visited the surgery in over 3 years so I am determined to find a way to see somebody this time! So, hanging on it is….
I believe it is well documented that the possession of a pet in the house provides health benefits, including increased psychological wellbeing and an important factor in stabilising blood pressure levels. First, a routine visit to the vet with the black labrador for annual vaccinations, worming, general maintenance check. A small nodule has been discovered which needs removal as well as treatment for tooth decay (the dog has not been flossing). I’m going to encourage the Things to become vets on the back of the bill. Second, the cat has moved on from the tendency to bring me small rodents, and is now content to chew her way through any wire in the house. Computer cables, phone chargers, sewing machine lead, shoe laces, iron cord. You’d think she’d suffer an electric shock; maybe she enjoys the thrill. Third, there is nobody in the house who would like to clean the fish tank. Except me, of course. Next to putting out the bins, picking up dog mess from the garden, and disposing of rodent guts from bedroom carpets, it’s up there on my list of favourite jobs. Just off to buy some more phone chargers. Blood pressure problems? Not me!
Interesting fact for the day: a recent study concluded that people had a worse impression of a woman if she dropped a tampon out of her handbag as opposed to a different innocuous item, for example a hairbrush or a packet of paracetamol. Even more disturbing, those people would then avoid sitting next to that woman.
What is it in our cultural norms that makes us think, behave and react this way? I don’t have the answers, by the way, just posing the question.
Precious Thing 2. It’s his birthday so generous spirited mummy and daddy decided to purchase a new phone. Well, nice mummy executed that plan, and she has now morphed into VERY MUCH NOT NICE MUMMY. Seriously, walking into a phone shop should come with a warning that the place will suck the very life force from you. I’m going to rebrand it “The Mood Hoover Store”. Whilst waiting for a customer service operative (which customer service training had she attended? I wondered) to give me my ‘options’ (broadly my options were to spend more money, it was just a question of how much more), I had to listen to the manager berating staff face to face in the store, I had to prove who I was by paying 89p on my debit card for it to be refunded immediately (I got tired of asking why this was necessary, nobody could answer me), I had to be passed to another customer service representative – this time assistant manager – to deal with my requests (apparently it is very complicated for an additional phone contract to be added to my contract). Actually I can’t even bore you with the myriad other reasons why I was there for nigh on 2 hours. Yes! Two painful hours of my life I will not get back!! And the worst of it? I return home to discover that my entire bank of contacts and details has been replaced with that of my 15 year old son. I don’t need Millie/Ellie/Lily/Molly/Emily/Tilly’s numbers (so many girls, though. Quite pleased for him but surely he must get them confused?). I want my own friends back (most popular names: Karen, Claire and Sarah). I want to cry and scream, and I know this is a first world problem, I really do, but I wish that we all had the wherewithal to confront these giant telecommunications companies and throw in the towel, and say, be done with you, mobile phone, be banished from my life, I will go back to writing letters and sending smoke signals. No, of course I won’t do that because I don’t like the smell of smoke too much, and I am rather fond of Whatsapp, but there has to be a better way of buying a new phone, doesn’t there? Somebody……??
Games Guru is my nom de plume amongst my nearest and dearest. I love a game, a puzzle, a quiz, a riddle. I love to play them as much as I enjoy making them up. My latest quiz appears in the form of a spelling test, partly because it’s a challenge but also because I am a great advocate of the use of correct spelling and punctuation. I’m one of those people who become quite vexed about signs which say ‘Tomato’s For Sale’. Thing 4 (for whom spellings are not a forte) commented after a recent test: “I don’t see the point in spellings. I mean, if you get them wrong, you just correct them later.” I couldn’t disagree more.
The pharaoh’s chihuahua encountered a bout of diarrhoea.
A psychiatrist referred a physicist to an independent politician.
It was definitely necessary to separate the broccoli from the aubergine on this noticeable occasion.
Please liaise with the relevant government committee regarding this particularly embarrassing occurrence.
The privileged principal acknowledged his consensus regarding independent licences.
The conscientious entrepreneur founded a parallel organisation called ‘Fluorescent Manoeuvres’.
The triptych illustrated a mother in various guises of distress concerning her daughter’s ability to spell incorrectly.
I don’t feel old (although my favourite section of the newspaper has become “25 years ago today”), but I was a little dismayed this week to be invited to a couple of separate events at my local cinema. One was the dementia friendly screening of
The Forgotten Denial (with free tea and biscuits!) and the other was an invitation to to the Silver Surfer’s showing of Jackie. But it’s true, officially I am an old, middle-aged person and I know this because I no longer have any desire to watch the television while lying on the floor. The positive aspect of this getting older malarkey is that I actually derive great enjoyment from drinking wine now, and I am capable of tasting the difference between a Gavi and a Pinot Grigio. Luckily they are both in my fridge.
Thing 1 has a room full of polaroid style photos with snapshots of friends, family, pets, more friends, cousins, parties, selfies. She’s surrounded in that room by people (and animals) who love her. Thing 4 has enough cuddly toys to stock the entire ground floor of Hamleys. Thing 3 has nothing on his wall, though that could be something to do with my previous screeching for the application of sellotape/blu-tack to the paintwork. Thing 2, on the other hand, has a pin board (a mad moment of DIY generosity), see snapshot above, which features only rugby heroes (please don’t ask me to name them). I was wondering if the contrasts had some deeper meaning, about boys and girls and idols and heroes and manifestations of love etc. But then I recalled that as a teenager, I had pin-ups ; George Michael and Princess Diana mostly – but also a few of Boy George about whom I held not entirely positive feelings, but the cool kid in my class (Karen) loved him and so I thought she might like me more if I had a poster of him in my bedroom. Maybe there’s a girl in Thing 2’s class who is passionate about rugby personalities? Remind me to ask him later!
Like many women, I belong to a Book Club. Like many women we’ve discovered it’s a fabulous way to read books, drink wine, eat chocolate and spend an evening every month with the girls. The only thing that troubles me is when it’s my turn to choose the book. High culture, classic, low brow, non-fiction etc? It’s always a worry because you don’t want to let anyone down in the group, you’d like to give them the gift of a truly memorable read. Something that we can churn over, discuss, find inspiration, or just plain enjoy. Luckily an opportunity presented itself yesterday afternoon with a fellow mum while collecting Thing 4 from the playground.
Me: Hi there, how are you? Have you had a productive day?
Lucy: Oh hi! Yes, great day actually. I finished my book.
Me: Oh brilliant, what was it? Any good? I need to come up with a suggestion for Book Club next week.
Lucy (a little bit disdainfully if I’m honest, but maybe I’m being overly sensitive in hindsight): Oh no! I wasn’t reading a book. I was writing my own. It’s an academic publication about the development of working memory in young adults. Do you remember, we spoke about it before Christmas?
Lucky I’m not a young adult isn’t it?
Family trip at the weekend to see the film ‘Lion’. I’d read some critical reviews (it’s a little slow in parts, the music can start to become overpowering, there are some areas where it diverts from the true story) but these points were so minor in my experience. It’s a stunningly powerful film, a formidable tale of familial love – maternal, fraternal and filial. It’s an unimaginable situation for a five year old boy to go missing, but equally horrifying to think about how a loving mother might feel in this situation. The beauty, pain and strength of the story is in the love that is shared between the central characters; love lost, love found and love created. And in the context of being adopted, Thing 4 found a true positive and recognised the privilege of being loved (albeit while feeling hard done by!),
“It’s not fair, Mummy. He had two mums and I’ve only got one.”
Thing 4 was to be collected from Brownies by friendly mother while I was at Parents’ Evening for Thing 3 (“easily distracted”). During conversation with English teacher, I can feel handbag vibrating ceaselessly. Short 3 minutes chat (yes, we will read more/anything/everything/audible books even, magazines, First News – for sure!) which must please tutor as he has a queue snaking round the corner of the room.
Yes, it’s Brown Owl who has left 450 messages because on top of her many hours of voluntary service to the Girlguiding Association she now has to take her own children to gymnastics competition (obviously it’s the Inner South East London U9 floor and vault official quarter finals) but of course, it’s no trouble for Thing 4 to tag alongside, would she like dinner too?
Learning Outcome 1: must spend dedicated time finding more reliable parents in the Brownies playground. Learning Outcome 2: attend fewer Parents’ Evenings? Learning Outcome 3: realisation of pure unbridled relief at ignorance/involvement with gymnastic club. Learning Outcome 4: volunteers in this world should have a medal, though they would likely gift it to someone else in the spirit of generosity and selflessness.