Monday, 21 April 2014

MOTY

We 'popped' to the pub for lunch today.  Always a danger, particularly on a Bank Holiday. Luckily I was driving and giving my body a bit of a break after the bashing of the last few weeks/months/years/ever.

The sun shone and the bouncy castle was up and we all had a lovely time.  I was gently yet smugly telling my kids off every five minutes for getting slightly too near another kid on the bouncy castle, totally in the knowledge that they were being fabulous and it was completely for show to ensure that everyone could see what a good parent I was.

Let's fast-forward five hours then.  Car is dumped.  The sausage and chips that Sebi had for lunch without any veg which was going to be made up with a veg-filled dinner later has been trumped by a pasty out of a paper bag for tea.  Haven't looked at the kids for about an hour whilst there are squeals of delight (or maybe pain) from the bouncy castle.  My parents randomly appear to see their barefooted, ragged-short-wearing grandchildren bounding across a pub garden and mainly I have fallen off the wagon, once-a-bloody-gain and the feral offspring are revelling in the result.

All are now clean and in bed.  Nobody died and scurvy can be warded off with return-to-school-boot-camp-normality tomorrow.

It just makes me laugh at myself.  We went on holiday when Zak was four months old and we were the only family in the complex that were barricaded in our room by 7pm with the baby in bed and us taking it in turns to do a run to the bar and back.  Every time I came back with my round I gave 'poor' Stu a lecture on all the irresponsible parenting I had seen when I was out and about.  As far as I was concerned it was bordering child-abuse having these poor, innocent children up and having a fabulous time running about after their bedtime.  Who did these people think they were?

Last day of the holiday, we got completely twatted and Zak (eventually) fell asleep in his buggy, underneath a very loud speaker, whilst his parents danced the night away till 2am...

The thing I am so proud of about my own personality is that I absolutely and totally stick to my convictions.  That is, until I absolutely and totally don't anymore...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Like a Prayer

I've just fallen off my chocolate lent waggon, ten days early, and eaten an entire box of chocolates.  I don't do things by halves. I've just cleaned my oven for the first time in 18 months as penance but I'm not sure that it a clean oven will be enough to get me through the pearly gates when my time comes...

Zak is reading the Bible at the moment, in its entirety.  It is a Children's Bible but nonetheless I'm impressed by his dedication.  His only view so far is that there isn't enough Jesus in it considering it is meant to be all about him.  I've promised Zak that the second half makes Jesus Christ a Superstar.  He was given this Bible by a local vicar during an assembly at school; all of Year 2 were.  I'm delighted that he is taking it so seriously and taking such an interest, but I do find it odd that a non-faith school comes down so heavily with a Christian philosophy.  I don't mind at all.  In fact, I think it is a very good thing.  I know however of one parent that was really angry about it and I am surprised that the school haven't come across strong views before.

Zak decided to take his Bible to discuss with Granny as she was 'the most proper Christian' in the immediate family.  I think Granny dealt with her interrogation with great fortitude.  Many weaker women would have buckled under Zachary's pointed finger and beady eye questioning the strength of her beliefs.

We were lost momentarily in Brighton this morning and Zak suddenly we suggested that we should pray.  I told him that I would probably be able to sort it out on my own if I just had a moment to look at the map.  Whilst I was looking at the map Zak told me it would be much quicker to ask God directly as he had made Brighton and therefore could just point us in the right direction immediately.  At which point Sebi declared that Zak obviously didn't know what he was talking about as God was most definitely a 'She'.  Amazing.  The theological philosophising stopped dead at that moment, as I had nowhere to go on a feminist deity discussion with four-year old and Zak seemed to lose interest in God the minute he thought God could be more interested in dolls than footballs.

We managed to navigate our way, unaided, through the holy streets of Brighton.  I would like to think that God has a sense of humour and enjoyed the meanderings of the Ward children so much that He/She looks indulgently this evening on their tired mother and her fat stomach full of illegal chocolates.

Amen.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Ain't Nothin' but a House Party

Last night we partied like it was 1999.

I have found a new, favourite way to celebrate my birthday over the last couple of years that involves a load of champagne, a mixture of loud-mouthed birds and an 80's soundtrack in my kitchen.  It works, I love it, and I'm not going to fuck with it for a few years - I had the time of my life.

The normal thing happened; I was just looking around about an hour in, thinking that it was lovely, everyone was getting on so well, but people really weren't drunk enough and then BOOM!  Suddenly, everybody is totally and completely shitfaced, dancing on tables, non-smokers are smoking, new bezzies are bonding over lesbian-experience stories and comparative labia sizes and all hell has well and truly broken loose.  Amazing.

Kath told me as she arrived that she was sorry she wasn't going to be able to stay all evening as her boyfriend was leaving for Qatar at 5am this morning for a month and she needed to spend some time with him before he left.  I joked that that was a dangerous thing to say as it was tempting fate for her to be the last one out the door.  She jointly was the last one out of the door at 2.30am and he left without seeing her this morning.  Oops.

Will things ever change?  I think I party as hard in 2014 as I did twenty years ago.  The only difference is that I drink more expensive alcohol and tend to end up in bed with the same person at the end of the night these days.

Last night was relatively wild for people who are hurtling towards 40.  Stuart re-entered his hareem at about 11pm and said that he could hear us from the end of the road.  We are mainly avoiding the neighbours today...  He thought it would be funny to prank call the house and pretend to be the police.  He did, four times, and nobody answered the phone as we didn't hear it.

I love throwing a real mixture of people together and seeing what happens.  It hasn't failed yet but I wonder when the day will come that people decide they really are too civilised to cope with the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll of Chez Ward.  Maybe we will come to the same realisation at some point too and enter my parents' world of lunchtime drinks parties instead.  I used to think that this would all end in my thirties but I'm beginning to think that that could be a little too close for comfort.  I had three different cards with the same message on: "Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional."  Somebody is trying to tell me something I think.  I was told last night that maybe I needed to rein it in a bit when I went back to Beaumont in September but they soon realised it was unnecessary as I pointed out my boss swigging a glass of champers over the other side of the kitchen. Happy, happy days.  Thank you, you fabulous bunch. xxxx


Sunday, 30 March 2014

London Calling

I used to spend majority of my life in London in my twenties.  I would head up to work on the 7.42, go straight out for dinner after work and spend most of my nights whiling the time away in some cocktail bar or other.  I would roll home, (occasionally via Bedford), for a few hours sleep before repeating the process.

The thought of commuting now makes my blood run rather chilly and I am definitely out of touch with the London 'scene'.

Yesterday however, I found myself London bound for Lynsey-Lou's belated 40th celebration.  My Uni girls are some of the most glamorous of my friends (no offence meant to anybody else!).  I therefore togged myself up in the compulsory LBD and high heels and headed off.  I'm not self-conscious by nature but being dolled up to the nines at 3pm at St. Albans station, I did feel a little out of place.  The fast train was changed from platform 1 to platform 3 and back again which meant my feet hurt before I'd even got out of the Shire.  No matter, tis the price one pays for glamour.  I comforted myself with the thought that Clare wore her 5 inch Louboutins to work without complaining every day so I could therefore manage one day of blisters.  Clare told me when I arrived, limping, to the hotel, that apparently nobody in London actually wears their high heels to travel around in and that I should've teamed my frock with a pair of trainers for the tube.  I'm so officially outmoded these days.  I also hadn't accounted for the wind tunnels you get in the tube which gave me a little bit of a Marilyn Monroe situation with my short floaty dress.  It did bother me that both my old muckers immediately asked if I was wearing underwear during this occurrence.  How badly behaved was I at Uni?  I have absolutely no idea as the three years have just amalgamated into one long alcoholic-fug.

Somehow, with a four-year-old and a three-month-old baby, Clare still has her finger firmly on the pulse of where are THE places one has to be seen in London.  As the weather was so nice, we ended up on the terrace of 'Aqua', overlooking Regent Street. We did what we normally do on a night out and the four of us put £20 each into a kitty. We then decided we would drink the cheapest bottle of champagne...which was £72 on the menu.  When we ordered it (at the bar, after a 10 minute wait), we were charged £81.56. Apparently there was a £9.56 service charge for us hanging around at the bar to be served...  It was the shortest-lived kitty that immediately went into negative equity.  Owch.

We were therefore truly over-excited when we got to the next bar and the champagne was 'cheap' at £55 a bottle.  Woo-hoo!  Clare was saying that she didn't even think about the prices of things these days as she was so used to London living.  I was thinking that I had no idea how I used to afford to drink in town every night of the week.  Although it was in the days before kids sucked you dry of every last penny. ;-)

Lynsey had bought me an early birthday present for my oh-so-important 37th birthday next week.  I was lacking in present for her belated 40th however.  We probably could have glossed over the fact if I then hadn't left her kind present and card in the bar when I left!  Yikes!  How ungrateful can you get?  When I texted to confess she said she would buy me champagne next year and then I could enjoy it and neck it before I left.  She definitely knows the way to my heart.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Hanging on the Telephone

My phone is broken.  The nice man in the phone shop said that it wasn't me dropping it into a pint of water, pissed, but that it was a software fail that would have happened anyway.  I think he might have just been being nice.

I don't use my phone very much to speak to people.  Shelley answers the phone to me with the line: "Who's died?"  I've told her that she really needs to stop doing that as she is going to feel awful when I phone one day and give an affirmative answer.  Sam refuses to believe that I don't talk on the phone and so phones me for an hour or so three times a week anyway.  I've stopped hanging up on her so I obviously am less phone-phobic than I used to be.  She'll give up smoking soon enough and then will have to go cold turkey on the phone calls as talking on the phone makes her smoke, or smoking makes her talk on the phone; one of those I'm sure. ;-)

I'm trying to figure out while I feel like I'm missing a limb as I don't have my phone for four days?  I may not speak very much but I'm an avid texter and since finally succumbing to a smart phone I like always having my email and Facebook to hand too.  I met some friends at the station last night and I was the first one there (no surprise).  When Hanh arrived and I told her my phone was broken she said "but what have you been doing then?"

I kept reminding my friends not to lose me last night as we exited a very busy Leicester Square station as sans phone I would never find them again.  It occurred to me that I spent many a busy day and night as a teenager in London with no phone and I survived and didn't lose people. My soon-to-be Deputy Head commented dryly that if I did get lost last night I would sit and scream at the top of my voice until I was found again.  It's good that my future employers view me as such a professional...

As I'm writing this, I'm waiting for my husband to arrive home from the 1.30pm football match.  It's probably a good job that I don't have my phone on me at this point.  I'm not feeling abusive as yet but I may well be within a couple of hours.  I'm still looking forward to the first time I meet his boss after he messaged me telling me that he had Stuart's phone a few months ago - in reply to a message in which I had called Stuart a cunt for being so late.  First impressions are so important...

So don't call me, I'll call you.  Except I won't.  Well, not for a few days anyway.  Maybe not even after that.  At least you can rest easy at the moment knowing it's not that I don't want to speak to you.  I'd love to.  Just can't. x

Friday, 14 March 2014

'Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.' Winston Churchill

I went to see my Nana a couple of days ago.  Whilst we were chatting, it came out that she thought I still had a cleaner and I told her that I didn't anymore and I did my cleaning myself.  Cue Nana grabbing my hands and saying: "Darling, I'm so proud of you."

Really?  Each to their own but I reckon I'm achieving quite a lot at the moment academically and career-wise, yet, her delight in me is that I don't let someone else clean my bogs.

It got me thinking about the things you see as the best in other people, and of course, no shock to anyone, what did different people think was most fabulous about me?  Zak, I reckon would say the best thing about me was my cooking.  However, Zak would say the best thing about most people were what they cooked for him, unless any of those people were holding an Ipad...

Anything could come out of Sebi's mouth if he was asked the same question.  He might say something heartwarming like "being my Mummy", although he could equally say that my strongest quality was being good at Guess Who? so he is not necessarily to be trusted.  We were talking earlier about our appearance and I was saying that we looked alike.  Apparently not, according to my Mini-Me.  He says that I have a bigger nose, more rings through my ears and am not as nice-looking as he is.  Irritatingly, he is right on all counts.

I think I look for the humour in other people.  All the people I am closest to are blindingly hilarious.  I cannot imagine life with laughter in it, I try to ensure I'm laughing every hour, not every day.  I was talking to Sam the other day about how I loved being on my own in the house if the kids are ever away and she asked if I laughed out loud at my own jokes whilst alone.  Of course I bloody do!

We had a Mums' night in last night and as are my favourite kind of evenings we were trying to shock each other with our most controversial stories.  I won, hands down, of course.  Poor Stu innocently tried to make conversation at the school gate this morning but apparently one of the Mums couldn't quite look him in the face...

Luckily, I don't share those sorts of stories with Nana.  She is going strong and getting healthier at 100.  Mum, Dad and I had a sobering discussion the other day about the oldest person in the world who has just turned 116.  I'm not putting it past her.  If both my parents are still alive when she turns 116, they will be 90.  I think I may need to emigrate with that number of seriously aged relatives on my hands.  Dad won't be much trouble though.  He wants to be put in Tara's Retreat which is an old people's home in Sandridge and wheeled to and from the pub every day.  That I can manage I reckon.  Particularly if he keeps me in champagne for a few more years before then.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Happy Days

I just asked Sebi, whilst he was in the bath, if he had had a good day today?  I was relatively confident as it had included lunch at Granny's, two hours of stage school, dinner in a curry house and sunshine - what's not to like?

"Of course Mummy", he replied, "every day is a good day."

I suppose it is when you are four.  When do we lose that?  Maybe teenage angst stops the continuous flow of happy day into happy day or perhaps it hits as an adult when the weight of responsibility bears down.

Having said that, I am sure that much of it is a state of mind.  I came out of Trestle feeling slightly flat for the first time today since I have started the course.  I wasn't particularly hungover (!) and it was nothing to do with the quality of the material, which was, as ever, excellent.  I just didn't feel that I had excelled today or performed to the best of my ability, which doesn't sit comfortably with me.

I spoke to Sam and to Stu within half an hour of leaving and their replies were pretty much identical.  Something along the lines of: "it isn't like you not to think you're amazing." S'true I'm afraid.  I'm nothing if not an egotistical bastard.  In fact, by the end of the conversation with Sam when she asked me if I was going off to mope, I said, "what about?"

I tend to come up smelling of roses, (although today the aroma is definitely more sweat and curry).  It got me thinking about the attitude of those closest to me.  I don't tend to surround myself with miserable motherfuckers.  Life's too short.  I know that some people have been dealt a harsher hand than others and everyone has their off days, but my nearest and dearest tend to find their glasses half full rather than half empty, (metaphorically people, not just with wine!).

Having said all that, Stu has a cold this weekend and the fact that he is having to single-parent through this 'illness' is not sitting prettily with him.  Poor Stu.

I'd like to think that at 40 both of our boys will still be optimists.  It is an invaluable skill to nurture.  On that note, I'm going to bounce back into University tomorrow and be utterly fabulous and I am sure, distinctly annoying.