Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Brilliant Bank holidays

Bank holidays! Half term! Brilliant!

You know I love the holidays, the chance to wind down and for the children to play. P left her book bag at school last week, I'm half thinking on purpose, so she doesn't have to do any reading or homework. All this forced reading everyday is putting her off entirely - imagine a world without books and stories - so we will break from the 'Chip and Kipper' saga for a while, and concentrate on nothing in particular.

Monday was glorious. Sunshine pouring through the window at dawn, waking the kids at a godearthly hour and enticing us out from the duvet. And what better way to spend a day in the warmth but floating down a river, being rowed very gently with nothing around but bird song, riverside wildlife and the giggles of children.

We just loved messing about in boats.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Don't do ill

A woke up with some tears and a tummy ache this morning, I suggested she should sit on the loo, do a poo and see if that made it better. It did a bit. I gave her some probiotic yoghurt and claimed 'She'd be alright!' to which A replied "You ALWAYS say that Mummy!"

I do. It's the first retort when they say they feel poorly. You'll be alright. So I sent her to school as usual and it turned out she wasn't alright at all and is now in bed with a fever, looking very poorly indeed. The worst thing about the whole debacle was that A endured a complete day at school feeling like shite, even doing 2 laps of the playing field in PE, because she thought the teachers would just say 'Oh you'll be alright!' - oops. Bad parenting. Bad uncaring Mummy. The thing is, I just don't do ill - not mine, not friends and not even those really close to me.

I had a bad cough a couple of years ago, ended up breaking a rib, getting pneumonia and pleurisy  Took 8 weeks to clear it - ill me? Nah, carried on as normal, looking after two pre-schoolers, kept house, took him to the station and picked him up every night and even delivered an antenatal course. Didn't have time to be ill.

I'm sure my Mum is reading this and remembering the time in India when she had a bad case of the Delhi Belly. I threw her a couple of bananas in her bed, placed her immodium and water on the bedside table and stated I was going out for the day to discover the delights of the hill station, Simla. Not a very caring daughter either, obviously.

So tomorrow, I am going to pour ALL my love, devotion and attention on A, to try and make up for my serious fail today. She will have a day off school and I will nurse her, mop her brow and kiss her often.

Not at all miffed that I am going to miss cross-country training on Fletch, a great big chestnut gelding, at silly speeds over excitingly high fences. Not miffed at all.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The tao of P

After a difficult day at school, the still 4 year old P told me she didn't feel like doing her reading today, because she wasn't really in the mood. We had a little chat in the car about how important reading is, and she told me she didn't actually want to talk about this subject any more. So I left it at that. Dear little P, she knows her own mind.

Dressed in a bindi, a Japanese skirt, some bright pink tights and a hijab - all influenced by our recent trip to Tooting in London - P solemnly told me her thoughts, as I fiddled and farted on the computer.

"Mummy, sometimes you feel angry because you are angry, and sometimes you are happy......coz you're happy....and sometimes you are sad because you feel sad. And sometimes you cry, sometimes you feel joy...because you've got to be something." said P, shrugging her shoulders and using great hand gestures.

"That's very true," I agreed, grinning at her.

"....and some people are big, and some people are small and some people are medium!" she finished, greatly pleased with the wisdom she had just imparted.

So I gave her a great, big, squishy four-year-old hug. The reading will wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Photo shoot




Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Weird weekend

It's been quiet on the blog of late, not because there has been a lack of material to write about, rather that I have been so busy having a lovely time that sussexmama has been neglected. All this gadding about is in celebration of being alive 40 years, but now I'm pooped and think I will take a little break and enjoy what my home and family has to offer.

Tollard Royal. Have you been there?

The weekend just passed was to be one of bonding with my sister, of giggles, riding, pub lunches and long walks. I guess we ticked all the boxes but the place left me feeling sour, never to return. It may be near to Stonehenge and Avebury but by jove, this is one village that fell off the ley lines - in fact, I think if I looked on a road map it may not even be there, such was the exclusiveness and tardis-like feel it gave me. It was a weekend break in perfection, mowed grass verges, manicured bluebell woods, estates so large and private and horses grazing their million-pound-arses off in the fields all around. The local pub was the unfriendliest establishment I have visited, with hunting, polo, and shooting pictures adorning the walls. The lager was £4.90 a pint - to keep the riff raff out no doubt.

Don't worry Tollard Royal, I won't be back to mess up your immaculate reputation, I will leave it to those who deserve it and hope they all stay in one place and don't pollute our lovely, varied, cultured society.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The reunion

Corfu was magical last week, the island as beautiful as I remembered it all those years ago. The sea a stunning azure, unreal to the eyes, the landscape still punctuated with dark pointed cypress trees and twisted olive groves. It was a heavenly holiday with family, a pre-season amble before the crowds arrive to crisp their bodies and pickle their livers. It was also a trip down memory lane, a blast from the past and a wander back in time to a place where I was very happy.

Before I left, I told you a little story of a horse whom I loved a great deal when working as a groom on the verdant isle of Corfu, back in 1996. After some research for a trekking centre for the kids to have a pony ride, there he was, Simba in all his maned glory staring right back at me out of the computer, he was still alive and well and in Corfu. Just simply writing this story had me all emotional, it seems to have had some of you choked up as well. I was to see a little gelding 18 years on, would he remember me? Would we recognise each other?

The yard was found after a wonderful drive at the base of Mount Pantokrator, through sleepy little villages with shutters firmly closed, a few stray kittens wobbling across the road in search of some food and some love, around hair-pin bends exhilarating and terrifying and past fields of fresh, wild spring flowers. Corfu in all its glory.

I was nervous when we got to the stables. A nice young woman showed the kids which was to be their pony and I nervously asked if Rebel (his name for 18 years) was here. "Yes, yes," she replied, "just around the corner!" pointing me in the direction of his stable. And there he was, all dipped back, grey around the muzzle and sleepy with the early morning sun. An old man who didn't want to be bothered. He barely raised his heavy lids to contemplate me, or sniff me in recognition. He was enjoying the peace of the day before the tourists arrived to trek him through the Corfiot countryside for the umpteenth time in his life. 
So I stroked his muscled neck, took his forelock out of his eyes and understood his wishes, glad to have found him again and to know that he has been looked after well.

Just a tiny part of me wished he had whinneyed at my return, blown sweet warm breath in my face and encouraged me to leap on to his back, bare back of course, to gallop around the countryside together once more.