Monday, 29 September 2014

Brighton rocks

You forget what's out there if you spend too much time at home, on the school run, or at work and trotting around the country lanes. It's all very well and lovely, my Sussex life, the gentleness, the everyday-ness and the calm of the countryside - sometimes I don't even know I need some culture to inspire me and jiggle the creativeness back into action.

Brighton with its laines, shop after shop selling interesting, quirky, hippy, vintage and intricate stuff. Café's with enticing cakes and vegetarian dishes sold by young people, with hopes and rings through their noses. I remember being like them, all alternative and free. Carving out a life for yourself, starting with selling gluten-free puddings and vegan casseroles, smoking roll-ups out the back in your lunch break - for this is only temporary before you make a difference in the world. I remember feeling like that.

This time in Brighton, he and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, all married with children, good jobs and not very alternative at all. But Brighton fires the inner-student in me, makes me want to join a mindful meditation group, have a go at creative writing, get a tattoo and think about my wardrobe a little harder. We made plans for the future, guessed the ingredients of our quiche and salad lunch, we went roller-blading along the sea front to Hove - a little wobblier and less certain than last time. We stayed in an arty hotel with a view of the sea, drank beers as the sun went down - when the way forward seemed much more clear and exciting.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

10 years

The Wedding

Year 1 - Up the duff

Year 2 - Baby 1

Year 3 - New House

Year 4 - Baby 2

Year 5 - Walking and talking

Year 6 - Mini me

Year 7 - Trying stuff out

Year 8 - Beginning to travel

Year 9 - Planning the future

Year 10 - Indiaaaaaaah

I reckon we can make the next ten even more fun - happy 10th Wedding Anniversary Babs!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I feel like I can fly

Beginning of term

It's a beautiful September. I am trying not to let the back-to-school and the gossip spoil it. Or the homework. Or the tears and beginning-of-term colds. I am trying to enjoy the chilly starts to the day, walking into cobwebs when getting into the car and removing blackberry stained bird poo from the windscreen before the school run. It's hard when school is all encompassing, it isn't just about dropping them off at 8.45am and picking them up at 3, it pervades much more of family life.

P has turned back into her grumpy self, holding all her emotions inside while in school and letting them out in a torrent as soon as she sees me at the school gate. We are back to feeding her as soon as we can and placating her with Club Penguin or some tree climbing before she can speak to me in a semi-civil way. She refuses to read her school books but she is more than able, so I bought her a Beano to encourage some sort or reading, any sort of reading - she likes that, all the burps and farts. She is still only six after all.

A slipped back into the school routine without a bump or a glitch enjoying the gentle start to the term with Art Week. The weekend homework sent her into blind panic as usual, where some deep breathing techniques came in useful. I may always associate maths homework with A's panic now, snot streaming out of her nose and big fat tears landing on her page of fractions. Darn homework, it spoils the weekend.

Only 5 more weeks till half term.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nine eleven

I'm going to be late, there's a security alert, the text said. Of course my mind started playing out horrible scenarios as it would do on any day, but especially today. I wanted him home, with us, with the cats and a comforting seafood pasta - not stuck on the 7.10 from Charing Cross.

We all remember where we were on 9/11.  A moment when nothing felt safe or ordinary any more. I remember wanting my Dad to come home from the United Arab Emirates. I wanted him to get out of London and be in my organic garage in Cirencester, yes we have been together a long time. I wanted my nearest and loved ones around me.

Just like I do today, but he's stuck in London.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Folly Wildlife Rescue

Pippin turned out to be a boy in the end, a cock from Dalkeith - so he was inevitably re-named as Keith. It seemed fitting. Our rescue pigeon stayed with us for three days and eventually I had a call from his owner. In a distinctive Scottish accent, he told me that the pigeon had been let out in Rippon in Yorkshire, with the aim of flying the 150 or so miles back home to Scotland. Poor little Keith got a bit lost and ended up flying south, almost 350 miles to us in East Sussex. The owner said quite categorically that he didn't want the pigeon back and that it was no good to him, basically that it was crap at its job and that he would just 'dispose' of it.

I mentioned to the owner that it might be nice to take Keith to the vet, or an animal centre or try to get him well enough to be released into the wild. The Scottish voice told me to take him to a pigeon fancier who would dispose of it in a bucket of water.

Well it's a flippin' good job that Keith did fly down South and land in my garden as I managed to find a fabulous place for him to recover. Folly Wildlife Rescue near Tunbridge Wells happily took Keith in, wormed him, put some mite powder on him, weighed him and treated him with such love and care. I was so impressed and relieved that someone else thought of pigeons as precious, sentient beings. They even gave us a reference number so we could check on Keith's progress.

I warned the children that Keith might not have survived, so we all crossed our fingers when we made the call today. Yes Keith was still alive, he's in intensive care but they are worried he might have a nasty virus. The volunteer on the phone said she would just go and see him for us. I heard her tip-toe down the animal hospital and when outside Keith's cage she said:

" Ahhh, your Mummy's on the phone little pigeon, she's called to see how you are, isn't that nice?"

I am so pleased that there are people in this world that are as nuts about animals as I am. Cross your fingers everybody, because if Keith makes it he will be introduced into a flock and they will all be released together - back into the wild.

The Wedding

It was the wedding we were all waiting for, my lovely friend of over twenty years marrying her sailor. A day where my children excitedly wore delightful bridesmaids dresses and followed her down the aisle, clutching their posies freshly picked from the garden in their warm, sweaty hands. The congregation gasped as they walked in, sung their hymns with more gusto than I have ever heard before and shed tears at the reading about two lovely dinosaurs. It was a beautiful ceremony and the love overwhelming, many a moment I felt the familiar thickening of my throat and hot tears prick at my eyes.

Hugest congratulations you lovely people. May the rest of your lives be full of joy, laughter and adventure . We can't wait to hear all about your honeymoon on your return. Well, perhaps not all about it.