Thursday, 19 January 2017

Inspirational School Run

It was a rubbish day at work. The details don't really matter, but a new appraisal system, a bruised department, contrary Year 11 students and an inconsiderate colleague all meant that by the time I went to pick up the children from school I was feeling pretty grumpy. But then I had a daughter on hand to cheer everything up.

I arrived in time to catch the end of Gertie's netball club and to witness her scoring a goal. Not the first one that she has scored, but certainly the first one that I have seen. Even more heartening was the fact that I caught her looking like an actual, real netballer. Snatching passes, making feints, moving around the court, getting into good positions. I had to wipe a little tear away, and made a mental note to get back into netball somehow.

So, not only has she inspired me to pick up a sport that I love again, she has also made me determined to succeed in another area of aspiration. I caught sight of her photograph as part of a display celebrating writers across the school, alongside a story that she had written and a speech bubble citing her writing inspirations as 'Michael Morpurgo', 'Jacqueline Wilson' and 'My Mum'. Cue second teary moment of the afternoon. How am I supposed to live up to that? And, whilst it might be the one and only time that those three names appear in the same sentence, I am determined to try to be worthier, somehow, of that expectation.



Before I got too carried away with all the emotion, Eds ruined it all by throwing a massive tantrum and having to be carried kicking and screaming off the school premises. I bribed him with chocolate.



Currently reading: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Monday, 16 January 2017

A Tipping in the Scales of Us

I thought it would be many years hence that the roles between my children and I would reverse, as described  so powerfully by poets such as Seamus Heaney in Follower, or Owen Sheers in Farther; though I know that we move inexorably towards the 'tipping in the scales of us,/the intersection of our ages'.

But no. It seems that not only is my nine-year-old daughter now able to keep pace with me length for length whilst swimming, she is also emotionally astute and already prepared to take charge in a social situation.

Circumstances arose over the weekend which meant that, contrary to all principles, (and wishes) I found myself inside the doors of a well known purveyor of fried chicken. Somehow I had drawn the short straw: it transpires that at the same moment Hearth-Father was enjoying a complimentary beer as he waited for our takeaway curry.

Meanwhile, back in chicken-hell, the menu was a minefield to this vegetarian: uninitiated in the language of such an establishment.  What, for example, was 'Popcorn' chicken? Why on earth would one order a ghastly-sounding 'bucket' of it?

I ordered three children's meals glumly and stood back to wait for them. Fast food could not come fast enough on this occasion.

Gertie noticed my distress and tucked a comforting arm through mine. "Poor Mummy," she whispered. "You don't look very comfortable in here. Don't worry, it will all be over soon."



Currently reading: Number 11 by Jonathan Coe

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Steven Gerrard Ate My Sausages

Getting to bed at a respectable 2am after seeing in the new year with friends and family, it is fair to say that I was nursing the suggestion of a teensy-tiny hangover first thing.  Given that I was clearly in the lower magnitude on the Richter scale of hangovers, and was not the only sufferer, discussion at the in-laws this morning focused on the merits or otherwise of different hangover cures. It is worth stating here that Hearth-Father visited the opticians yesterday. I am beginning to wish he had had his ears tested instead. For 'bacon sandwich', that well-known remedy, he heard 'baby cabbage'.

Even as a vegetarian I think I know which I would prefer.

The inclement weather meant that this new year's day has definitely been one for 'plotting up', a favourite expression in our household, rather than going out. I have thereby discovered that it is actually fun spending time with members of my family. Eddie has been running round earnestly completing pages of his 'Wreck This Journal', a lucky, last-minute choice by Santa, as it turns out. Gilby, obsessed by the trials and tribulations of Tom Gates has also begun keeping a journal of his own. Today's entry was entitled 'Steven Gerrard ate my sausages' which is an inspired interpretation of the morning's events.

I won't spoil the mystery by explaining exactly how that came about; suffice to say that is is, in a sense, accurate, (not the Steven Gerrard, obvs) and provides an excellent, if somewhat obscure, title for a blog post.

There has been some new year's brotherly love. I'm not panicking, it's bound not to last, but I enjoyed it nonetheless:


I spent two hours in the bath reading Anna Karenina, which means that I might just about have finished it in time for new year 2018 - but what luxury. Turns out you can do that sort of thing on New Year's Day. And Arsenal won, helped by a blinding goal from Giroud. Happy new year one and all.