Please note that normal, well, usual, service, will be disrupted due to school holidays. Please bear with me as I carry out important child maintenance work.
The weather has gone a bit chilly and we will be doing lots of healthy outdoor pursuits, so I have invested in some sensible headgear.
And during these holidays, I am going to keep calm and collected, and not go all peculiar...
Must go, even as I type, boys are carrying out Hussain Bolt type sprint time trials in corridor upstairs. Only now do I realise that concrete floors are something we should have put on our non-negotiable wishlist when house hunting.. elephants...herd of...give me strength
Pictures courtesy of TopShop.com, purpose of these items unclear..
I am sorry to bother you during your well-earned half term break - the two and half weeks of term have just flown by and what a lot you have packed in!
But I felt I must bring to your attention serious concerns I have about the kind of education your well-endowed institution is giving our boys.
I attach a picture of a piece of work Blighty Minor brought home recently.
Upon studying this picture I was shocked to see that Blighty Minor was not being given the classical education which I had so hoped would be provided.
At first glance the presence of the word "Hermes" is very reassuring. But on closer perusal one can clearly see a picture of some Greek chap with winged feet. What is the world coming to?
I do not want my son's head filled with this wishywashy modern nonsense! I expect Hermes to be taught in the context of a leading luxury consumer goods company with an annual turnover of around one billion Euros; I wish my son to know that this company is responsible for some of the most covetable and iconic brands. I don't expect at this stage that he would be taught the history of the Carre or how to tie a scarf, but he should at least be made familiar with the Kelly Bag, Birkin Bag and the Jumping Boot. How else is he to make his way in this world of ours?
I hope you will take my views under consideration.
P.S. May I just say, the new helipad is looking splendid and congratulations on the opening of the BeckhamAromatherapy Suite? I was disappointed to hear planning permission was turned down for the nuclear processing facility, but the new plans for the Happy Holidays Kennels and Kids Hotel ( "Go Away Knowing All Your Little Beasts Are Happy in a High Security Environment") are little short of genius.
P.P.S. So sorry about the misunderstanding over the "Bring your toys to school day"; I had no idea that the Blightys Major and Minor had brought those contraptions to school; I do hope Mrs Rumpington is back at work soon, the A&E chaps told me they sometimes find bolas injuries take a while to get over. I know dear Mrs R will be sorely missed in the Ballet and Metal Work Department.
Mr Blighty has entrusted to me the role of project manager for home improvements, phase 78.
He made me solemnly promise not to use the kittycat notebook or the pen with the pink fluffy feathers on the end. Something about losing credibility.
Mr B left me with a detailed list of home improvements which I am to oversee, and the order in which they each need to be done. The list includes words like "architraves" and "double gang socket" so already I am floundering.
I decided to play to my strengths so spent a couple of happy hours putting together little folders for each project. Stationery is vital in this sort of situation.
The most pressing project is new fitted wardrobes for Boy 1's room. Last week some men came and dismantled his old cupboards. Boy 1 is not the least bit perturbed by having his clothes and belongings in various boxes strewn across the house. He will take to student life like a duck to orange, er, water.
Then the wardrobe guy came to measure up for the new wardrobes. Measurements for a Savile Row suit would be less precise and extensive. Wardrobe man was with us for so long, I almost made up the guest bedroom for him. He and Mr B had lots of in-depth male bonding type chats, including about our septic tank (always a great ice breaker socially).
I need to organise the next steps. Mr B did a very specific 22 point timetable for this - with lots of complicated numbering, it went something like this:
Section 1 Provision of Beverage Refreshments to Workmen
1.1 Beverage Refreshments shall be provided to Workmen.
1.1.1 Beverage Refreshments shall be provided in a cup, on a tray and with accompanying biscuit assortment at the following times:
1.1.1.(a) 9am, 10am, 11am, 12am and at 2 hourly intervals thereafter until 3pm when they start packing up to go home at 5pm;
1.1.1. (b) Biscuit assortment must include chocolate biscuits.
For the purposes of Section 1 "Beverage Refreshments" shall mean standard Indian tea and/or instant coffee (either with milk and one, or just milk); it shall on no account include any herbal teas or chai lattes, or any other beverage which might call into question the fitness of the Workmen to carry out said duties.
After a lot of headscratching I think I need to arrange for the following to be done:
No, that's wrong - er
No, that can't be right can it??
5. Lie down
Within a short time it all went awry. So awry that first thing Monday morning I had no painter or carpenter able to do the job in time for wardrobe man to fit the wardrobes.
And then :
I panicked and by 11am Monday morning I had 2 lots of carpenters to do the same job (that is, one lot more than necessary), plus another guy also threatening to do the job as well. And the first two were both keen to come round the next afternoon to see what needed doing.
Workmen, it seems, are like London buses - none, or 3 number 74's coming along in convoy at the same time. Or if my experience as a single girl is typical, like boyfriends: either your love life is a Gobi desert of no suitors at all or ...I was trying to explain this to Mr B who said he'd really rather not know.
So I had visions of trying to juggle the 2 sets of workmen, to keep them apart, like a demented wife in one of those old West End farces, with a subtle title like "Banging in the Bedroom". (" No, don't go into that room, why not come downstairs and have a cup of tea with the Vicar!"). Now I am not an expert, but this does not seem to be good project management to me.
But luckily my saviour arrived in the form of Ron the Plumber Extraordinaire, who has done various jobs for us in the past and turns out to be so much more than just a plumber: electrician, builder, carpenter, philosopher, man of few words and serious style icon: never seen without a pencil behind his ear. Ron and his son Little Ron (both are 6ft 5) arrived, surveyed what needed doing and told me the painter would be able to get the work done in time. "But he told me he couldn't!" I blabbered. "We'll speak to him. He 'll do it." (Ron seems to run all of West London workmen, and if Ron says "Jump"..)
Of course Ron thinks I am a completely hopeless case but I think he enjoys sorting me out. I tried desperately to impress him by showing him my new folders. "And that helps does it?" he said.
Next time he comes I'm going to show him my kitty notebook.
P.S. This post has been delayed because the electrician turned up today and switched the power off mid-composition, how can an artist work in these conditions!
P.P.S. All that hooha about the Athlete's Village in India not being ready and fit in time for the Commonwealth Games - just like to make it clear, me and my kitty notebook were in no way involved. In any way. At all. Never even been to India. Honest.
My blog is nothing if not a huge copycat (or copy parrot as Boy 1 used to say, which is, I suppose, logical). In particular my blog is slavishly devoted to the glamorous Faux Fuchsia blog. Since FF blog is having a mid-life crisis, my blog has decided it needs to have a crisis too. But as my blog is much younger and sillier, it is having a teenage moment instead.
First it went all touchy and offhand and sarcastic:
And apparently no one understands it! (no change there then).
And it never asked to be created.
It refused to get up this morning, I mean what sort of time is this for a post?
It has lost all interest in sport (Steven Gerrard and mountain biking) and instead wants to hang around shops and listen to Capital FM. It likes pop music by people with confusing names like Tinchy Strider and Tiny Temper and it laughs at me when I get the names all wrong - Lady GooGoo, Jason dePencil, no, deRulo. Jason sings a song entitled "Ridin' Solo" where he seems to say he is getting his "sheep" together - the blog got cross when I asked whether Mr DeRulo was involved in animal husbandry.
The blog was so moody and down that today I had to take it up to TopShop at Oxford Circus so it could hang out with all the other teenagers. It insisted on taking its faux leopard bag which really is not sensible as it does not have a nice secure zip and cannot be sponged down easily.
Once at TopShop the blog behaved really quite badly. It immediately got told off for trying to take a pic of a faux leopard fur coat on its phone. And sulked.
We then had a tremendous tussle over some new slippers for wearing in the house. I said some nice quilted velour ones would be good. It insisted on these. What, I asked, are all those metal studs for? And white is really going to show up any food stains. The blog threatened to burst into tears and in the end I gave in.
I then said I would buy the blog a nice flattering pair of slacks for best. It sulked until I allowed it to take some other "trendier" kit to try on too.
Things got tense again when I remarked the effect of this blouse was lampshade-like and did the blog really want to spend all day standing around in the living room next to the sofa?
And the voluminous sleeves were voluminous. Good for hiding cupcakes or white rabbits.
Against my advice, leopard harem pants were tried on. I laughed and said a nice skirt would be more flattering. The blog grumped and said I just did not "get" fashion.
Then this hoodie. "You are not going out looking like that!" and "What exactly is the point of that garment, it is not going to be very warm or keep the rain off and what about washing it?" were some of the insights I shared. The blog got really huffy.
I managed to lure the blog out of TopShop with the promise of a megaFrappucino and crisps and cupcakes (covers all teen food groups) at Fatbucks. We then sloped along to Selfridges and caught sight of this window display.
The blog convinced me it needed new, "cooler" wellies, despite the fact it already has a nice children's pair in pale pink with dark pink hearts on. It said everyone wears Hunters these days.
So off to the new Selfridges Shoe Galleries, very posh and full of all sorts of brands, including the usual suspects: Jimmy Choo, Louboutin.
I bought the wellies but managed to persuade the blog to go for a sensible colour, not bright pink.
The blog also fell in love with these Repettos but I held firm. Maybe for the blog's birthday.
I did manage a bit of shopping for myself too. I was very taken with this navy blue/leopard print combo as seen in this pic from The Sartorialist.
So I went for this shirt, from Zara. No doubt the blog will borrow it without asking and spill Diet Coke all over it.
Must go now, the blog wants to be taken over to its friend's house to listen to music, play around with* make up and talk about* boys.
*Jeez, I hope I got these the right way round, otherwise me and the blog need to have a little chat ..
Now the boyz are back at school I have from about 8.30am to 4pm each weekday to Achieve Stuff and perform Housewifely Duties. ( Still no news yet on my Nobel Prize for Housework, some Peruvian chap got one for literature and he had only written about 35 books and plays, I have definitely vaccuum-cleaned more times than that, well, if you count next year's Spring cleaning).
Today I knew I had to be back at the school earlier though to watch Boy 2 play rugby. Last night we were treated to a mini-drama of performance anxiety along the lines of "no, no, I don't want to play rugby, please Mummy, no, no, no." That Peruvian chap should write a play about that. By this morning the mini-drama had resolved itself into "Mum, am I captain?"
So I thought I would share with you my time management skills in a deadline type situation - or as Linda in Chile has told me these management types say" Delivering deliverables in a restricted bandwith scenario".
Return from school drop off, make toast, switch on iron, put vaccuum cleaner ready in hall
Switch on computer, check emails, then spend 30 mins searching for a nail polish blog you think you saw the other day; in doing so check out 19 other polish blogs; spend 30 mins looking at Miss Kitty Cat's lovely bloggie which you have only just discovered and which is fab - shoes, dresses, more shoes, hotels, shoes, handbags, and did I mention the shoes, to die for?! Post lots of comments on her blog in manner of creepy stalker
Call from Mr Blighty - have you seen email about important parents evening? Er, no. Mentally chastise yourself for bad mothering etc, search for email, realise you have not seen it as email so cluttered up with junk; strangely spam folder full of stuff you actually want to get like lovely picture from Louise ( a very nice, funny lady who faithfully comments on my blog - hi ya Louise!)
Spend 45 mins deleting, un-junking, junking and generally techno faffing
Realise with horror that it is now 11 am and toast uneaten; scurry off to kitchen, falling over vaccuum cleaner on the way (who the bl**dy hell left that there!!%$$***)
Consume cold toast, put tea in microwave for reheating
Realise with horror that have left iron on upstairs; start ironing frantically
Return to computer where for reasons not clear to yourself spend time looking at day spa treatments in swish upmarket health/golf club and wondering whether you should book in for the pre-wedding package (had no idea I was getting married, life is full of surprises)
Return to earth, realise with horror that kitchen bin is less than fragrant, frantically action bin renewal operation (=empty the bin), fall over vaccuum cleaner again.
Decide to Go Out as nice weather and need to return library books and take recycling mountain to recycling centre; place books and recycling in hallway
Pick up car keys, then find yourself upstairs vaccuuming madly, dusting, humming etc
Bring vaccuum cleaner downstairs, fall over recycling
Now 1pm; must Push On; arrive at library and have nice relaxed chat with librarian about her nail polish ( "Nail polish bringing people together"); then spend 25 mins wondering whether you need to see important film about Afghan goatherders or whether a romcom might be more fun
Step 14 ( there is no step 13 as I don't hold with silly superstitions)
Arrive back at home about 1.35pm. Realise need to leave for rugby match at 2.15pm. Decide now a good time to make cup cakes, eat lunch and paint fingernails (green to match cardigan).
2.20pm - bl**dy hell what moron decided to paint their nails, there is green polish everywhere but on actual nails
2.25pm - bl**dy hell what moron put these cakes in the oven, they are not cooked but need to go to rugby; cannot put on oven gloves due to nail polish not being dry
2.35pm Arrive at rugby, note that at least 5 matches are going on, cannot tell which one Boy 2 is in. Find team, start cheering enthusiastically, realise that this is not Boy 2's team.
Find Boy 2's team, just in time to see Boy 2 leave pitch as he has been substituted off..
Return home with Boys 1 and 2; find cold cup of tea in microwave
Of course, you can't all expect to achieve this level of time management immediately, it has taken me years to perfect this technique..
Life seems eventful at the moment, even if most of the events are nothing to do with me!
Boy 2 enjoyed a little birthday party with a few of his closest friends, which ended in them all wrestling in a sweaty heap on the kitchen floor (why do I never go to that sort of party??)
Mr Blighty discovered a flat tyre on his new bike. The horror!
Mr Blighty discovered his old cycling shorts from 1996. The horror!
Boy 1 left his school library book out in the rain and burst into floods of tears at the thought of taking the soggy mess back to the School Librarian. We spent an evening trying out various drying out techniques - use of Parlux hairdryer (did not add Moroccan oil to speed up drying time); placing by/in tumble dryer and lastly, oven.
Small panic when Mr B came home, and collected his supper from the oven. Would Boy 1 have to explain at school that his father had eaten his school book? (a variation on the dog eating homework scenario). Luckily Mr B was able to tell his supper from a mushed up paperback book; with my cooking that is not as easy as you might think.
Mr Blighty has decided he needs to do Project Management on various home improvement projects mooted for BlightyHQ. He wants to do something important sounding called a Gant Chart. I was summoned to provide a suitable note book. This is what I came up with.
Mr B was not impressed. But I do believe the business world would run much more smoothly and harmoniously if nice books with kittens on were used, though I am also prepared to accept covers with butterflies or pretty flowers.
Bad news here in Blightyland: the government has announced that it is stopping child benefit payments for higher rate tax payers. This is a bitter blow: I only had children to get my hands on the benefit money. I will now have to return the children , but am worried I have lost the receipts for them. Ha! Relax, I am only joking, I am not such a bad mother....the receipts are carefully stored under a magnet on the front of the fridge, so I can get a full refund from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital maternity ward. Phew!
Mr Blighty has just arrived home from another tumultous day at the Big House (in a quaint custom, a hangover from more civilised times, the lawyer/draftsmen down tools at 5pm and go take tea together; parliamentary democracy as we know it could be undermined if the chocolate Bourbons run out..) He has just caught me staring vacantly at this, from the Zara on line shop.
Hold on, I'll just ask him if I should get a Cherokee necklace.
Well, I really don't think that kind of language is very parliamentary, Mr B. Your dinner is in the oven. Or the tumble dryer. Or the school library.
It's been a funny week, a mixture of domestic dullness and exotic travel, with a shopping expedition with Grandma thrown in. And lots and lots of rain.
Grandma Whacker and I tripped the light fantastic in glamorous Watford. The big G had taught in a college there a long time ago. She was interested to visit again, and pronounced it greatly changed. She was amused by the Polski Schlep in the High Street. She also dropped casually into the conversation that she used to take the train up to London each week to go to Russian language classes. The big G is full of surprises (she already has a degree in French and German).
We also checked out the retail possibilities. I thought this dress in Wallis was a bit Pucci-esque. I like Wallis, they have good designers, but their blouses tend to be in man-made fabrics, which obviously has Elf and Safety fire risks.
We also looked in super cheap budget shop Primark, with which I have a love/hate relationship. I love all the bang you get for your bucks, but hate myself for buying tat. I don't even want to think about how they keep their prices so low.
Last winter there was some leopard spotted scarf from Gucci or some other designer that was all the rage. I would be a bit cross if I had shelled out on the real thing and then found Primark doing a copy for a couple of quid.
I liked these laptop cases. Mr B already got Grandma a serious laptop case as used by top execs and international corporate travellers. Grandma is thrilled with her new laptop. She looks after it as if it were a new baby, wrapping it up carefully and feeding it up regularly to keep it charged up. She rang up before her visit to make sure I had the right sort of plug for its electricity.
We went to Marks and Spencers, that great British institution and G bought a cosy new coat, very chic Italian in ski resort.
And with wonderfully snazy lining!
Under careful parental supervision I was restrained and came home with 2 Primark tops for the princely sum of £3 each. Here I am messing about seeing what nail varnish matches. Note to self: get a life!
The Big G and her laptop departed. It rained and rained, dark and dull. I actioned domestic tasks, I fully expect to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Domestic Saintliness very soon. It was very boring. The highlight was discovering my kitchen bin has little wheels underneath. Who knew?! I rang Mr B to tell him. I feel it is important to keep your relationship alive by telling your partner interesting things. Mr B said " Yeah, I know". When was he going to tell me? I was shocked.
The rain and gloom got to me and I decided a trip to North Africa would be good. Unfortunately it's not possible to get to the actual country and back by 4pm (school pick up time) but I went to this little shop in a small town just down the road. They sell all sorts of exotic items you don't actually need but really want. I decided I needed tea light holders to create a genuine North African ambience while we eat our fish and chips, er, I mean couscous and tagine.
The shop is called En Route and smells delicious, there are always incense sticks burning. And they play evocative North African and Brazilian music.
I liked this cockerel but would be too tempted to make jokes about a large - oh, no, better stop right there.
There were tea light holders galore.
On the way back I spotted this little chap in a hairdressers, looking out at the world.
In other news, against all odds, this flower thing has come out. I think it's a gladioli, I planted bulbs (upside down) 3 years ago and got strange mutant growths. This is the first time I ever got a flower on it.
My domestic goodness knows no bounds. Today I attempted to sort out our muddled duvet situation. Mr B and I seem to be using 2 duvets each, which seems a bit unnecessary.
But goodness, it got complicated. Why do we have so many duvets? We have manmade, Hungarian goose down (which I like but makes Mr B sneeze) and silk filled; we have 4.5 tog, 9 tog, and ones that button together to make even more or the same tog. You need an advanced science degree to work all the thermodynamics out.
Every time I looked round I found another duvet. Are they breeding or what?
And valances! Why so many? I ended up tying them up and labelling them, obsessively, while humming tunelessly to myself. Very, very worrying. Is there something in female DNA which dictates the compulsive acquisition of bedlinen? ( note to self: apply to EU for research grant to get to bottom of this).
I seem to have lots of silk filled duvets from Gingerlily. I met the woman who started the company, she used to be a lawyer for Mr Al Fayed at Harrods. I went to her house to collect my duvets. She was lovely and blonde. Her company has gone from strength to strength. They do other things too, like super silk pjs, I have a pair. I feel very Noel Coward in them..