Saturday, 24 March 2018

Weathering the storm

16 years ago I was a single mum. I was also a mum of two with another on the way. My husband had decided that life for him would be happier with another woman and so at 22 weeks pregnant I found myself in charge of a mortgage, car payments, bills, sole income, nursery runs, school runs, maternity appointments, back ache, a 3 year old boy, a 4 year old boy and a very broken heart. Life was bleak. It was mid winter; cold, dark and the run up to Christmas. I was broke, scared, confused and could not see past the end of the week. My relationship ended at a time when I needed it the most. Husband was adamant he wasn't going to 'come back' and I wafted around in a cloud of bewilderment mixed with middle of the night calls to helplines to try and make sense of what was happening. 

What was happening was that I was suddenly a single girl. My husband was in the arms of another and my friends' reaction was to get me out and let my hair down to aid the process of healing my heart. I tried it a couple of times but being 6 months pregnant in a nightclub is not a good look. When others may have drowned their sorrows in a bottle I couldn't. Chain smoking was out as was any wild abandonment behaviour. (Ashamedly, I did drink a bit, just in the first couple of weeks and I smoked a few roll ups  which my midwife said probably kept my blood pressure down).  

A few great friends kept me close, my mum cooked meals for me and my two little boys. I cried in mates' kitchens and I sobbed alone in bed. I remained dignified during the day and continued working to support my family. I was cordial with my husband and his family even when they asked the most crass questions about the parentage of our unborn baby. I refused to 'apply for a council house' when the idea was suggested but instead ensured that I was rota'd onto as many hours as possible at work. That's when I started to lose weight. 

My baby remained healthy and grew in my belly and danced around for me every time I lay in the bath. My baby was part of me, was with me through every argument, sad moment - morbid moments - and he heard all my quiet despair. He would nudge me with his knee or elbow to remind me that he was alive and that I needed to keep going. Even when I'd lost 2 stone in weight, he grew stronger, my little boy. 

Waiting for his birth was terrifying. Alone in my house with nobody but two little boys and a Nokia 3310, I was too scared to sleep. Fortunately, his birth was to be during the day when other people were awake and nearby. One Thursday afternoon, I went into labour and could not move. Terrified, I called my neighbour who collected my little boys off the school bus. She then arranged for their dad to look after them before whisking me at high speed to Buckland hospital.  Through red lights and with an urgency usually only seen in the movies. 

Baby Max was born an hour later. With two dear friends holding my hand and mopping my brow we welcomed my third son. My heart, which I thought had crumbled, now erupted with love and sprang out of my chest when I held my newborn. My soldier, my warrior. 

And that's when life got REALLY hard - three little boys, being more of a double mum than a single mum - but together we grew. I fed them, got them to school, doctors, football matches, parties, taught them manners and we laughed, all whilst I worked full time and with a very nasty divorce looming over me. With the help of dearest friends and my amazing mum we survived. I get asked 'How did you do it?' and I always respond with 'Because I had to'. Nothing motivates a woman more than a fighting baby in her tummy. 

Happy 16th to my fighter, Max James 💙 

Go-Karting at Buckmore Park 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Thank my good fortune

2018 - a whole four years has passed by me and my boys and now they're not boys anymore but men. And we have another female in the house:

Image may contain: dog 
Macy-May, Moo-Moo, Noodle, Noo-Noo aka my first ever dog!

When I started this blog it was to record the 'good stuff', the classic boyisms and funny moments that will always be fondest memories. Time goes ridiculously quickly when your life is responsible for one, two, three or more others. And so, I'm now firmly mid forties and I have only one teenager all of a sudden. Where did the other two go? Why do I feel too young to have a mortgage but look old enough to be a granny? And, most importantly, am I still laughing? 

Life happens. Thank goodness. My children will always be just that, no matter how tall and hairy they get. They go through school, exams, jobs, girlfriends and cars, soaking up all that 'life' has to offer. They do it well. They have good friends, health, exam results, security, opportunity and humour. But even though they have a combined age of 57 (!) my position, occupation, as mum doesn't stop. Last Sunday, Mothers' Day, was testament when they took me out for the obligatory - and delicious - carvery. Or when a tipsy girlfriend is in my kitchen at 2am with a dance-floor injury and I'm designated nurse. Or when I cook a meal for those who do not manage their spare time and have yet to explore, nee discover, the wonders of the Supermarket. And when I show a 6 footer how to boil pasta and add a jar of pesto cos he couldn't be bothered to read the label. And there's Christmas of course. This is the mums' most opportune time of the year to shine as feeder, wrapper extraordinaire, gift-giver, soppy sentimentalist and selfless witness of young people's dressing up for late night celebrations down 'Spoons. 

I am - always will be - mum. 

When I took Luke and Ellis to Cornwall 20 years ago they were toddlers. My nan loved to see us all. She claimed their blonde hair (My granddad's nickname was 'Blondie') and she made no secret of being proud to have produced babies that produced babies that produced babies. Her sister, Hazel, had children, a boy and a girl, yet her son barely saw adulthood before he tragically passed away. Auntie Hazel was a gracious woman, down to earth and knew what was important. As she looked at my little blondies she said to her sister,

'Little loves, best years of your life, eh Pearl?'

I knew then - in that instant - that I should never wish away any time, mine or my childrens'. Auntie Hazel was not wrong. She passed away on Christmas Day last year, reunited with her son to share her best with him. 

Keep laughing boys, these are the best years of your life 😄

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, wedding and suit
Wedding day 23rd July 2016

Thursday, 6 February 2014


"You had a good day Max?"

"Yeah. Sorry I'm late out, I had detention."

"Oh no, that's not good."

"No, it was ok cos I had to sit next to a well fit girl."

Ah, punishment with a sweet twist. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Reflex

Christmas has come and gone. New Year is now not so shiny. I am firmly in my 40s. Ellis rides his Gilera DNA wearing his parka, looking as cool as the coolest mod from Cool Town. Max has had a wobbly term at school and Luke has become my ‘problem’ child. I have decided to go back to uni and Man is thinking about cycling a quarter length of England in a day. But more about that another day.

So yeah, it’s a worry having another of my Pride open to the angry, fast, metal elements on the roads. Ellis, however, does not stay out very late, and I am under no illusion that the only reason he comes home at a reasonable hour is because he gets hungry (Ellis has the most vivacious appetite of anyone in this house, with maybe the possible exception of Dot who manages to beg x3 breakfasts, x2 lunches and numerous dinners from unwitting feeders). And I guess it’s the age-old thing about it getting easier with the younger child. It’s not that Ellis is a better rider than Luke was but rather I’ve chilled out and I know that – in all probability – he will be fine. I cannot worry about things that may not happen. I have to trust that I’ve supplied him with enough common sense and have to trust that he will come home in one piece. And that’s what being a parent is about really – panic, panic, panic and then oh, it’s fine, nothing bad happened and my child will grow to see adulthood and my job here will be done.

And with the thought of how responsible my children are in the midst of double decker buses, men driving white vans at nut tensing speed and hormonal mums on the school run it’s with absolute horror that I have just discovered that for the past couple of months the black box in Luke’s car has not been functioning. I, however, have been receiving fortnightly reports telling me what an ‘excellent’ driver my 17 year old is. He’s not, as it goes. Latest reports have been showing that his night driving is excessive, his braking is poor and his right foot is too heavy...

For most parents a new baby is the reason that uninterrupted sleep becomes a thing of the past. But just wait til that same child drives a car at night and you’re in bed, reading crap about serial killers/health benefits of root turmeric/reviews of Estee Lauder/repining recipes that you’ll never cook in order to stay awake until you hear the distinctive ppppuuuuuuppp ppppupppp, signalling the safe return of your teenager, who is blissfully unaware of your anxiety and promptly suggests that you ‘just go to sleep mum, you can’t stay awake for me forever’. Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong Luke.  All the time there are hormones swirling around telling you to hunt and kill buffalo, but in the absence of buffalo your brain now interprets a hunt as having a race with the Saxo up ahead, and all the time there are moronic BMW drivers with small dicks threatening to slit your throat then no, I shall not sleep soundly.

Luke has been pushing the boundaries recently; with poor school attendance, broken curfews, idleness and not helping out with chores and is a confirmed smoker. Only this week I’ve had to attend a meeting with his Head of Sixth form, to manage Luke’s final push of school, ensuring that he finishes with good grades and a smile on his face. The lad does not have a clue what he’ll do the day after he drives away from classroom and teachers for the final time, and so we – I – continue to research what it is that 18 year olds do if they don’t want to go to uni (‘Mum, can you actually see me at uni?’)

He’s my first born, I learn how to be a mum with this one, adapting to situations and not sleeping with worry, selecting my words carefully to encourage him and nudge him to the path of well rounded human without him raising eyebrows.


I’ve never done this before, been the mum of a 17 year old boy, this is all new to me, as new as the experiences that Luke’s having now, and I tread carefully.  But all I can do is hope, hope that he and his brothers make decisions that keep them safe and make them happy. Hope and cook dinners and leave them plated in the fridge for when they come in late, obviously. And sometimes iron their shirts cos it’s takes me half the time. Oh, and slip them a tenner for petrol and turn a blind eye when one of them entertains the girlfriend on Sunday afternoons behind closed doors. And I won’t sleep, my body just can’t sleep, I’m sorry. Love is a reflex, it’s what mums do.  

Sunday, 20 October 2013


It’s not often that M and I ‘go out’. But when we do, we get pissed. (I say pissed, there are, of course, varying degrees of enjoying wine with dinner and, being a couple of stone lighter than M, I get ‘more’ out of the Merlot than he does.) Anyhow, because of my propensity of trying a new (hell, any) good wine/M’s weakness for a guest ale, we know this will happen and we don’t venture far, so that we can tumble home, full on rump steak. Last Friday was no exception and we spent a lovely evening together at a table for two, discussing children, work (but only the juicy parts), other children and, just on the right side of pissed-ness, a political discussion* on selective/non-selective schooling, pros and cons thereof and it was silently noted how much more lefty I get after my third glass of wine.
Always the responsible parent (!) I had phoned my boys and checked that they were going to catch the last bus home. (Not Max, as he was tucked up safely with his dad). Teenage assurances that they’d come home before 11pm, I relaxed and tucked in to my cassoulet.
So, reasonably priced and surprisingly tasty dinner eaten, wine bottle and pint glass empty and a Bailey’s liquor that was served in a half pint pot - I kid you not - M made his move by tempting me back home with the promise of a family bag of Minstrels, which he seductively called ‘pudding’. Well, what girl can refuse that?  So we started pulling on coats and bracing ourselves for cold walk back along the A260 when M quipped ‘Luke’s insured to drive your car, you know’.  
And you just know that I had my eldest son on speed dial before M could change his mind.  And there we were, in a car park, waiting for my SON to collect us and take us safely home.  And to be honest, I don’t know who was more shocked, me or him. Anyhow, about 20 minutes went by and I got slightly concerned, bearing in mind that we live about a mile away, if that. So I called Luke to make sure that he hadn’t stacked my lovely little 107 into a lamp post or wedged it onto a roundabout, or indeed, took it to Halfords carpark to perform a few donuts. To my surprise and humour Ellis answered, stating that they were on their way (!)
So this was a first, for my son, for me, for us as a family. After a very difficult couple of weeks, and in an instant, we were a little family in that tiny car, laughing together, sharing a first, glorious memory:
                                               Ellis says:  "How cool is this?"
*Ok, it was so not a discussion, I just blasted my opinion at my dinner companion and he gave up trying to interject about one minute in. Public apologies. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pets and their names

This is Dot, our girl cat: 

Dot being casual

Or, as the vet knows her, Dorothy. Also known as Dolly, DotDot and DollyDotDot. I quite often call her Beautiful Girl and she responds to that. I daresay that Man has a few choice names for the Cat which he uses when I’m out of earshot ...

Pet names in our home are normal, like finding milk tops behind the toaster, that's normal. Or everyone asking where their uniforms are on a Monday morning - normal. So, for instance, I NEVER call Man by his name. He is always Marin (history: typo in an email). He’s also known as Marleen and Bradders.

Now that The Big One is of a very sensitive age, and liable to cast a mega dark cloud of stropness around the house if the proverbial piss is taken, Luke is now pretty much just Luke. He used to be called Lukey-Boy, but death stares from him as this was called out from the touch line ended that. He is Luke Oliver when he’s being cheeky or is winding someone up. When I say someone I mean either of his brothers. Winding them up involves changing their TV channel, hiding their mobiles/chargers/loo roll, eating their secret stash of sweets, the usual. He does that a lot. “Luke Oliver, give it back!!” My sister used to call him Spooks, for the rhyming effect, however she dropped that once he surpassed her in height (when he was about 8, haha).

Ellis used to be known as Eli but he doesn’t like that so much. One day my mate N and I were trying to think of a word that rhymes with ‘Ellis’. Pretty much nothing does, like month, purple and orange. Unique, through and through. Except that N and I decided that Lettuce was pretty close and so that has stuck and he is often referred to as Lettuce.

Max has a grand nick name: Maximum Spastication. Not very PC, I know, but it suits him. It’s taken straight out of the film Gladiator, or, more accurately, the brilliant Jon Culshaw’s parody:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife... and that's when I called Claims Direct!”  

My Max also answers to Massimo and is referred to as Maxi-Moo by my girlfriends. He does not, however, like being called Maxi.

I am Mum, obviously but also Minty (of old marriage fame), sometimes shortened to Mint. Oldest friends call me Clairey and I like that, work colleagues call me Butters, some friends call me Utters. Students call me Miss Butterfly. My sister never calls me by anything but Sis.

And I love that we have this familial affection for each other, and in that I include the monikers that Man and made up for our brood of five sons, one year on holiday in France. If you can picture the scene: seven people, sharing a two bedroomed mobile home with one loo and two gas rings = Tempers frayed. Of course, we were in polite company most of the time so their nick names were abbreviated (LF, NF etc): we proudly introduce, in age order, Lazy Fucker, Contrary Fucker, Stressy Fucker, Cheeky Little Fucker and Spazzy Fucker.

Sometimes, when the red wine and patience are low, in the middle of a French forest with no Wi-Wi, nick names can encapsulate the character perfectly. 

Here's DollyDotDot in a bag:

Thursday, 19 September 2013

                                Came downstairs this morning to see this in the kitchen:

                                                   I live with boys, what can I say?

Monday, 16 September 2013

Going soft?

Mental on-my-feet-all-day at work, come home to immediately – and I mean literally walk from the front door to the stove - start cooking dinner (delish bacon and pea tagliatelle for the boys, steamed veg for me). Just about to dish up at the very reasonable 6pm when Luke and Max announce they’re going for a kick about. Humph. I protested, swore actually, feeling wholly shat on that I bothered to do something nice (well I consider cooking a tasty meal from scratch a nice thing to do for people) I tried shoveling on the guilt in an attempt to make them appreciate me and my cooking but no, they just hated me even more and then bogged off.
Should I have: 

  1. Put my foot down and insisted they stay for dinner?
  2. The above?

I didn’t make them stay because if I had done they would have refused dinner and sloped off to their rooms. I didn’t make them stay because I would give my right arm for them to ‘go outside and play’ more often. Kids, not mine anyway, don’t do that often enough. Sure, they are active but in today’s tech age they all spend alot more time on their electronic gadgets (perusing less than savoury webpages, I shouldn’t wonder) than out in a field, enjoying actual fresh air.  

And so MM and I ate our dinner together whilst my kids were on the ‘outside’. My only regret is that I didn’t join them. 

Wonderful outdoorness this summer

Sunday, 15 September 2013

My little guy

Yay, the sun is shining and, very thoughtfully so, on a Sunday so that we may enjoy our outdoor pursuits even more so.  I’m pleased to see the sun again, I was not ready to file away the flip flops in the understairs cupboard just yet.
Life is so much better under a blue sky – reminds me of our lovely summer together.
The complex where we stayed had two pools, and ours was the quieter one at the back. We had the pool pretty much to ourselves for much of the time and it was deep – a good couple of feet over the boys’ heads. One day, Max and I were bobbing around in the blue.
‘Mum, I can reach the bottom!’
‘Wow, I’m impressed Max’ (I really was as I’m afraid of heights so looking down more than six foot, whether wet or dry, gives me the willies)
‘Yeah, I touched the bottom with my, um...with the palms of my feet’

The palms of his feet :)


Oh, and speaking of funny things 11 year olds say, it was on this holiday that Max heard us use the word tourist and asked what a tourist was. We explained, using ourselves as examples. 

'Oooooh' he replied pensively 'I always get tourists and terrorists mixed up'

Well, you might only do that once on a plane Max!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Growing pains

‘I want to buy a car mum’
‘Why? You don’t have job so can’t afford to run one’
‘I’ll get a job’
‘But that might take ages’.
‘Oh well, I still want one.

Comes home with a car.

‘Now what Luke?’
‘You could lend me the money for insurance’
‘No, you’re old enough to buy a car, you’re old enough to run it.  Go and get a job’
‘Ok, I will’

Stands back and watches events unfold...

A week of waiting after the mammoth B&Q interview slash team building slash practical exam and Luke is finally put out of his misery – he was not offered a job. Gutted doesn’t even cut how Luke looks. His face is etched into a painful disappointment, somewhere verging on tears. As for how he sounds, I don’t know as he can’t utter a syllable, such is this tortured setback.  The job would have meant independence and cash in his pocket, it would have enabled him to get his beloved car on the road and it would have been success for him.  In his view, it would have been the best thing that has ever happened to him.  He has low esteem and confidence so when he does well at something it boosts him. But if things don’t go as planned then we see a fatal pessimistic attitude from him – he firmly believes that the world is against him and that he has ‘bad luck’.

Seeing my son so disappointed, so cross with himself, so sad and negative absolutely tears me apart. But here’s the bitch: I could change his life and put the biggest smile on his face with just one phone call to the insurance company and the boy would be on the road instantly. I could cheer that kid up and make his day. I could be the hero.

But I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to keep my bank card tucked firmly away in my purse. I’m going to teach my son a lesson in patience, hard work and appreciation. Despite what he’s learnt from, well, let’s just say ‘another household’ we are each responsible for our own luck and here is where Luke starts realising it.

I have said that I’d do anything for my kids. But shell out cash to put smiles on faces, well no, I won’t do that. 

This quote is going on the fridge door immediately 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Puerto Paradise

Back in July the boys’ dad decided that I should take the boys away on an ‘aeroplane’ holiday. Slightly offended that a) he doesn't consider our drives to fun campsites with amazing beaches in southern France good enough and b)he feels at liberty to tell me how to spend my hard earned cash. Anyhow, wanker aside, it did get me thinking about taking my little boys on an adventure.  Not an action expedition adventure, nor anything particularly culturally taxing, but I was thinking more of an adventure of appreciation and discovery. I just wanted a good, old-fashioned beachy family get away.  Ordinarily, lack of cash would have prevented me even looking on but this year is no ordinary year.  Having sorted out mum’s finances, there was just enough in the bank to pay for my planned treat.  
So I began to research resorts, scouring endless websites for a European escape that would cater to all of our 11 – 43 year old needs.  This would include somewhere sunny with a bit of life, but not full of drunk chavs (or any chavs for that matter), a modest apartment with pool, pretty natural beaches but also with banana rides for teenagers, rustic food available but with a good choice of restaurants, excursions that everyone would enjoy  and grass. I’m funny like that and when I’m lying around a pool with my Mateus and my book I don’t want it to be on concrete. Just one of my standards, shall we say. Anyway, I found all of the above. In one place. And right on the money. Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca ticked all of our boxes. And I swung wildly between clicking ‘buy’ and feeling utterly guilt ridden at spending my mum’s money on something that she would never enjoy. It felt wrong, disrespectful and I lost sleep apologising to her for continuing with life. But of course, kind friends told me that it’s exactly what she would have wanted me to do: take the children on an adventure, spend time together, laugh, eat well, take photos and make memories.
With the dawning realisation that this is the final year all three boys will be in school, the decision to ‘buy’ was a no-brainer. This may be the last time the four of us go away together at all...
Puerto Pollensa was all that Trip Advisor said it was – pretty, safe, clean, mountains, clear seas and white sand, with lots to do and see on the island. But better than all the stuff was the precious week I spent with my boys, quality time that I just don’t get at home. I learned a lot about all three of them, and their relationships with each other, and I enjoyed their company on a new level. I particularly enjoyed watching my nearly-men drinking the odd beer with dinner but also acting like children in the pool, unaware of the teenage female attention they were attracting (even with the naff temporary tats they bought from the Spar).
And so we took a pebble that had been in our garden and kept it with us as we went around the island. The pebble went to the beach with us, on the boat, to all of the restaurants (our favourite was the Marina Cafe, or ‘the one with free wi-fi’ as was known in our party), to the marina, the Church Square market and even to Aqualand. And on our last evening, full on mojitos and nachos, we (Ellis*) threw our pebble into the bay, where I hope it’s still now, representing our little family, our good times and the very special lady who paid for them.

See, I DID get grass!

The bay where mum's pebble is :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pugs and Poses

Friday saw Ellis don his impossibly slim fit suit, meet up with his 15 year old peers and enrol at The Glassworks for their Sixth form courses. Ellis will study, amongst other things, Law as he wants to be a lawyer. Not sure how I feel about that but boy, did he look dapper:

Also, we have a 13 year old Peugeot 106 on the drive, which does not belong to me nor to the other adult in the house but belongs to MY SON! Yep, Luke passed his driving test after only 15 hours of lessons and with two faults only. (To be fair, he has been on the road for a year, mmmeeeeeeeeeeeeee-ing around Folkestone with other trainer-wearing ‘ped users). He sold said moped, saved up his coffers and purchased his first car. And she is a beauty, as far as first cars go – she’s low mileage, FSH and very few body marks. But of course she cannot be driven anywhere as Luke can’t afford the insurance.  So he can only occasionally sit in her, listen to his bombastic ghetto blastastic- something-or-other and get out again. Bless.
Such is his keenness to get the beast on the road there isn’t anywhere in a 15 mile radius that he hasn’t applied for a job to.  You name it; cafes, the Co-op, Wickes, Ralph ‘Lorren’ and even Trev’s Cycle Centre, whom I’m guessing has a comprehensive range of employee benefits (company bike and extended inner tube warranty, anyone?) And so it was with great excitement that he was summoned to DIY emporium B&Q  on Friday for an ‘interview’. Which lasted three hours, involved serving live (and quite probably totally bewildered) customers on the shop floor, a team building exercise and an extensive grilling in a one to one interview – all for a part time job stacking pots of Pink-a-Boo paint and lugging 4-be-4 around. So, I was impressed, both that he got through the day without rejection and with B&Q’s recruitment policy. We had similar at TTA as I remember; yeah, yeah, good keyboard skills are great but can you make a good cuppa and get the deli order correct?  ;)

And so we wait. Wait to hear if my son will begin a career where he has to wear the world’s biggest name bag and will FINALLY get to drive his own car. And we look forward to Ellis busting out his catalogue poses every morning in his very slender, shiny suit. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The One Where I Started It Again

So this is awkward. Four years after posting my last blog and here I am, casually adding to it, hoping that nobody will notice that my little boys have grown into six footers, who hold their own NI numbers and driving licences...A lot has changed in four years, so this blog is like a before and after (except without Gok and my make over shots will probably not be so kind).
And it’s precisely the fact that time IS flying that I've made the decision to start capturing the events, funnies, plans, angst and memories.  It’s not a surprise that my own life pretty much has revolved around the boys’ for the last 17 (ahem) years, which is my choice and a choice I’m happy with. I love being mum. And the boys are all off busy doing ‘life’ (yes, lying in a pit with the curtains closed until 1pm watching Two and Half Men, with one eye on FB, DOES constitute as being ‘busy’ I’m told), I want to get some of the good stuff down for them to read later.
So, four years, here’s the speed version:
  • We eventually did move house and now live in the one featured in the last post. Because of our house number we affectionately call it ‘The Orals’.
  • Within a week of moving I accepted a job at the local secondary school as Learning Support, which was a drop in pay but a rise in satisfaction.
  • Four became five as we all started our lives residing With A Man. Books were bought and digested about how to make that adjustment, sharp intakes of breath were heard as the fumblings of what was considered appropriate, or otherwise, was worked out.  And we lost our garage to lots of bikes and accompanying ‘stuff’.
  • Our beloved Ollie now rests in the back garden under a heart-shaped jasmine :(
  • Luke and Ellis are in Sixth Form.
  • Max has started secondary school.
  • My sister had a baby!
  • I turned 40 (gulp) and tasted life outside of Europe.
  • I broke my back (yes, really)
  • And my heart also broke, as we lost my wonderful, beautiful mum and the boys’ funny, generous nan. Life changed forever.    
That's it, in a nutshell. I'll attempt to fill in the blanks as I go. So this is for you, boys, to read how to and how not to parent, how to enjoy and appreciate the finer [free] things in life and what made me laugh my socks off whilst you were finding your way in this crazy world. 



Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Work in progress

I was given a day off work today and so I have, so far, spent it doing some chores this morning; shopping, obtaining boxes for packing, instructing my (very expensive) solicitor to take my ex-husband to court to finally finalise monetary matters and, best of all, seeing my old mate and, as her hubby used to call her, my partner in crime. As the crow flies she lives about a third of a mile from my house, and yet I hadn’t seen her for two months. Such is my life that I haven’t been able to spare an hour to see one of my oldest, bestest, pregnant and blooming friend and I now want to get down in black and white exactly how shit that feels. I want to note that whilst my constant, relentless, dizzy running around after me and mine goes on, so does other people’s lives. G is now 26 weeks pregnant with her third child and looks beautiful. We have been friends forever and were pregnant together and enjoyed our youngsters at the same time. We’ve spent hundreds of hours together over the years, eating dinners, drinking wine, playing music, and chatting, mainly about children, cooking and gardening and, although we don’t see each other much anymore, we immediately lapsed easily into our ritual of coffee, cookies and chat. We are godparents to each other’s children and we feel like family but seeing her today really hit home at how crap I’ve been at being a friend, her belly literally measures the time that passes. And so I took her up to our new house for her to see where I’m going to be living, planting and cooking. We were lucky enough to get the keys and have a proper nosey round and we both pictured the dinners and the Christmases to come. And I desperately want her to be a part of those.

She gave me fresh mint out of her garden and I’ve just made a salad with it. I bought her peonies to put in a vase. We ate cookies and we stared, in silence, at our new wonderful view across farmland. I never want to forget today, as it really hit home just how cool the basic stuff is. I’m not the best friend in the world but I am trying to get the balance right - I even bought two books today on parenting to try and get the best out of the time I have left, for everyone.

Salute, G, and mums everywhere xxx

Our new home, where our new memories will live with our old ones

Sunday, 31 May 2009

I wrote this entry on 06.05.09 but forgot to actually paste it into the blog, doh!

I cut Luke and Eli’s hair last night, both were pleased with the result. Max has (finally) joined a football team! He plays left midfield for U7s Dynamo. He’s a slow starter compared to his brothers and other boys I know, but I’m really pleased that he’s finally found his confidence about playing in/amongst a team. His first match is on Saturday and I’m gonna miss it because ... ...I’m not going to be a fat bridesmaid on Saturday, wahoo!! Nikki, my best friend, marries Greg on Saturday and I’m sooooo excited for her. At Christmas I couldn’t fit into my bridesmaid dress and vowed to lose enough weight in time for the big day, which I did – a stone don’cha know – and I’ve even had to ‘chub up’ a bit! And today after school I took all three of my boys shopping, which was an experience that I, frankly, was dreading as tired, hungry, bored children in numbers do not usually make for a successful shopping spree, but wedding outfits, football boots and school shoes needed to be purchased....and as it turns out we bought everything needed and in the process we had a ball, I loved, loved, loved the boys company, their opinions on clothes, the fact that we found everything we needed with the price tag that matched and we all came home happy bunnies.

I don’t often spend much quality time with Lukey, as he finishes school so late in the day but today I really wanted to make a note that we had a giggle today, we shared chocolate and frustration at Max’s spoilt behaviour, we chose clothes together and he’s just this minute come into the lounge and, silently, offered me his last piece of millionaire’s/millionaires’ shortbread, he’s my little – big – man.

The wedding has come and gone and was delightful, Nikki and Greg put on a fab day and they are so, so happy - congratulations to them and their sausage of new life.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Meet Morrison

Morrison is Max’s tadpole. Our friend gave us three, two have since perished and are buried in the lawn somewhere. We’ve had Morrison for a couple of weeks now and he’s 50% larger than when he first arrived. He lives in our garden, in a Tupperware container with leaves from a pond. Max named him Morrison as I suspect that was the first word that came into Max’s head when asked what his tadpole’s name was. Max has only ever heard the name Morrison in connection with the supermarket but I like to think that our tadpole is named after Jim Morrison, whose music and lyrics I’m a big fan of, whose rock and roll life fascinates me and his morbid, early death even moreso...

We are eagerly awaiting Morrison to grow legs (but not a beard)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Max and I in the car recently: Starsailor were playing on my iPod and I mentioned that it was a ‘nice song’.

‘Hmmm’ agreed Max, ‘and very relaxing’.

I smiled, I love it when the boys use adjectives.

‘What does relaxing mean to you Max?’ I asked.

‘Well, it’s like sunbathing. But not on the beach. It’s when you let your body go all floppy’.

I smiled again, I like that.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bank Holiday

I’m writing this at the tail end of a lovely ten days off work; I’ve absolutely loved being at home with the boys (including MM's), especially as mum’s at home so I’ve been able to keep an eye on her. She even insisted on taking us all out for a meal, which we enjoyed with Harriet and Rob.

Since my previous post an offer that we made on a different house has been accepted, which threw our minds into chaos as we’d have to choose which property we'd be happiest living in. Very, very pleasant situation to be in but also very difficult as the two houses are quite different. We were still undecided on Sunday so took all the boys to have a look at both. It’s now Tuesday evening and we are still not completely decided, ffs!!!

Yesterday we took our minds off things and went to Lydden race track to watch the rally cross races – boy those cars are quick! We had a great day out with sunshine and a picnic and below is a couple of my favourite pics that we took of the day:

Not content with sitting in the queue to get out of the grounds we entertained ourselves with races:
Ellis and Jack cheating unashamedly...

Finally on the move out and Jack took photos of objects that he found interesting. He's 7...

Big sky by Jack....

Good times!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Our house, in the middle of our street

Wowsers, as Leaf would say, it's been a crazy week. My mum's now home, with a c-pap unit which she'll have to use every night for the rest of her life. It is upsetting, I feel awful for her but at least her condition is now being managed. Hopefully her quality of life will now improve with the use of this machine, giving her more energy and less memory loss. Her bloods were tested and are good today and she appears quite cheery.

Next: I have sold my house! Twice! I accepted an offer on my house last week and then yesterday another person put a higher offer in....ffs, it's become quite a bidding war, which is a grand result for us. Makes all the work we put in worth the ball ache.

Next: We've bought a BH. Yes we have!! We offered on a new build, five bed which was accepted last night, whilst MM and me were having a cheeky drink in the pub. The house isn't in our favourite location but the living space inside is just about big enough for seven of us....I jest, it's great, and I feel very, very lucky. The house is ready to move into, it looks like a doll's house, with a lovely big kitchen, bedroom for each boy, loads of loos so no more waiting in turn and has a sunnyish garden which I can't wait to grow tomatoes and peppers in. I'm a happy bunny, all the agro has been worth it and I'm now coming through the other side, holding hands with MM.

Can't wait to be woken up with his snoring every morning.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Max is ironing, I’m (sitting down for a change and) watching the build up to the Boat Race, don’t care who wins but I do like looking at the very strong men....

Max strikes up a convo:

‘Mum, do you know what a soul is?’

‘I’m not sure, what is it?’

‘It's a little ghost inside your body and when you die it stays there and makes you good. I think.’

Cool, that’s explained then.

I have just re-read my last entry, I sounded so happy, and I was. Unfortunately just hours later my mum was ambulanced to hospital, after blacking out and falling three times. She often does and this is usually put down to her heart condition, atrial fibrillation. My sis and I went with mum to hospital and stayed with her until gone 10pm. She was admitted with respiratory failure but we didn’t know why. A week later she’s still there and we still don’t know why her heart and lungs don’t work properly. She’s been on a ventilator this week and has responded to that but I’m hoping to goodness that this can be managed without her needing to be on a machine for the rest of her life. She didn’t suffer any broken bones this time, but did sprain her ankle badly. Mum’s been on a heart monitor all week, has had CT scans, xrays, blood tests and echo scans – hopefully will have some news soon.
Yesterday she started hobbling round the ward.
I haven’t taken the boys to see her as she’s on a heart ward with some very poorly people (I saw a very old lady dying a couple of days ago) but the boys have been very patient with me, dropping them off here and there, up and down the M20, eating rushed dinners and not having any clean clothes or exciting pack lunches.

Poor mum, she lives alone, is very unwell, disabled and is only 56. She called me mum the other day, broke my heart. Get well soon mum, we’ve got to plant your summer seeds.