Wednesday 13 August 2008

How long are the summer holidays?/I wish I was a mother

I'm sure I'm not alone in remembering the long hot school holidays of our youth. Days of eternal sunshine matched with endless forays into distant countryside on cycles and interspersed with dips in ponds until chased away by irate farmers. So how come The Boy's summer holiday is going on for an eternity of rain, wind and a wintry chill. Rather than meet up with friends, he'd rather spend his days on MSN...or sometimes more productively learning the next Stereophonics song to play on his guitar. Vague thoughts of coming into town with me to go to the climbing centre are long gone.

It does appear though that some of the mothers at the school are better at putting their kids together, and I hear the odd tale of children going on holidays with other families. So it seems that my joint role as mother and father is not quite as successful as it should be. From my lop-sided viewpoint I think that women are much better at building networks for both themselves and their offspring. Last year it all seemed to work better with holidays with two grandmothers and friends leaving just a week or so of down time...this year an unrelenting disaster. :-(

Monday 11 August 2008

Flash the cash

I was reliably informed last week that we live at one corner of the Wags Triangle...which consists of Loughton, Chigwell and our very own Buckhurst Hill. Its a bit like the Bermuda Triangle but with a bit more gold, fake tan and bleached blonde hair. However the more I think about the more a fairly unpalatable image of living in a WAG's triangle sticks in my head. May be a therapist can sort me out.

Living where we do is like living in a cartoon as everybody is stereotypical Essex...right down to the white stiletto boots and fish-wife language spoken in Harry Enfield's Loadsamoney voice....

...and in the same way he always had a wad of cash, so too is it here. Up at Woodford Green, there's a tatty little Italian restaurant that always has (literally) two Bentley Continental GT Convertibles parked outside as well as various Porsches, Range Rovers and sparkly cars. It only takes cheques, no credit or debit cards. And the same is true of The Player, a very swanky restaurant down Buckhurst Hill High Street. As I never carry more than £100 cash at a time, we'll never be welcomed with open arms.

Just up the road, is the brand spanking new RS Lounge club, bar and restaurant...I think they might take cards, but the VIP tables have a 'minimum spend policy'...the opening night, to which we were not invited included numerous actors and actresses (apologies to the PC set) from East Enders, Coronation Street and the like...I didn't know who they were until I googled them. Fortunately I knew the DJ - Boy George, and I hope he was doing it with a twist of post-modern irony!

We love Essex we do...but methinks the boy and I will always be outsiders...the tan painfully gained by lying flat out on the pebbles of Brighton Beach for five hours a couple of weeks ago seems to agree by having peeled itself from by back, my front, my legs and arms leaving me rather blotchy rather than the smooth orange that marks a true born and bred Essex boy.

The art of origami

Origami is a wonderful ancient art of turning something very dull into something remarkably interesting; something of little value into something that aesthetically is priceless. I wonder if all parents should learn origami so they can teach it to their offspring. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that if children knew the art of folding, then life would be less fraught. Examples where it could be applied are as follows:

towels in the bathroom - usually abandoned in the middle of the floor in a damp mound - but even when after some strong encouragement to put them on the rack, they still are just screwed up...evidently so long as they don't touch the floor then that is on a par with my own neatly folded and hung towel

laundry - extracted from the washing machine is either just stuffed into the airing cupboard...presumably on the assumption that because as it was washed on the reduced crease setting, then no matter how tightly crushed together the garments, they won't crease...or thrown over the rotating washing line (what is the proper word for one of those?). Last week saw the boy put his clothes on the line on Monday morning...well piled on top at least...and there they stayed through the rain on Monday night, into Tuesday and indeed Wednesday, before being hauled in on Thursday...and piled on top of the washing machine door. Well rinsed, and looking like crepe paper. I should mention that I was on strike, having been frustrated by the constant mess in his bedroom. Eventually I relented and folded the washing into the airing cupboard.

Ironed clothes...yes folded already...but regularly to be found scrunched up on the bedroom floor, or if they've made it into the drawer, stuffed in like a finger in a leaking dyke....

If all else fails there is always where you can see a T-shirt being folded in a couple of seconds.