Friday 10 October 2008

Monster Mash

It's just about tthe middle of October, and for the first time not a word has been mentioned about Halloween. And that's a surprise. Usually we have two months of trick or treat planning, with me living in dread of having to be the escort the boy and his friends to make sure that only the right sort of mischief happens. The rot set in I think when we moved to the Forest, where the trick or treat culture was not widely accepted amongst the coiffured Essex parents ( presumably fake blood and rubber masks interfere with golden tans and bleached locks), so it was always a struggle to find accompanying children to terrorise (sorry I mean entertain) the neighbourhood and in any case, knocking on doors could be quite unrewarding in all senses.

Back in deepest, darkest Finsbury Park, it was an annual highlight with every house stuffed full to the gills with sweets and other delights so that a continuous trail of hideously made-up children could be satiated. In fact it was so busy that you could end up queuing at the best was easy to know which ones to go to as they always had a halloween lamp in the window...I suppose that's much the same as the red lights in the windows of certain houses in Amsterdam (I'm told).

Hopefully though we will still get to carve a pumpkin lamp which is always messy fun...several years ago, we bought a kit from Sainsbury's which had fantastically elaborate templates, and it's been used every year since to create weird and wonderful illuminations which take pride of place in the living room window until eventually they go soft and a little bit smelly.

On the other hand though, perhaps as the boy is now a teen, child like activities should be consigned to the memory bank just like the Disney movies which I no longer get to see (why wouldn't he come with me to see Wall E?). At least there's the DVDs to watch.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Bring me sunshine

In just over a week we're off to the wonderful warm, sunny eastern mediterranean to visit Grandma in Cyprus (hello grandma). It's exciting for a number of reasons including - sunshine and warmth have been badly missed this year and we need to recharge our batteries - I'm very fed up with nodding off at 9.00 in the middle of some repeat on Dave; also Grandma was lucky enough to win a day out on a luxury power boat complete with lucnh and sea scooter...and as it is for four people, the boy and I get to share in the win...providing the water's not too choppy (evidently); not fogetting that it will be nice to catch up; grandma has bought a scooter so we can zap around as we like

However, there will be some downsides. Firstly, I'm sure I'll get it in the neck for failing to settle down (again)...I want to ask what it is about our family that everyone seems to discourage keeping in's a strange anomaly....and, well, that's it really.

The excitment mounts....!

Wednesday 8 October 2008

money, money, money

Timing is everything. It seems that inspite of renaming my diary only at the weekend, now is in fact the time to panic...certainly in the city there is nothing but blind panic and there is no manual to read. Just a year or so ago I remember reading a survey that showed we had more trust in our banks than we do in our local councils or national politicians...and that trust in our national institutions had declined at an alarming rate over the last decade. But now it seems that the bedrock of UK plc is in tatters and there is no one left to trust.

The current financial shannanigans, has caused a mild sweat to break father's will has still not been sorted out (why do the authorities take so long when you really need these things sorted out with military precision so you can move on emotionally) and the tidy sum that constitutes my inheritance is tied up in HBOS. Reassurances from the IFA that the government won't let the Halifax go down, have been said whilst he has his fingers firmly crossed I'm sure. Hopefully today's action by the government will help, but I foresee many months of uncertainty ahead. And I'm certainly better off than my colleague who has some thousands of pounds in Icesave and even as I write is probably running round wondering whether she will ever see her money again. Thank heavens her impressively grounded husband will be a calming influence!

The inheritance is important because for almost my entire life Dad only ever gave cash, albeit generous amounts, as Christmas and birthday presents, and it seems that his parting gift will be only cash...not even a token of something that was truly him. So I'd like to get it out of the way, just to give me a space to reflect on our relationship. It's for this reason that I strain myself creatively when it comes to buying presents for the boy - last Christmas days were spent trying to track down a tent...not easy to do in mid-winter evidently, and hopefully all my presents are thoughtful, relevant and surprising. That's the aim any way....just please don't mention it's only 79 days to Christmas...time for me to don my thinking cap.

In the WAGS triangle that we inhabit it is custom amongst the boy's contemporaries to give money when they go to each other's parties. I've imposed my own rules on the boy, and he, amongst the few, always roles up with a present...sometimes this may be an iTunes gift card, sometimes a book, or something else....but never, ever money. It seems all wrong.