Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Birthday bash

Well, it’s a bit hard to believe I’m now 45. It seems rather a grown-up age to be, when I don’t feel a bit like being grown up. (Starting at work at the same time as four other new colleagues who are all pretty much straight out of university has a wonderfully rejuvenating effect on one’s attitude at work, even if life itself is sometimes still making me feel twice my age).

I had a lovely day on Sunday. Thank you for your messages on Facebook and the like :). It started with a lovely breakfast in bed served by my beloved Smudgelet (who hadn’t really forgotten my birthday despite countless not-so-subtle hints, it’s just that I have to wait for my present for a while). Cards and presents opened in bed was a real treat too, and even Charlie cat came and curled up on my feet to greet me (not at all to take advantage of the fact my bedroom door was open and he was able to access forbidden territory).

It was harvest festival at church, followed by a Feast and Famine lunch. Quite sobering, in many ways, and probably the harvest service which has had the biggest impression on me in my 45 years of harvest services. To learn, on a week when I was bemoaning my sudden drop in income, that I am in the top 2% of wages in the world, was indeed sobering. Also to learn that the average life expectancy in Central Africa is about 45… the age I am now.

If you’ve not experienced a Feast and Famine lunch before, the way it works is this. Everyone pays their £5 for the meal and goes through into the hall to take their place at table. On the way we’re given a ticket drawn from a bag. 2/3 of the tickets say “FAMINE” and 1/3 say “FEAST”, indicating which table you’re to sit at. As we walk in, there are three tables laid with beautiful tablecloths and expensive crockery and cutlery. The tables are groaning under the weight of bowls of salad, tomatoes, bread, fruit and cut crystal jugs full of various fruit juices. Very very inviting. Shame my ticket didn’t say “FEAST”.

I had to walk past and to the group of eight tables at the other side of the room. These tables had no tablecloths. They had a paper plate, a white paper serviette, a plastic cup and a plastic spoon in each place setting and an enamel jug full of water in the middle.

We said grace and then the meal began. In came the people to serve us all, carrying huge bowls to each table. To the FEAST tables they carried bowls full of the most tempting-looking chilli con carne, to the FAMINE tables they brought bowls of… yes…. you guessed it… rice.

The Smudgelet was unimpressed to think of being on the FAMINE table when it was actually four whole hours since he’d had his breakfast and he was “quite hungry, actually”. Would you believe it – someone offered to swap their FEAST ticket for his FAMINE one, and he seized the chance, abandoning me on my birthday to my plate of rice and scooting off to fill his face on the FEAST table without a smidgeon of guilt whatsoever!!! I blame the parents!

Of course, it will come as no surprise to know that the people on the FEAST tables were given not only enough to fill their stomachs, but plenty more besides. First our table was visited by someone bearing tomatoes. Then someone with bread and real butter. I have to say, that bread and butter tasted divine. That in itself was really telling – when we had expected and prepared ourselves for only rice, something as simple as bread and butter really tasted like heaven on earth. Then, of course, the whole meal followed and was shared equally amongst the tables, and very lovely it was too… especially the pudding! 🙂

I had felt a little guilty during the service when the minister had exhorted those of us on the famine table not to fill up later with goodies from the cupboard but to cope with the simple meal for the day – I knew what was waiting for me at home. I had two of the nicest visitors I could ask for for a birthday tea… my friend and my new Goddaughter 😀 And a birthday tea it was…. even down to the jelly and icecream, and a chocolate muffin with a candle in it!

I went to bed happy, and quite content to be 45. Life is said to begin at 40. The years from 40 to 44 were hard ones, I have to admit. But this year I am 45. My whole life lies ahead of me and I aim to make the most of it. My resolutions for my 45th year are to spend more time with friends and write more letters too; to worry less and relax more; to get fitter so that I can enjoy everything to the full; to focus on my Local Preacher training so that I can get it finished with only a minimal extension (even though minimal may be a couple of years – if indeed an extension is granted at all); to regain my lost confidence, to try to deal with things promptly and to have FUN.

SO sorry, no time to sit here playing on computers, I need to get the ironing out of the way so that I can play play play on my day off tomorrow.

Eye Eye

My appointment with the neurologist is on Saturday. It will be interesting to see what they say. (Hopefully not that I have to stop using the computer!!!) The good news is that my headaches have stopped, at least for now. The eyes are still dodgy – I can see double at the moment but I’m just ignoring it. Saturday they were awful, Sunday and Monday they were fine. I don’t know whether I want them to get better quick or stay bad long enough for me to be able to tell the neurologist what’s wrong!

I went to my boss the other day to ask him two questions, using my fingers (politely!) to count off the questions.
“Smudgie, before you say anything I need to get one thing straight. When you say you want to ask me two questions, do you mean one question, two questions or four questions?”
I look at him, wondering what planet he’s on.
“It’s just that I can see two fingers and I just want to make sure how many you can see” !!!!

I got my revenge, though. We came back from a trip in the minibus, and my boss saw me helping unload the wheelchairs and came up to me to say…
“Smudgie, please don’t tell me you were driving the minibus while your eyes are not right. Please don’t tell me that!”
“It’s OK, Mr Boss, don’t worry. You know those road signs which say “Use both lanes”? Well, I obeyed them to the letter 🙂 ”

I’m in the doghouse

Me: You forgot to set your alarm last night. Come on, it’s time to get up and ready for school

Zombie emerges, looking as though dragged through a hedge backwards, and shuffles into kitchen in search of school uniform.
Some time later…

Me: Have you had your breakfast yet?
S: I’m just getting washed and dressed.

Some time later….

Me: Have you had your breakfast yet?
S: I’m just getting washed and dressed.
Me: You’d better get a move on, love, or you won’t have time to eat your breakfast.

Some time later….

Me: Have you had your breakfast yet>
S: No, I’m just getting ready for school.
Me: You’d better get a move on, love, or you won’t have time to eat your breakfast.

Some time later…

Me: Have you had your breakfast yet?
S: I’m just getting it.

Some time later….

Me: What is that noise? What are you doing?
S: no reply
Me: What is that noise? What are you doing?
S: no reply
Me: Smudgelet, what are you doing?
S: Putting my Lego away… (said in that irritating teenager tone where the intonation rises at the end as though it is a question or as though blatently obvious)
Me: Have you finished your breakfast?
S: No, not yet.
Me: There’s no time for messing with Lego (the Lego which I’d actually put away in the middle of the night) or you’ll miss your bus. Finish your breakfast. Now.

Three minutes later…
S: Oh great, it’s time to go for the bus and I haven’t had time to finish my breakfast! It’s so unfair.

Me: Goodbye, have a good day at school.

Oh, I am SUCH an unreasonable mother!