Monthly Archives: July 2010

What. A. Day.

First the mad dash into the big city. I still can hardly believe I live near enough to London to “pop in for coffee” – surreal! But it was extremely nice to see several lovely shippie people, albeit fleetingly as I had to leave to get back for my afternoon shift. This is the life, though. I could have got some lovely photos, if only my SD card hadn’t gone mysteriously missing. (“SMUDGE-LE-E-ET!!!”) The sun shone, the coffee was just the right strength for my liking, and I managed to resist the temptation to have a chelsea bun.

Then the mad dash back to work (via the flat for a toilet stop!), just in time to find myself drafted in to blow up balloons. Now isn’t that better than SATs tests and league tables? It was party night tonight and we had fun! It’s lovely when one’s work is just like being part of a big family. Also lovely when the kids spend so much energy on partying that they’re all ready for bed nice and early and fall straight to sleep!

Then finally the mad dash home to go into the ship cafe for a reunion of all the cafe folk of the dim and distant past. Weird, actually – it seems a long time ago those crazy cafe days. But lovely to catch up with people once again and to find myself once more at the computer at pumpkin hour, forgetting the stresses of everyday life and rediscovering those carefree days just a little bit. Good to break ice, too, in several ways. Goodness knows how I’ll wake in time to get the place tidy for the babysitter tomorrow, though. Wish I had never had the genius idea of taking advantage of the Smudgelet’s absence to empty all the boxes all over the flat. Tomorrow will end up being a mad dash to repack everytthing ready for next time he goes away!!! But still, having fun was… well… quite simply too much fun to miss, and the housework will still be there tomorrow.


There’s nothing like the window cleaner appearing at your bedroom window when you’re sitting in your (rather skimpy, due to the hot weather) nightie at the computer (alongside said window) playing around on the internet at midday to remind you that you are supposed to be working.

Not that I hadn’t done any work, I hasten to add. No, I work best in my nightclothes, believe it or not, and I was only having a coffee break, honest gov.

But I have worked and worked and worked and reached that point now where I’ve run out of a) enthusiasm, b) space to “put stuff”, and c) enthusiasm. You know that point, the point where you’ve made it all a million times worse in the preparation stage of making it all better, you know you’re going to have to make it a million times worser still (if only that were a word), and now there’s no going back but you’re going to have to redouble your efforts if you’re going to move forward…. or even if you’re going to have somewhere to sleep tonight!


Today there is no putting it off. There is no excuse. Procrastination will be punishable by … er… hold on while I complete another game of bejewelled blitz while I think of a suitable punishment.

Today I MUST do some work in this flat.

When we had to break in, the Smudgelet, in being brave and helpful, also managed to cause an avalanche in my room where I keep all the as-yet-un-unpacked boxes. They are now semi-unpacked….. all over the bedroom floor…. and causing a barricade to anyone who wants to get to the windows, the garden door, the computer. (By “anyone” I mean, of course, ME). I can no longer stand climbing over the bed to get online.

Something. Must. Be. Done.

The time is five past midnight

Just got in from fetching the Smudgelet from Scouts.

Interesting to discover that we’d never make it as burglars.

Despite two windows having been left open, and a larger one being fairly insecure, the Smudgelet and I were unable to manoevre his now-much-bigger body in sufficiently without breaking any bones in the process. We even managed to get the back door open…. about four inches. Well, it is the door which has all the boxes still piled in front of it.

In the process, the Smudgelet and his trousers parted company. Interesting how many people walked past totally oblivious to the woman and the boy in his underpants trying to break into a house at night by the light of a mobile phone. (A mobile phone which was decidedly lacking in credit)

Thank goodness we have free calls to my brother. From Scotland he was able to go online and find the details of our nearest locksmith.

Know how long it took him to break in? Thirty seconds. Thirty seconds! £112 for thirty seconds of work. I’m in the wrong job!

Next time I go to fetch the Smudgelet from Scouts, remind me to check that I’ve picked the right keyring up.

Milk purchased and coffee drunk

It was nice to take a break and have a stroll along to the greengrocer.
Why don’t greengrocers sell chocolate? (Our greengrocer conveniently sells milk!)

Lounge complete. Car cleaned out – well, the bits that are visible to people accepting lifts are, anyway.

Sense of self-satisfiedness – pretty good.

Boy delivered to Scouts. My life’s my own now until it’s time to pick him up. (I rang in sick at work – depression basically – needed a day to come to terms with what I learned yesterday). Think I’ll meander along to the Ship of Fools cafe and see if I can still remember how to babble inanely.

What do you mean, when did I ever stop?


Out of milk.
How did that happen?
How can I carry on without caffeine?
I’ll be back after a short emergency-ration-seeking walk.
(which may or may not also involve chocolate)

Second break

… and it’s going well. The kitchen is clean and shiny – even the fridge. OK, so I’m lying about the fridge, but at least I’ve cleared it of all the food that was heading past its sell-by date and rapidly towards its “wear protective clothing before touching” date… which at least means that when I do clean it it will be a doddle as it’s now practically empty. Who needs food, eh?

In taking the rubbish out I had a burst of “isn’t it nice to be outside, even though the weather’s a bit foul” and so deadheaded all the roses and trimmed back the triffid and had a general tidy round in the garden, just in case I don’t get as far as the lounge and so go back to the plan of taking my visitor to sit in the garden (under an umbrella!).

I’ve used weapons of mass-fleastruction in the hall, bathroom and loo and have yet more waiting for the lounge – just in case. I never had any problems with Charlie getting fleas (apart from once) on the Island but here it’s an ongoing battle. Bless ‘im.

Pete, I like the penance idea. I use it at work, actually – when I make a mistake at work or deliberately wind up the shift leader, I take on a job that nobody else wants to do as penance. In fact, yesterday I notched up a few penances in advance :o)

First break

Hamster cages all clean and shiny and full of busy little bodies exploring their newly organised furniture and remaking their beds.

Bathroom and toilet clean and tidy and flea powder put down on the carpet prior to vacuuming later (just in case!)

Lounge sort of slightly tidier-ish…. I’ll leave that till the last minute, though, when the Smudgelet’s gone to camp for fear of throttling him when he comes in and throws all his stuff around the room.

Next task, now that my coffee is drunk and my lexulous games are up to date…… (drum roll) the ….. kitchen! Bleugh!!!!!

A kick in the proverbial place

Having just scored a tremendous score in Bejewelled Blitz, I am now in a position to give myself a kick up the backside and stop feeling sorry for myself.
Tomorrow (cue great excitement) the Smudgelet goes away to camp (yippee), but more to the point, I am being visited by a friend whom I have not seen in years and years and years… and add a few more years to that. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards most years since parting at the age of about fifteen but have only actually managed to see each other once or twice… and only before I had the boys. Prior to that she was my bestest friend…. until she went away to boarding school after the sudden death of her father.
My excitement at looking forward to seeing her is somewhat hampered by the fact that the flat is a mess. I have contemplated taking her straight to Painshill Park and trying to persuade her that that is my home…. I have contemplated saying “wouldn’t it be nice to sit in the garden” and taking her straight round through the back gate…. I have contemplated ringing her and suggesting we postpone for another ten years…. but no, the proverbial kick is in order and I am intent now on making some headway into the bombsite which is my home….. even if I hide everything in the Smudgelet’s bedroom – the equivalent of under the carpet!
I shall not return to this place until at least one room is more habitable.
If you see me, poke me with a sharp stick and send me forth.


It’s a funny thing, this guilt business.

People say to me, sometimes, that I am bound to feel guilty about what happened with my eldest son but that I shouldn’t because I did everything I could for him and gave him every opportunity. Their words are really reassuring. They are so reassuring that, looking back, I can see that I have no reason to feel guilty, that his problems are far more deep seated than anything I could have put right. But to say that I don’t feel guilty doesn’t feel right. I feel guilty for not feeling guilty, as surely a good mother WOULD feel guilty, it’d be the natural reaction to the situation as that is why everyone offers me that reassurance that I have nothing to feel guilty about.

That’s not to say that I haven’t done things which I’d do differently if I had my time again… except that I probably wouldn’t as I think they are all-too-human mistakes. I can’t imagine parenting without doing or saying anything that wasn’t the textbook response or a response that was regretted. I’ve always set my sights on being a “good enough” mum, knowing that sometimes I’d fall below that standard and get it wrong, but also hoping that the times I exceed that standard and do a really good job will balance that out.

Today, though, I feel guilty for being overwhelmed by my own kids’ problems when, in comparison to many, they are so insignificant… also for getting so frustrated with the Smudgelet when I have almost limitless patience with the children with whom I work. Why am I so overwhelmed by the news that the Smudgelet is showing signs of something which is not insurmountable and would explain a lot, that this time people are actually listening to my concerns and doing something about them instead of dismissing them as inconvenient or exaggerated, news that actually doesn’t really change anything and simply puts a slightly different label on them. It’s irrational to feel guilty. But sadly guilt doesn’t follow rules of logic, does it? And I can’t help getting worn out and exhausted by handling events like last night’s on a daily basis.

There we were, sitting on the sofa together watching TV while I sewed a name label on the case of his new (and very trendy) sunglasses which I’d just bought for him to take to Scout Camp tomorrow. The pinger sounded on the oven to remind me that the chips needed turning over, so I extracated myself from under his legs (I was sitting, he was lying with his legs over my lap), put the sewing down half way through, raced to the kitchen, turned the chips, raced back, put myself down under his legs again and resumed my sewing and televiewing with the word “Right..” (meaning, right, now that’s done I can get on with doing what I was doing and enjoying).

Immediately from the Smudgelet “What do you mean, right?”
“I mean, right, now that the chips are cooking again, I can get on and get this sewing finished and watch this programme with you for a bit longer”
“No you don’t. You were going to say something important and you’re not telling me.”
“No, I have nothing I was building up to saying. I just meant that I could get on with things without interruption for a bit longer”
“You didn’t. You were going to say something and then you changed your mind and I want to know what it was. What aren’t you telling me?”
“You don’t need to feel paranoid,” (was my slightly frustrated reply), “There is no deep and significant meaning to my saying ‘right’, it was just a word I used to change from one activity to another. There is nothing I was about to say to you apart from asking you whether you’d want tomato sauce or cheese on your chips.”
“I hate this, you’re not being honest with me. You’re always doing this. It’s all very well saying that you didn’t mean anything but I don’t believe you, so you might as well tell me what it was you were going to say”.
I suggested he go into his room for a few minutes while I sorted the tea out, seeing as it was a no-win situation yet again. He goes into his room. I go to take him his chips and, yes, yet again he has climbed out of the window and run away. Last time, a week ago, it was because I’d refused to have an argument with him (he was in the wrong – had done something really naughty (naughtiest thing he’d ever done, I think) – and I tried to keep the discussion calm and not lose my temper so he ran away. Honestly, teenagers… who’d have ’em?