Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Careers advice

The children and I were chatting idly about life and stuff the other day, when Child Two piped up. 'I want to find a nice boyfriend at university,' she confided.

Fair enough, I thought, and not at all difficult to achieve. University was, I dimly remember, a place uniquely well-stocked with potential boyfriends in my young day, several millennia ago - though, looking back on it, I'm not sure how many were nice.

'Why do you want a boyfriend?' Child One asked her. Child One has already informed me that my example has put her off men for life.

'I want to get married straight after university, so that I'll never have to get a job,' said Child Two blithely.


Has it come to this? And what have I done? It's all very well for Child One to forswear men - frankly, it's a relief, as she is already ridiculously gorgeous and I am not looking forward to the succession of ghastly pimply suitors who will inevitably besiege Divorce Towers, as not one of them - NOT ONE, do you hear - will ever be good enough for my perfect, lovely girl. But for Child Two to be hoping to lasso a mealticket when she is still just a speck of a thing is, quite honestly, extremely disturbing. Was it for this that Emily Davison threw herself under the king's horse at the 1913 Derby? Did the Pankhursts chain themselves to all those horrid cold railings in vain? Was Andrea Dworkin strapping on those dungarees for nothing??

But, before asking those big questions, I had to check something with Child Two. 'You do know that Mummy works, don't you, darling?' I trilled. Well, it's true. In between surfing eBay, writing this blog, fretting about my dearest darling True Love, ferrying the little dears to their bassoon classes and searching in the undergrowth for imaginary pumas (see Beast of Herne Hill and Guardian Angels entries) I have been known to knock out the odd thought-provoking article.

'Yes, I know you work,' said Child Two, in 'more fool you' tones. 'But lots of Mummies don't. Like X, Y and Z. And A, B and C. And they seem to have a really nice time. They shop,' said Child Two wistfully.

'I'm sure they do, darling. But it's nice to do something really useful with your life, too,' I said, bracingly, as I juggle my eBay bids. I have two promisingly cheap indoor rabbit hutches on the go.

'I think shopping is very useful. Isn't everyone sad because no-one is shopping enough at the moment?'

I cannot fault this excellent analysis of the current economic downturn - so much more concise than any of those endless economics editors on Newsnight. Ah well, if I can see my darling Child Two as the saviour of the British economy, I suppose I can reconcile myself to her total lack of interest in anything even resembling a career.

But it does bring it all home. I so don't want my babies to start dating. Love can be a painful business. I'm not sure I can sit and watch my own dear treasures making this discovery for themselves. I make a mental note that I must start laying in stocks of Kleenex for the darlings - and, for their swains, a nice big Khalashnikov.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Guardian angels

Well, thank goodness for the Streatham Guardian. This public-spirited paper has taken it upon itself to ensure that the good folk of Herne Hill can sleep easy in their beds at night, with no risk of waking up with ginormous teeth-marks in their ankles, or indeed in any footballs, bikes or scooters left in their gardens.

I have told the whole story of the Beast of Burbage Road to an intrepid reporter, who blanched at the thought of the horrors we had been through. Well, actually, we were talking on the phone but I could tell from his voice that he was blanching. It's a gift I have.

When I had run through the catalogue of gnawed Croc shoes, slashed gardening gloves and balls bitten to shreds, we both agreed that there was no way it could be a fox. 'What do you think it could be, then?' I asked tremulously. 'Sounds like ......a puma,' said Intrepid. A puma! The Puma of Peckham! Of course it is.....oh my God, I've been so brave!

A photographer shot round immediately to document the evidence. Unfortunately, I have thrown away the gardening glove, mangled Croc, Ikea cat tent and two of the balls. Well, you can't have OCPD and a well-preserved collection of artefacts chewed by unsanitary beasts, it just isn't possible. But I had kept the disembowelled Moomintroll softball, bought in Sweden, to show to True Love, who was there when I bought it. Luckily, I had resisted the temptation to bleach it a bit and sew up the gouge marks, so it was in authentically mangled condition and the snapper was perfectly happy. He then took several shots of the delightful Jiffy, brought out of her cage to scamper on the lawn, looking suitably terrified at the idea of the Puma of Peckham and carefully showing her best profile at all times, like the superstar she is.

It should all be in the paper soon, probably with quotes from various wildlife experts praising us for extreme sang froid in the face of peril, and a picture of our softball. If that doesn't scare off the Puma of Peckham, I just don't know what will. But I think I will put a couple of extra padlocks on Jiffy's cage just in case.....

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Hound of Herne Hill

The other morning, when I woke up Child One to get her to school (now no easy process, as she bought her one-way ticket to adolescentville some time ago, and sleeps like a gorgeous hibernating bear) I threw back the curtains with my usual gusto. And stopped. And stared.

On the lawn was a ghastly, hunched, black shape. Not moving.

My first thought was little Jiffy, our lovely little bunny. Could she somehow have got out in the night, and squished herself into a weird - very weird - position? Had Mme Bovary, our catty, finally got the better of the jumped-up snack, something she has been casually threatening for some time?

As the sky grew less grey, and I peered anxiously out, I could see that the shape, while still mysterious, did not, thank goodness, resemble eviscerated bunny rabbit. I moved on to waking Child Two, chivvyed both downstairs and did my utmost to forget the whole thing, assembling breakfast, nagging about lunchboxes, finding gym kits and generally distracting the treasures from the potentially grisly object, which, I decided, I would investigate much later - if at all. Maybe it would just go of its own accord! Then True Love sauntered downstairs (I do love him so) and said, 'What the hell's that out on the lawn?' Before I knew it he was out there on the grass, poking the object with a stick and then bringing it back in triumph.

It was, dear readers, an enormous blackened old gardening glove - ripped to shreds. By some very big teeth.

Since then, the Creature with the Big Teeth has slashed its way through one Croc shoe and an Ikea cat tent and then, yesterday, the lawn was covered with big white blobs when we woke up. Cotton wool? Gulp - feathers??

It wasn't until I'd taken my courage in both hands (TL was not with us. Don't say a word please!), several hours after the school run was done, that I discovered the white stuff was, in fact, the innards of a particularly fine softball we'd bought in Sweden, which had been shredded by, yes, you've guessed it, some incredibly big teeth.

The strange thing is that the Creature never disturbs me at night, though I am the lightest sleeper since the Princess of pea fame. Who is it? What is it? And what does it all mean for Jiffy, who has firmly been declared a Garden Bunny and is scheduled to winter outside?

I don't have the answers. All I know is that Jiffy is looking anxious - and Mme Bovary is smiling her lovely furry catty smile.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Merci buckets

Just in the nick of time, gorgeous Tarte Tartan has stepped forward and saved me from despair with her too, too sweet I Love Your Blog award. Je t'embrasse, TT, if that's not too forward, and I'm only sorry I can't award it straight back to you as it is so richly deserved.

Instead, I have the fun of conferring this tremendous honour on other lovely blog friends, Goodbye to All Fat, Hadriana's Treasures, Potty Mum, Nunhead Ramblings, Alcoholic Daze and Very Lost in France. I shall be dropping little messages in their postboxes forthwith. Enjoy!

Wilful neglect

My darlings, I'm so sorry I have neglected you. Needless to say, various shenanigans have occupied my every waking moment, to an extent which makes any other threads of rational thought a near impossibility. Normal service will be resumed soon. I hope.