Thursday, 20 August 2009

Excess baggage

Yippee, the girls will be back tomorrow!

Not quite such yippee, they are bringing exactly 42kg of dirty washing with them.

Though a smidgeon of clothes washing was achieved at their first holiday stop, all that good work, brought about by constant drilling from me that they might mention to Mr X the concept of the washing machine, without him getting wind of the importance of the issue and going into reverse, they have since moved on to holiday destination number two, where there is no washing machine, and they have worn absolutely everything, they told me cheerfully.

And we are leaving the day after tomorrow for my holiday with the children. Which means that either I turn into a washing whirlwind the moment they get through the door, and resign myself to packing damp or frankly wet stuff that will smell, crease and probably do its damndest to go mouldy, or I accept the fact that I will be loading 42kgs of grubby kit onto a plane, only to have to wash it when I get on 'holiday'.

The washing frenzy is something I am not much inclined to contemplate; after 14 child-free days, I am in a strange grown-up zone where I think nothing of popping out for an impromptu drink or going to the movies on a week night and without organising a babysitter. I am not in a manic, washing-till-dawn, mode. I am laid back, I am zen.

Well, that's all a lie. I am, actually, just much too fat to rush around washing, as I have been stuffing peanuts night and day and now resemble nothing so much as one of those lovely bags of flour they used to have on Trumpton (I think) as milled by Windy Miller. There were four little ear-type protuberances, one at each corner of these sacks, which are like my limbs, standing out proud and useless from the enormous, round, peanut-rammed belly. Yum. There's no way I can get upstairs to hang out the washing, even if I could muster the energy to stuff it into the machine. Which I can't, so there.

Of course, it'll all be different when I actually get on holiday, when all my energy will come zipping back. It'll have to. The cherubs have had a fantastic time, going to sweet factories, kayaking, frolicking in Tuscan vineyards and the like. I shall have to get off my peanut-engorged arse and show them a good time if it kills me. Not that Mr X and I are in mortal combat over who gives the best holiday, or anything. Much. Actually, I really am thrilled that he's found them some great things to do, even though it sets the bar so high I can barely see over it.

Anyway, think of me on Saturday, when the nice BA check-in girl will ask me at Heathrow if I packed all the bags myself and if I have any toxic substances to declare. No, I didn't pack the offsprings' bags and, frankly, I wouldn't want to handle any of the contents even with tongs. And I certainly have no toxic substances to declare - oh, unless you count the 28 pairs of rancid socks, of course.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The pits

I felt I really should alert you all to a scary new advert which lurched out of the TV at me last night. It featured two implausibly attractive young things, with long, golden limbs, cavorting about on a rug. You can picture it - they are carefree, gorgeous, they are so not fretting about whether they left the iron on upstairs or where the next mortgage payment is coming from. They are obviously In Love and it was all rather sweet, even though the girl was wearing the sort of weeny strappy top I haven't been able to get for at least twenty years, due to bras, gravity, bingo wings, odd little spurs of back flab squeezing out of said bras and now, of all things, an incipient crepey chest.

Then the girl turned to the boy in the ad and said - wait for it - words to the effect of 'which part of my body do you like best?'. At this point I lurched from my prone, peanut-eating position on the sofa, almost spilling my Chardonnay, to shout, 'no! No! Are you mad?'

Everyone knows you should never ask a man a leading question like that! Admittedly, the reason I know this particularly well is that I made a similar mistake earlier in the week - after all my years of experience, doh! - and am still wincing over my psychological bruises. It's not great when you don't get the right answer.

The girl then leaps up, exposing several hundred yards of tanned, silky thigh, and pirouettes around, asking the guy if he likes her bum, her boobs, etc's really a bit of a questionable ad, now that I come to describe it. He shakes his head, she lies down again and finally he answers her, by wordlessly stroking her armpit.

Her armpit!!! I mean, WTF? As if it's not stressful enough keeping some sort of handle on the major trouble spots, like legs, stomach, breasts, chin, face, facial hair, nostril hair, other creeping bits of hair too vile to mention we have to work on our bloomin' armpits as well!

This time, I'm simply not having it. All right, the ad was for a deoderant (Nivea I think) so some sort of glancing reference to armpits was, I suppose, inevitable. But I absolutely refuse to start stressing out over the less than beauteous state of my pits and be forced to treat them as yet another potential erogenous zone which needs regular preening. They are just armpits, so there.

Next time, I would suggest that the man turns to the girl in the ad and says, maybe in a jokey sort of way, 'any parts you think I ought to work on?' The girl could, by the very faintest movement of her eyes, indicate his groinage area. Hah! That would teach them what insecurity feels like.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Important Health Advice for Women

I'm indebited to my dear friend C for this vital information which all women should take very much to heart. Needless to say, she is a fully qualified doctor (of philosophy ..... or something):

"Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Do you suffer from shyness? Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive? If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. It can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Sauvignon Blanc almost immediately and, with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live. Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living.

Sauvignon Blanc may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use it. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.


* The consumption of Sauvignon Blanc may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
* The consumption of Sauvignon Blanc may cause you to tell your friend over and over again that you love them.
* The consumption of Sauvignon Blanc may cause you to think you can sing.
* The consumption of Sauvignon Blanc may make you think you can converse enthusiastically with members of the opposite sex without spitting.
* The consumption of Sauvignon Blanc may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people."

Please feel free to share this important information with as many women as you feel may benefit! Now just imagine what you could achieve with a good Chardonnay .....

Monday, 10 August 2009

A weighty issue

Well, the girls have gone off on holiday, they're having a lovely time and inevitably, I've ripped open the chocolate peanuts. I said I wouldn't, and I lasted, oh, nearly six hours before tucking in. Sigh.

All right, so it's not the end of the world. Peanuts are packed with protein, chocolate contains iron, I know all this because I tell myself I'm not naughty and evil for eating too much of the wrong things. But, at the same time, it makes me feel like crap, giving in to my baser, chocoholic side and eating something which is, frankly, a bit low-rent. These aren't even nice chocolate peanuts, you see. They're Morrisons, and contain maybe 20 per cent cocoa solids - barely qualifying for the title 'chocolate', really. I might as well go and eat a block of lard.

I've had an odd relationship with food all my life. For reasons I won't bore you with (actually, I simply can't bear to write about it), I've always had a desire to hide my body and there's no better way, really, than with flab. Then again, occasionally, I've swung the other way and got very thin. The thing I find hardest is to maintain any sort of stable weight.

A lot of women suffer from the same problem. Some of them face up to it properly, as I really can't, and one of them is my lovely friend Linda, of and who has written this post about binge eating. It's searingly honest, and beautifully written. What a brave lady.

Friday, 7 August 2009


I cannot BELIEVE it is a week since my last post, that is just so so so naughty of me, and there's no excuse, except of course the crippling jetlag after our weekend in Wales. Oh, oops, that's right jetlag. Not even a time difference. It just feels as though I'm permanently a few hours behind.

That's because the girls and I have settled into a gorgeous routine. Child Two is up first, before even the doughtiest sparrow stirs on Herne Hill, and starts watching acres of TV in blissful solitude. She loves TV with a passion and is perfectly happy curled up on the sofa wrapped in a chenille throw watching shows that she is, oh, at least ten years too old for. Eventually, I stagger downstairs and make her watch Horrible Histories with me - well, it's educational, isn't it? Then, much, much, much later, Child One totters down, hair in genuine dragged-out-of-bed disorder, hardly speaking, but still making it plain somehow that she requires breakfast NOW. So we all eat and are usually just finished in time for the Sarah Jane Adventures at 11 (yes, I'm almost blushing at this, but am shameless enough to admit that it's great. Sarah Jane is the only sidekick that Dr Who had when I was young who was pretty and possessed of a brain. Now in her, what, fifties, she is still lovely and still saving the planet from assorted scary monsters, with a trio of teenagers in tow. Best of all, she has a lovely Figaro car in pistachio green and I really want one).

After Sarah Jane has daringly defeated evil again, we are almost ready for lunch. This will be bagels, wraps or just bread from the breadmaker, with humous, salads, smoked salmon and other yums. Then I will try and persuade the girls to come to the park for tennis, or they will wander off to see friends, or read (still popular this holiday, I can't believe my luck!) or, in the case of Child Two, attempt to sidle back to the TV, only to be thwarted by Mummy.

I'm sure we could pass many happy months like this. But sadly, it's coming to an end - tomorrow. They're off for two weeks with Mr X.

I've been trying to brace myself, and trying to book in a lot of treats, but I've been a bit hopeless and can feel the familiar lassitude creeping up. But no, this time, I'm going to be busy. I have to edit my book. Novel number two turned into a pile of poo while I wasn't looking and I'm using this time to sort it all out. I really am. I won't be watching daytime TV and getting sad. Definitely not!