Thursday, 20 May 2010

Feathering the Nest

A couple of nights ago, I heard Big G pad along the carpeted corridor in socked feet, and flump into bed. Knowing that he doesn't 'feather the nest' as I do, before sleep, I decided to go and investigate.

He was lying in bed with his eyes closed and the bright ceiling light on. Although very tired after several disgustingly early mornings, he forced his bleary eyes open so we could have a little chat.

As we talked, I picked up and put away the piles of clothes on the bed, wondering how anyone could get into a bed covered in stuff.

Next I offered him a pillowcase, as I had taken them off that morning to wash, and he was lying straight on the pillow. "If there's one handy", he mumbled.

"Shall I put the duvet cover on then, before you nod off?" I asked. He thought that was a good idea, so I pulled the king size duvet off him and wrestled with getting it inside the cover, as he turned on his side and closed his eyes again.

Then I covered him up, gave him a kiss, turned the light off and left the room.

What would he do without me?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Sandy 1970

This is one of my favourite family photos from ye olden days gone by. My sister is too busy guzzling to smile at the camera; my Dad inexplicably has a pair of knickers on his head; my Mum is having a helluva time; and my baby brother (who has just turned 40) is rolling around with his head in the sand and an elbow in his chin. No wonder he grew up to be the most laid-back of all of us.

Me, I am the toddler on the right, dressed in a woolly jumper (my parents took us to the beach whatever the weather), clearly enjoying the chaos in front of me, destined to be forever the diplomatic middle child, cursed with a balanced view, usually hesitant with indecision, and blessed blessed blessed blessed blessed.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Dreaming of Enid

Having glued my eyeballs to non-stop Enid Blyton books at my most delicate age, I grew up convinced that no decent day out was complete without a yummy picnic in the fresh air. Hard-boiled eggs and tomato sandwiches, home-made lemonade and great slabs of cake for afters. Hoorah!

But a real-life, grown-up picnic is never quite like that, is it? By the time we decide to have one, it’s usually too late to go shopping for chicken satay and potato salad, so I peer into the cupboard and cobble together some sandwiches and crisps. If I find a packet of chocolate biscuits, that’s good. Raw carrots and a few water bottles in the bag and we’re good to go.

The time comes, and we meet our friends in the car park of our chosen scenic spot. I lug bags as the children shoot off like speeding bullets before I can ask them to carry anything. If there are picnic benches, they are splattered with bird poo or next to an overflowing bin, so we wander down to the riverbank or up a hill. Choosing a spot turns into a game of ‘find the least muddy bit’.

Out comes the food. Unless I’ve had a rare Nigella moment the night before, my friends will usually have out-lunched me. They joyfully nourish their patient, grateful offspring with delicious pasta salad and garlic rolls on smart orange plastic plates; Me, I wrestle my children to the ground and plonk squashed sandwiches and a packet of hula hoops into their grubby hands, growling “eat the sandwiches first.” We nibble our chocolate biscuits (melted) as we are attacked by wasps or menaced by dogs that look only slightly scarier than their owners.

But the dream never dies, and I will still plan picnics in the hope that they will be more romantic and delightful than they probably will be. Tonight I was reading some Enid Blyton to my daughter, and the children in the story did indeed have yet another picnic - this time it was a ham and a fruit cake from the market wrapped in a tea towel, and some ginger beer. Hoorah Hoorah Hoorah!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

My Lunch and the Queen's Lunch

I had this lovely award from the delightful Nappy Valley Girl

Thank you. It comes with an invitation to share 7 little known facts about myself, so here goes:

1. At lunchtime I had an accident involving my thumb and a sharp kitchen knife. My daughter, off school with a cold, went chalky green and had to lie down. I calmly and efficiently soaked up the blood, bound the cut with steri-strips and plasters, and then went chalky green and had to lie down.

2. There are many good things to appreciate about my job … but I secretly resent feeling like a tired middle-aged mum that does part-time office work.

3. Sometimes, when Big G climbs quietly into bed and I’m already asleep, I wake up suddenly with a fright, demanding to know who he is? and what does he think he’s doing? He finds all this highly amusing.

4. Many sleeps ago … I used to make my own mini dresses and wear them with Doc Marten boots.

5. My soft, loving, lavender-laced grandmothers were called Daisy and Dorothy.

6. My favourite moment, in the early hours of Election Night, was when David Dimbleby said: “the Queen has made it quite clear – she won’t be seeing anyone until after lunch today”.

7. I have a few dark secrets that I may never tell anybody … although I might, when I’m very old, think: “that’s a waste of a good secret if it never gets told”.

As for passing this award on, I gladly give it to anybody kind enough to visit my blog.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Not Cold, Hungry, Hot ... or Running

I had completely forgotten how important it is, when planning a training run, to time your food intake. If I eat too soon, I don't have enough energy and get hungry again just before the run; If I eat too late, I get a stitch and running is painful. So, as the only time I could run on Wednesday was 1.30pm, I ate my lunch at 11.30am! And it went well.

The other tricky thing to get right is layers of clothing: If I'm not cold when I leave the house, I'll definitely be too hot later. But if I am cold when I leave the house, I might never warm up enough later and that's even worse! Nevertheless, when I do manage to get most of those things more or less right, and the ipod's pumping out a great song, and my legs and lungs are feeling strong, and I don't step in dog shit or get a fly up my nose ... running can be BLISS!!!

One thing I got very wrong this week was registering online for the 10K I volunteered to run on May 31st. The charity told me that, to claim my 'guaranteed' place, I must register by 5th May. I wrote it in my diary, in pen. But what I failed to notice was that I had to do it by 5pm, and naturally I didn't log in until 6.30pm. Oops. One lost place and many embarrassed grovelling emails later, I now feel terribly guilty and have promised to find another event to do to raise money for this charity instead. Oh well, at least I'll have more time to train.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Amazing Rosie

I don't watch much TV, but I made a point of seeing one of the Eddie Izzard Runs a Million Marathons for Sport Relief programmes. Eddie had a brief visit on the road from Rosie Swale Pope, who ran solo around the world to raise money for prostate cancer awareness, and other charities.

I had never heard of the adventurer Rosie Swale Pope, who set off at the age of 53 to run across Europe, crossed Russia, Siberia and Alaska, then ran through the USA, Greenland, Iceland and arrived back in the UK 5 years later. She mainly camped alone, dealing with hunger, extreme cold, frostbite, blizzards, villians, wolves, broken ribs; you name it, she dealt with it and lugged her stuff in a cart the whole way too.

When I saw Rosie on TV, I immediately bought her book and couldn't put it down. What I loved most about this book was her enormous gratitude for all the people who helped her along the way - very poor people with almost nothing took her into their humble homes and warmed her up, shared their food, let her wash and sleep in a warm bed before heading off again. It is a tale of overwhelming kindness.

Rosie inspired me start running again, to raise money for charity. I have run marathons and half marathons in my past life (i.e. before kids) but as my fitness levels are now a fraction of what they used to be, I'm starting slowly with a 10K on 31st May.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Back From the Dead

I've been having a minor identity crisis. There has been an unhealthy abundance of umm-ing and ahh-ing going on in my life this past year; dark thoughts, life coaching, self-obsession, heart-searching, soul-searching, reflection, rumination, oh, that sort of thing.

I've started several new blogs and given them up because they just weren't ... well ... me, so I've come back here where I started. And very nice it feels too.

The intimate details of my little trip around WhoTheHellAmI? would be as dull to you as waiting for a bus that never comes in the rough end of town on a rainy Sunday afternoon, so I won't bore you with them now.

I will reveal, however, that I now have an A5 sheet of paper with a 5-year life plan on one side and a 20-year plan on the other. It's laminated, and tucked inside the front of my diary. Sad, maybe? But it works for me.