Tuesday, 5 October 2010

If It's Friday It Must Be Croydon

Don't you hate it when someone says, 'Could you just....?'
I don't like 'Could you just...?'.
The 'Just', so innocent and sweet between the 'Could' and the 'You', says it all.
It won't be Just. It will be Very Extremely Unjust.
Mark my words.
And so, when Eldest rings up to say, 'Could you just...?' I very nearly said No.
But as his Mother it seemed a tad churlish, so said Yes.
And that was why I found myself in the Armpit of Croydon, a good fifty miles from where we live, on an extremely Rainy Day, which said Son had announced was the Best Place to Meet.
After half an hour of phone calls of
'Where are You?'
'Well, I am driving to Croydon. Where are YOU?'
'I am on a train to Croydon.'
'Where is your train?'
'In London.'
'Yes, but where?'
'Not sure...' sort of thing, was beginning to get a little Irritated.
And so, when I found out through a text, read illegally as I waited at traffic lights, that I was to meet Eldest at East Croydon Station, was not Terribly Amused.
Because there is no such flipping place as East Croydon. There is a train station. Oh, yes, one of those. But when you look up East Croydon in the A-Z, is it bloody there?
There's North Croydon, and South Croydon and even an obliging West Croydon. But no mention of an East Croydon, which was the only Buggering Croydon I wanted to go to.
Get out of car and ask someone... Where is East Croydon station?
Or... Continue on driving, hitting the steering wheel in frustration and shouting very loudly, I HATE CROYDON.
The latter.
Of course.
And so, continued to drive around Croydon, yelling spasmodically to Self until the next text.
'Where r u?'
Found this text a tricky one to answer as had no bloody idea of where I was, or where I was going.
Ground-breaking moment as I spied 'East Croydon Station' on a sign post.
Hastened towards it and finally, after several tense minutes of one-way systems going the wrong bloody way, found my way in East Croydon Station.
Texted in triumphant tones 'AM HERE AT STATION. Where r u?'
Phone call back,
'Oh, I walked off down a road. Can you come and get me?'
If only I could have had a large Axe. Because I might have used it at this point.
'Where did you go?' I asked between gritted teeth.
'Not sure... the road is called.... Nope, can't quite see.'
We spoke for a few minutes. By 'spoke' I mean that I shrieked, and he answered in monosyllables.
He said a few helpful things like,
'Well, the road is black and it's a bit holey.'
Bloody brilliant.
Then he said, 'Oh, there is a tram.'
At this point slammed down the phone and drove off down the road, checking it for holes and trams, and muttering all the while that I would never EVER do him a favour EVER AGAIN.
When, behold, saw a Tram. And a hole in the road. OMG. And Eldest.
Waved and yelled and shouted out of the window. He saw me, and waved and shouted something, just as I disappeared into a One Way Gaping Hole of a Bastard Tunnel, that swallowed me and spewed me out the other end, a good half a mile away from Eldest.
Swearing some of the more Colourful Language I have learned as a mother, I performed a rather clever, if highly illegal, U Turn, and went back down the Underpass.
No Eldest. Searched the bloody road and holes and trams. Gone.
Text from him a minute later.
'Come back. Where r u goin?'
Bugger me. Where was I going????? MOI?
Bloody MAD was where I was going. Performed another teeth-chattering U Turn and searched the streets again. No Flipping Eldest.
Then, at last minute, saw him, open-mouthed and yelling, as I Once Again Disappeared into the Underpass.
Was now becoming Rather Flippant at breaking all the rules of the Highway Code, and for a third time in less than 5 minutes, screeched round to go back the other way.
Missed him.
By this time was getting to know Croydon rather well, and so had no problem at all in turning around and going back, for the fourth Blinking time.
Missed again.
How I loathed that Tunnel. Those bright twinkly lights seemed to be winking at me in some awful conspiracy.
After my fifth illegal driving manouevre, I pottered along at about ten miles an hour, causing some Irritation behind me, which I paid not even the slightest attention to, and saw, with some relief, a road that veered off the Bastard One I had been on for the last ten minutes.
And there was Eldest!
The Joy!
The Total Prat!
Slowed down, he got in and we sped off.
Was he pleased to see me? Did he thank me for my lengthy and somewhat Stressful detour? Did he smile gratefully?
'Bloody hell, Mum, Didn't you SEE me? What sort of an idiot would go past so many times?'
'This sort of idiot,' said I. Quite Curtly. 'And what sort of idiot gets into his mother's car after she has driven for Quite a Long time around Sodding Croydon, and says, What sort of Bloody Idiot would go past so many times?'
He had the grace to look a little Sheepish.
And kept bloody quiet on our journey to Ikea, to get stuff for his new house in Oxford.
And kept quiet as we went round the endless aisles of Ikea, even when we went the completely wrong way, and ended up at the beginning. Like you do.
And then began to go really quiet as we went back to his house to collect his stuff and go on to Oxford.
So I touched his forehead and he was burning hot.
Ill. Fever. Bright red in the face and weak as a kitten.
I brought him home, and made him Better.
Good food, plenty of water, plenty of sleep and Vitamin C.
He's better now and gone back to Oxford. Taken by me, in the pouring rain on the M25 on Friday.
'Could you just drive me back to Oxford?' he'd asked, with that Please Mum look.
'Course I will,' said I. 'But could YOU just....' and I listed a dictionary of requests.
Which he did.
Because while I love doing things for him, I love it when he does them back.
I will steer very clear of Croydon. I didn't really Enjoy the sights much.
And next time Eldest asks, Could you just... I will make double sure that it doesn't involve underpasses in Croydon, one way systems, highly illegal driving, or trams.


Expat mum said...

Ah you see, your first mitake was to go driving after him when he wandered away from East Buggery Croydon station (WHY do they do that?) Next time tell him that he has to come back to you.
Very funny images conjured up though!

Expat mum said...


London City Mum said...

Too nice by half.

Could you just tell him to find a mate to do his driving for him next time?


diney said...

He He - I enjoyed your story and giggled knowingly throughout! I hate bloody Croydon too - a horrible old man assaulted me in a supermarket there once....

Tatersmama said...

HA! I would have told him that I was AT East bloody Croydon station, and to GET HIS ARSE BACK HERE - NOW!

Okay... I'll tell the truth. I would have done exactly what you did.
And then I too, would have blogged about it. ;)

Leilani Lee said...

This is not the first blog post of yours that I will print and send to my father, who does not have a computer. He will howl with laughter and then call me on the telephone and we will howl with laughter together.

Anonymous said...

Croydon AND Ikea in one day?? You are braver than I am....

Vicus Scurra said...

What, in the name of Thornton Heath, had he done so wrong that he was forced to go round Ikea with you? I can see nothing in your text warranting so harsh a punishment. My dear mother was overbrimming with kindness and forbearance, and would never have made me suffer so terribly.

Vicus Scurra said...

What, in the name of Thornton Heath, had he done so wrong that he was forced to go round Ikea with you? I can see nothing in your text warranting so harsh a punishment. My dear mother was overbrimming with kindness and forbearance, and would never have made me suffer so terribly.

Ladybird World Mother said...

EM- totally... I so see that now. As for East Buggery Croydon Station... hail, its new name!!x
LCM -I know, I know... fool that I am. Will find him a new Mother next time.x
diney - oh, crikey... the thought of horrible old men and Croydon quite puts me off my toast and tea. Poor you. x
Tatersmama - oh, the wonder of hind sight!! (glad you would have done the same... even down to the blogging about it!!)
LL - !!!!Glad that he might enjoy this utter drivel and the odd rude word... I must say, its amazing how the most ANNOYING occasions can actually be quite good blog fodder... we bloggers can always look on the bright side as our life falls apart because we can smile and say... I'll BLOG about this!! x
Mud - brave, foolish and quite quite insane. Never Again. xx
VS - !! Oh, bloody hell, you make me laugh... scuse me while I clear up the tea spilt down my front and all over the poor cat on my knee...
Thornton Heath... now there's a thought. And yes, I know. Cruelty indeed, but now I can always have a good threat up my sleeve. Before he thought Ikea was fun. Now he KNOWS that it is, in fact, Hell. x

trash said...

While glad situation was resolved and Eldest now well and (presumably) ensconced in Oxford please send paramedics to West Country Hilltop as cobination of laughter with tears and mahoosive coughing fit is threatening to see me off.

(btw, word verif is 'osser'. Is the only part he heard as you shouted out your window while driving by near East Buggery Croydon station?)

Anonymous said...

Still laughing. You have a great talent for describing those little details of a scene in such an amusing way.

And a great talent for doing what mothers do. Eldest is lucky - when he got in the car and said what he said, I would have stopped the car and told him to GTF out and walk home. But that's me. See? That's why I'm not a mother.

wonderwoman said...

that was just priceless but i know just what you mean, having been a 'taxi' service for quite a few years!!!

Troy said...

East Croydon is an anagram of "a second Troy". Not a lot of people know that.

Anonymous said...

Aw.. I loved this post.. In the end they're still our babies.. :)

Lane said...

Nightmare. East Croydon, Ikea and the word 'just'.

But very funny to read about:-)

smileymamaT said...

'Oh, I walked off down a road. Can you come and get me?' - OHHHH---
I very nearly fell off my chair at that one.
This was the sort of post that had me in a laughing fit while my family stared and considered calling a hospital for the mentally ill.
Which is where our children tend to send us anyway.
Ha! Thanks for sharing such a funny story!!

Sir Bruin said...

Is this a good time to mention that I come from Croydon?

Ladybird World Mother said...

Trash -Oh, dear, hope you have recovered!! And loved the 'osser'... because he sure was one...x
Jeff- I think that I am FAR too nice by half... you are so right.. he should have been turfed out in the armpit of Croydon and left to moulder..x
WW - taxi service it is indeed... shame we cant get the tips, eh. x
Troy - !!! Oh, dear. Where are the first and third?? Actually, have just been a bit sad and looked up A First Troy, and came up with Fart Sir Toy, which I rather liked, or even Far Tit Rosy... marvellous stuff. x
WITMR - they sure are, even when they are 6' 4" and smell. x
lane - !! glad you thought so, although the reality was Not Amusing At All! x
SM - dont you just love it when you read a post that has you falling about in fits, and the family just Look On in bewilderment. Love it. x
Sir B - Nope. x

Humdrum Mum said...

Love it! Set up a taxi account for him ... -HMx

Tattie Weasle said...

Poor Boy he was ILL! Not sure though that it makes a good idea to go to Ikea in Croydon surely there is one closer to Oxford...as far as East Croydon goes though it is a very nice station I know it well and there used to be a Pret a Manger where I got my lunch every day - in the days I could afford that and of course stuff from Ikea...oh and had Mum to pick me up and drive me there....:)

Clippy Mat said...

Laughing out loud. I can identify with going the wrong way several times, turning round and doing the same thing again. and again.
However, I think I now know my way to East Croydon station, should the need ever arise.