Monday, 22 February 2010

Out To Dinner

Went out to supper on Saturday night. Drove down the lane, up another one, and there we were. Pouring with rain. So the sight of champagne and a roaring fire did much to cheer us.
Drinks and chat before supper. When my mobile rang.
Dammit. Probably a child Wanting Something.
Sure enough, Youngest was breathing heavily down the phone.
Mummy, he whispered. Hoarsely.
I put on my bright Mummy voice. Raised it up a notch or two.
Hello darling, I twinkled. Guests watching, curious.
Youngest continued to breathe very heavily, while whispering something of Great Urgency. Which I couldn't understand. I hoped, with every fibre of my being, that he didn't want his bottom wiped. That would be dull. But not past all possibilities, that I would have to stomp back down the road, wipe said bottom, and return to party.
Husband will huff and puff. But cannot expect babysitter, or Middle Son, or Daughter, or God forbid, Youngest himself, to do neat job of it. As it were.
Found out that his bottom was perfectly clean. Thank God.
Worked out, with some difficulty, owing to the Whispering, that he was on his way to bed.
Prayers, Mummy, he hissed. Whispering very spittily down the phone.
What??? I asked. Still baffled.
This was repeated at some length, with increasing desperation. And then finally,
Prrrayyeerrrrrrrrrrs, Mummmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee, he breathed. In a tortured sort of way.
Got it. Suddenly. As you do.
You want to say your prayers with me on the phone? I asked. Trying hard not to smile fondly, or let smile show in my voice.
Came the answer.
Right, I said. Moving to a place in the house where guests would not find it odd to see me reciting the Our Father to a book case.
And we began.
Youngest very quietly saying Amen at the end of each prayer, but not joining in, in case the babysitter thought him rather odd. Or something.
Found myself praying, on Youngest's behalf, for a safe lodging and a holy rest, and thanking Him for a lovely day, And a lovely lunch, added Youngest, quite crossly, as if I had deliberately left it out.
Finished. Checking over my shoulder that no one could hear this somewhat eccentric exchange.
Told Youngest I loved him. Told him to go upstairs to bed.
Asked him to get Daughter on the phone.
On she came... and agreed to kiss Youngest goodnight and tuck him in.
As it seemed he needed it that night.
And back I went to the champagne and Canapes.
Husband raised questioning eyebrow.
No need to wipe bottoms tonight, I said, gaily.
Hooray! he said.
And so we returned to our Grown Up World.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mixing up the Blog with Real Life

Oh, dear.
It seems that my Blog World and Real World have got mixed up rather.
Causing some Internal Family Eruptions. As it were.
Was slowly simmering a post in my head about Husband and his Morning Routines the other day. Like us Bloggers do.
You see, Husband likes to do the same thing as he gets up each morning.
Slams his hand down on the beep beeping alarm clock. With some force. Occasionally knocks it to the ground and has to find the damned thing. Groans a bit. Whips back the bedclothes, which quite often slap my somewhat sleepy face, and stands up.
There then follows a noisy and prolonged Scratching of his bottom.
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Pause. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Pause. This continues for some time. The scratching sounds strangely hollow, as if there was nothing in his buttocks but cavernous depths. But on closer inspection, I can quite clearly see his pert bottom accepting its morning Attentions.
After this he slumps over to his chest of drawers, and slides out a drawer or two. Then does it again, because he obviously hasn't found what he wanted to find. Pants? Socks? Shirt? This is where they live, but as more than seven or eight drawers are pulled open and then shut (quite noisily really) he must be looking for something else. Or the same thing over and over.
And over.
When this Petite Purgatoire is over, he tries to find the door. As far as I know, it's been in the same place for a very long time. But each morning he fumbles around to see where it is. Presumably because it might have moved in the night. On finding it, he yanks it open, because it has a little stiffness around the hinges, and goes out.
Sometimes I manage a PPPPPPWWWWP sound like a kiss. The only problem is that if he hears this he will come back in and ask all sorts of questions about how I slept and how I am, with instructions to have a lovely day. All punctuated with a kiss.
I don't WANT to wake up yet and have spent the last few minutes desperately trying to STAY ASLEEP. A difficult task under the noisy and prolonged circumstances.
So tend to be a little uncommunicative. Like Silent. But with a sleepy smile which is trying to say GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE.
Mornings are so Not My Time.

Anyway, later that evening, after my thoughts about the above post, was at a dinner party. The general conversation was of being woken in the night. Etc. So it made total sense to me to tell people about Husband scratching his bottom when he got up.
When Realised that had meandered from Blog World into Real World.
Realised too late that CANNOT tell people face to face about bottom scratching. It's kind of a Blog Thing. You know, when you are sitting at the keyboard, thinking, 'What to post today? Aha! I know! Husband scratching his bottom!'
It makes sense to you. It makes sense to me. But boy, oh, boy, it makes bugger all sense to anyone Out There.
People at dinner party were totally Stunned into hysterical and prolonged laughter. Husband pink in the face and saying things like, 'I can't BELIEVE you just told everyone that,' and, more bizarrely, 'I don't scratch my bottom, I scratch my balls.'
This caused more hysteria. One guest had to mop her eyes dry.
Oh, dear.
Think Blogging might have more to answer for than I had thought. Had no idea that my conversational nature would lead me down such dangerous paths at dinner parties.
Husband still mutters about How Could I.
I must remember to Think Before Speaking when out and about.
Must Sellotape Mouth Shut at next dinner party.
And will make clear boundaries between Blog and Life.
Because it Simply Won't Do to get that muddled up again.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Extras - Ricky Gervais Style

I have Another Tale to regale you with.
Draw up, fasten your seat belts, and make sure you have a nice cup of tea with you. You may be some time.
Actually, let's go back to Friday.
Was seated here at my computer.
Actually, no. Let's go back to sometime before Christmas.
Was seated here at my computer.
Actually, no. Let's go back to the Eighties. Just for a mo.
Was seated here at my computer.
NO! I wasn't! Wasn't here. Didn't possess a computer. Or mobile phone. Just a huge bright red phone in the kitchen which rang so loudly that we'd all drop what we were holding. Boyfriend at the time had huge grey carthorse of a computer with mouse. Mouse! I thought that was funny. And rather eccentric. Would never catch on. Another fad.
Back in the Eighties I always wanted to be a Film or Television Extra. Thought it might be Rather Fun. Pointless. But fun. Fancy meeting all those famous actors! Fancy being on a film set! Fancy!
Before Christmas, just a mere twenty five years later, decided that NOW was the time to be an Extra.
So scanned the Internet for likely solutions to this yen of mine.
And found solution.
Kindly internet site said I could be an Extra!
Just had to jot down a few details, and Tra-la! I was an Extra!
Trouble was, I hadn't a film or TV series to go and be an Extra in. Which was a bit of a drawback.
Right. Now we can fast forward to Friday.
Still here? Really? Marvellous!
Well. Was sitting here at my computer. Checking emails. When,
LO! There was an email inviting me to get my arse up to London for 7.30 am on Saturday morning. To be part of a shoot for a Pilot for new comedy series for Channel 4.
Up I went on Saturday morning. Up at 4.30 am. On the train at 5.30. Exhausted looking people asleep with their mouths open. Drunks who hadn't yet been to bed.
Was seated in Reception Area of offices somewhere in the armpits of Kentish Town at 7.29am.
With 6 other extras.
Slightly Stunned at Why the Hell I was There in the first place.
Bit Worried about what I would be asked to do.
And bloody Starving Hungry.
The 6 other Extras turned out to be Nice.
One had obviously 'Donalotta-Extra-Work'. The rest evidently hadn't. We had to listen to Mr Donalot for an Awfully Long Time as he regaled us with tales of Extra Funny Stories. He found them tremendously amusing and laughed loud and long. With piercing eye contact with one of us, who would be forced to laugh long and loud too.
We began to avoid his face altogether. The alternative was too exhausting.
Every time the rest of us had a talk about something else, he brought the subject back to himself with such skill that I began to enjoy taking the conversation somewhere Far Away to see how he would bring it back. Magic.
After Some Time of waiting, Ricky Gervais style, cups of filthy tea and hard chairs, we were led into the Shoot.
Lights, cameras and rather dishevelled people littered the place.
Watched the dishevelled people walking around doing things like moving chairs and reading clip boards. Watched them really hard. Realised that some of them had Bugger All to do so were pretending to do things.
Finally we were given instructions.
Mine was to Walk Up The Room.
So I did.
Many, many times. Up, back. Up, back. Up, back.
The Action seemed to be going on at the near end of the room.
I was to be at the Very Far End of the room.
Righty Ho.
And, when I managed a look at the TV monitors showing what we were doing, I couldn't help noticing that I would Possibly be seen for about 0.36 of a second. Just my bottom. Nothing else. Clothed, of course. Nothing Untoward.
Not a great deal to show for such a colossal effort at being in bloody London SO CHUFFING EARLY ON A SATURDAY MORNING.
It was very funny stuff. Apparently. So damned funny that the actors kept corpsing and having to start all over again.
At first this was Mighty Amusing and we all had a bit of a giggle.
Nonchalant sort of giggles. (It is Very Important in the Playground of Acting that you look Nonchalant)
But after a while (several hours of 'While') it got to be Rather Irritating.
And it was with some relief when we were all Released from the torture and allowed to go home.
No one said Thank you! in bright and grateful tones for us slogging in miles.
No one offered us large fat cheques.
No one even said goodbye.
And so I left, lugging my suitcase with Alternative Costumes (not used) heading home under a grey and unfriendly sky.
Arrived home for lunch. Bright blue skies. Children thrilled to see me. Husband laden under a pile of washing he was putting on the line. Waving cheerily through my pants and bra.
Lunch cooking.
Cats asleep in the sun.
How glad I was to be home.
Shrugged off my Costume (smart casual) and put on my home clothes (old, tattered) and went to pour some drinks for us all. Massive gin and tonics for me and Husband. Lemonade for the children.
And sat with my family, minus Eldest, clinking our glasses together and telling them all about Being An Extra.
And decided that there is Very Little Point being an Extra in pretend life, when real life at home requires such a Starring Role.

Monday, 8 February 2010

In Which Youngest Knows His Stuff

Middle Son asked me in the car today,
'Mum, what is the best time of year to go skiing?'
We all had a good think about it. Good question and all that.
'Um,' I said, in a thoughtful sort of way, while I Perused the Answer.
Youngest piped up.
Chest puffed up with Knowledge and Wisdom.
'I know,' he said, with a winning sort of a smile.
We all looked at him expectantly.
'Winter,' he said.
Got to hand it to the boy.
He knows his Onions.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Youngest Does It Again

Youngest's prayer tonight. As much as I can remember. (Note how important tellies are to my boy)

Dear God,
Thank you for a lovely day. Thank you for the cakes.
Thank you for all our friends and my family.
Please give poor people more things. And give the people in Haiti more things. Can they have things that they REALLY need like tellies and food? And make it so we have less so that they can have some more.

Wow. He's only five.
Rock on, Youngest.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

We did something! We did something for Haiti.

Remember my post about Haiti?
And not knowing what to do about it?
Well, in the light of that feeling really not going away, however much money I was donating, or however much I was sending up prayers for them, felt the need to do More. But how?
A friend bumped into me at Brownies last week. Holding SHEAVES of paper and looking Harrassed.
'You OK?' I asked her.
Kind of glad I asked. Because she told me she was organising a Sponsored Swim for Haiti, and would I like to bring my children along, as it was to raise money for the children of Haiti, raised by children of West Sussex!
''Course we will,' I said, and took the Sheaves of paper from her, in the shape of sponsored forms and leaflets and what have you.
Talked to my children about it. Explained to them that they were going to put some food on someone's table, in Haiti, by what they were about to do. Even get a new table to put the food on. Make a difference.
In short, we found ourselves, my three younger children and I, in the local swimming pool last Saturday. Lots of excited children shivering in their swimming costumes and goggles, waiting for the Off.
Little ones went first. Encouraged at each side (they did widths) by older children, some counting the widths and the rest just yelling and hollering, to help those Tinies go a little faster, or just get to the other side.
I was Astounded.
Youngest, with about eight others, pounded from one side of the pool to the other, over and over and over and over. 55 widths, he did! They all did AMAZINGLY. And the pride on the older childrens faces was fabulous to see. Even if they had no idea of who it was they were cheering for.
My heart was full. We were doing something. And it was good.
Daughter went next. Lengths this time. Same process. People at each end. Calling out and encouraging and Driving them all on. Up and down and up and down they went. Daughter did 23 lengths. Massive. Hugely proud of her.
Next went Middle Son. With all the older children. Up and down and up and down they went. Faster and faster. Us all yelling from the sides.
Middle Son did 28 lengths. How good is that!
It was extraordinary watching these children. Everyone pushed themselves. Everyone tried their very best. For Haiti. There was no Ego here. Just love.
And home we came, knackered. Starving. Youngest looking pale and exhausted.
I asked him if he had enjoyed himself.
'Not really,' he said. 'But we put some food on someone's table, didn't we Mummy.'
We sure did, Youngest. We sure did.