Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Strike while the Iron is Hot

Yes, I know. New Scary Picture of self, but was rather fed up with the Summer Scene and gently wafting flowers in old picture, when am back in my furry boots and thermals, while thinking seriously about whether to get out the Furry Hat.
To more Important Topics. Like Husbands.
Because sometimes Husbands can be a right pain in the neck.
No, really!
Was helping Middle Son with homework on Sunday evening. It was rather a dull task, with him finishing off a project about the Second World War, and me getting bossy about Fonts and Layout and Polishing It Up. Middle Son wanted to print the bugger out and go and watch X Factor. I wanted Posh Fonts, Smart Layout and Polishing It Up. As you do.
After quite a lot of Sulking and stuff, Middle Son was doing things with Fonts and Layout and Polishing It Up, when all the Bastard Lights went off in the house and we were plunged into darkness.
Out of this blackness came Husband's voice.
'Oh.' he said.
I said some Choice Words which contained the word Iron and Sodding and You Silly Bugger.
This was because Husband had decided to do some ironing and always fills up the water bit to the very top which means he blows the electricity Every Bloody Time He Irons. Almost. Am very slightly Exaggerating here but needs must and all that.
(It might be said at this point that am very lucky to have Husband to do ANY flipping ironing at all, and I would say, also at this point, that I agree. It's just then when one has been helping Middle Son with his chuffing homework ALL DAY and the electricity goes out JUST as it's almost done, removing the work that has been recently added, it is a Little Vexing.)
After some moments of fiddling around inside ink black cupboard trying to locate the one switch out of about 120, to get the electricity on again, and having GOT the electriciy on, and having seen that not ALL the work had been deleted in the process, Middle Son said to Husband,
'Daddy, WHY are you doing the ironing when you KNOW I am on the computer?'
Husband says, really quite Huffily,
'Well, if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done.'
Talk about Strops.
Big Stomping Strop.
I did.
I went into a Major Top Quality Female Stratopheric Stroppy Strop.
Because while we KNOW that what he said was probably completely true, THAT IS NOT THE POINT. The point is that I must keep up the pretence of doing the ironing every day. Never must it be said that the ironing gets done ONLY because if it wasn't, no-one would have anything to wear. (Husband only steps in when pile reaches catastrophic heights.)
But this is not how it is in my head, OK? In my head, I iron every day. Snowy white napiery. Sheets. Shirts. Piles and piles of the sodding stuff.
So I stropped.
Marvellous, it was.
It stopped everyone in their tracks.
Even the cats.
I left the computer and Middle Son, and headed for the kettle. Which I put on. Very Loudly and with lots of Crashing.
Then I Laid the Table.
Smash, Crash, Bang. Nothing broken, you understand. Just Noise. Lovely, lovely Noise.
Then I fed the cats.
Boy, did I punish that tin. Crashed it down on the sink and threw the food sort of at the bowl. The cats didn't mind.
Then what? Oh, yes. I put the jam on the table. Well, sort of threw it and threw it again when it landed on its side. Picked it up and SLAMMED it down.
By now, a small, intent audience of four were watching. Husband, a little alarmed. Children, wondering what on earth Mum could be in such a strop about.
Middle Son sort of mentioned Ironing to them, but they were none the wiser.
At this point,Husband approached, and asked in milky, sweet tones, would I like some help.
I think I snarled at him. Showed all my teeth. Hissed with all the Spit I could muster that I Did Not Need Any Help At All, Thank You Very Much. Type of thing.
He backed off and sort of got on with Other Things in the kitchen.
Looking around nervously as things got moved about with some Vigour.
I continued my Strop with renewed Force.
Although was getting a little tired. Strops can be knackering, eh, girls?
Tea was finally made.
Scones! Jam! Pot of tea! Lovely!
And a boot faced, snarly old hag of a mother, scowling round the table at her nervous family.
At some point after my second sip of good hot tea, felt a little bit of a giggle coming on.
Looked Askance at Husband. Just as he was looking at me, in the same sort of way.
Snorted out some tea.
Wiped the worst of it off the freshly baked scones.
Sort of smiled at each other.
'Am really sorry,' said Husband.
'Yes, but you MEANT IT,' said I, regaining a tiny momentum of Strop again.
'But am really sorry,' said Husband.
'Yes, but you really MEANT it,' said I, regaining a little bit more Strop.
'Oh, MUMMY, Daddy has said he is SORRY and that means it's OVER,' quotes Youngest, in world-weary tones. The quote is from his Mother. Who is so wise about other people's arguments and such a child over her own.
'But...' I start. And stop.
'Am really cross still,' I mutter from side of mouth.
'Know you are,' mutters Husband from the side of his.
And we share a cheesy smile.
It's the cause of such Disharmony. It really should be Banned.
Trouble is, Husband would then do it, and then SEE how bad I'll look.
Oh, buggery bollocks.
He'll just have to do it like the guy below.
Might even enjoy himself in the meantime.

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.