Good evening. Get settled there is a lot to catch up on. Firstly I have received a complaint from Abu Dhabi that I do not write often enough. This is true. I shall explain more on that later but I acknowledge receipt of the complaint and I am definitely working towards more frequent updates.
So, I am here now and I can tell you all of my exciting week. Wednesday meant leaving the house for an outing after what felt like weeks on end of being couped up in the house with illness and Christmas etc. It was a beautiful day in the park and a lunch with a school friend who, admiring my uncharacteristically well behaved Ted, said she was no longer afraid of having a boy. She is pregnant with her second child who is in fact male so I didn't tell her that Ted was not having a typical day and if she was going to have a 'Ted' then she should be very, very afraid. Thursday saw five children for tea - the extra child and my niece who came for a visit with her mother. All very lovely but also loud and hectic. The five children became a pack and started running around screaming and shouting and acting totally mad. Five children seemed a lot at that point. Friday was an Inset day so I was 'lucky' enough to have all three all day. Thank goodness for another friend inviting us over for lunch at her new house. She is George's Godmother so there was MUCH excitement from Bea and G. We got there, we road tested her new family home and created a convincing mess within minutes. Bea was very keen on her very cutesy 18 month old daughter and all was very sweet for a while. Then they were ridiculously embarrassing at the lunch table as they refused some bog standard pasta (I mean bog standard as in it wasn't exactly Heston Blumenthal's latest Fat Duck creation of seaweed and marmite or similar not in that my friend is a crap cook or anything very rude) - there was no reason for them to be so weird over pasta and sauce. Bea even demanded toast as an alternative. I was quite relieved when they got down, however, Bea and Ted then got stuck in to the bags of sweets my friend had bought them to accompany George's Christmas present. Pretty soon they were hyperactively playing with a tunnel. G got stuck in too and the noise level increased tenfold. My friend's daughter had put her daughter down for a sleep so I felt their noise particularly keenly. After half heartedly telling them to stop for half an hour Ted stood up started coughing and then puked. Profusely. All over the new wool rug beneath his feet. I caught a lot of it (you already know of my legendary sick catching skills - they are honed to perfection now) however there was still a lot that made it on to the rug. I cleaned up Ted and scrubbed the carpet with Dettol and then rounded up the children and ushered them into the car. Luckily I have known this friend for over twenty years (she was the first person to dye my hair blonde - hideously badly actually - it was the colour of straw and my school wrote to my mother and demanded I have it dyed a suitable colour immediately as it was 'distracting' for the other students. It was that sort of school - ironically the inspiration for the St Trinians and yet we were not allowed to do anything even vaguely naughty so I don't really understand the inspiration other than we were all 'gals' and our uniforms were blue. I mean other than the 'distracting' hair a number of girls once staged an incredibly tame 'sit in' on one of the tennis courts because the other one was going to be turned in to a teachers' car park. I only received a letter home for taking part but others were suspended which was pretty harsh. So, as you can see, they did not suffer fools gladly and no St Trinian type behaviour ever took place - unless you count me and the now pregnant friend I met in the park sneaking out to smoke B & H because we were incredibly cool. Sorry, I digress). My point is the longevity of our friendship meant that I wasn't humiliated by the children and I didn't worry that she may never have us over again as it might if she were a 'new' friend. I mean, I cannot imagine she will want us back any time soon, but it will not signal the end of our friendship. That said I didn't want to hang around after the sick was cleaned up. We got in the car and headed to North London to burden my little sister in her bijoux flat.
Food and children is an interesting one. Take Annabel Karmel. Now, I am prepared to take on board what 'SuperNanny' has to say as she has many, many years of experience looking after children, even though she has none of her own. However, Annabel has clearly not experienced the joy of food for many, many years and yet she is seen as an 'authority' on how to feed children. She even has a television programme where she shuffles around all cold, hungry and smiling whilst 'teaching' children how to make odd combinations of food. She does have some good ideas obviously, I am a big fan of the avocado and banana combo for weaning babies, but papaya and cottage cheese is a hundred bridges too far. It is a gross combo even as an adult. I would never inflict it on my unsuspecting offspring. Also, what is this current obsession with how we feed children? There is an awful lot of snobbery surrounding ever more ridiculous things children will eat. I accept children all have different tastes and some will chow down on olives but refuse to eat a banana or hoover up houmous but fear a piece of bread - that is ok - but making ever more complicated and elaborate meals for small people is just one upmanship. For one thing it is expensive, also it makes you ever more angry if they don't eat it after all the time and money spent providing it for them. I have a basic repertoire of meals which are popular and filling and provide all the basic nutrients, a lot of mash for G, sausages, roast chicken, sausages, risotto, spag bol etc etc. The children are well and growing and no one has rickets so I would advise other people setting out on an adventurous menu for children to save their time and money and do something else with your time. Much like childbirth, no one gives you a medal for your children loving rocket and sun dried tomato salad to accompany their crayfish and haddock fishcakes. One of my children's favourite meals is baked bean soup. I invented it a few months ago when we were devoid of any food whatsoever for them to eat for supper when I suddenly hit upon putting baked beans in a bowl and calling it soup. Since my initial inspiration I have now improved it by adding frozen veg such as supersweet sweetcorn and petit pois (I am soooo posh). Thus in one bowl of baked bean soup I am providing three of their five of a day - add a slice of bread and butter on the side and it is a perfectly well rounded meal. I served it after we got back from my sister's on Friday - it was 6 by the time we got in and there was no time for anything else. I did think of Annabel Karmel as I served it. I know she would secretly have loved to have invented such a great dish. (I also do an amazing mash mountain - I shall share it with you now although do credit me with its invention should you ever try it out. Make a huge amount of mash, create a hollow circle on the plate and gently build up the sides with a fork. Pour baked beans in to the middle and build up the sides with more mash until you reach a point and have a convincing cone/volcano shape. The fork makes convincing looking ridges which adds a certain something. The beans must be totally hidden. I 'decorate' with small bits of broccoli at the base which act as trees. So, as soon as the child digs into the volcano/mountain it erupts and molten lava beans spill down the side. I also squirt ketchup on the top and down the sides for ever more drama. Genius. Even if I do so myself.)
So Saturday. Hen night excitement. Bea's godmother (the one who is imminently marrying the magician from Bea's 6th Birthday party - you must remember) is due to marry in two weeks and we celebrated in style on Saturday night. I was a very 'bad' bridesmaid in that I did nothing towards organising the hen. Not a thing. Mercifully others took up the slack and it was a resounding success. In essence it was a meal in a nice private room with extra bits thrown in. One of the extras was very obvious on arrival - a NAKED man. Now, I know these things are pretty commonplace these days, but I rarely go to hen nights as they are a. expensive and b. go on until very late at night, and on one inexplicable occasion I was NFI. So, here I am at my first hen night with a naked man. His small apron covered his front 'bits' but his bare bottom was there. In the room. All naked. I am not a total prude. Not totally. I mean I like being naked in the comfort of my own home - who doesn't - but time, babies and weight gain and loss have not been kind to the area above my knees and below my neck so I cannot imagine showing anyone other than K my front or back bits. This man clearly felt no fear but I just feel sorry for him that he has to earn money by getting his clothes off and kissing and being kissed by loads of women. Alright maybe it sounds ok when you put it like that. I just couldn't look at his bare arse. It freaked me out. I also saw him scratch it when I accidentally looked over in his direction. There is something odd about seeing a man I do not know in any way shape or form scratch his bare arse. It felt deeply personal. Obviously I managed to get over it sufficiently to down my beef and mash and then deeply enjoy my chocolate torte. Man that was good. Although quite sickly by half way through. I carried on eating to double check that it was too much for me and by the end I concluded that it most definitely was.
I managed to get home by midnight which was good for a hen night (the hen herself carried on til 6 - see I told you they were very late) although Ted then woke up at 5.15am so Sunday was hard work. And it involved three hours in the freezing cold park. The cafe was full so we even had to have our lunch outside. It took hours to warm up when we got home. Still, it got us out of the bloody house. I am sick of it after Christmas. Roll on Spring.
And that brings you almost totally up to date. Yesterday's WW meeting was woefully quiet in terms of new members. For my seven hours work I made a profit of nearly £3. The childminder made £15 for her three hours with Ted. I must stop procrastinating and inform the powers that be that this is not working for me.
So, there you are. All up to date. I am absolutely going to be back within the week to tell you more exciting things. I will not leave it a week this time I promise. Pinky promise as G would say. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx