Apologies for the delay - as you can imagine you haven't missed anything ground breaking. I can pretty quickly catch you up with the bare bones of it - K has caught up with me and turned 34 and therefore officially ended the birthday season. He even got presents - proper ones he actually wanted and not just a bar of Cadbury's Whole Nut (I gave him TWO bars this year - he was thoroughly spoilt). Ted has been 'trying'. And I use that as a massive understatement - I actually talked to K about a Miss Havisham type arrangement, where we send him to live with my mother under the guise of her being able to provide him with a life and education we can't afford, but actually was just to get rid of him. We had, at the time, both decided that we couldn't cope with him anymore and it seemed like an excellent way to keep a widow company and offload a troublesome child. In the end we kept him - I am still on the fence over whether that was a good idea. The only thing that keeps him from being given away is his bizarre devotion and love and for his baby sister. It makes me love him and momentarily forget how hard he is to look after. So we are stuck with him until he starts being horrid to her and then there will be absolutely no reason to keep hold of him. Bea has finally received a reply to a letter she sent to The Queen about 6 months ago, which has caused huge excitement both here and at school. Cybil is still fat and getting bigger and there is very little to tell you about G. He is precisely the same as he has always been. He did get taken out on a fab day trip by Sporty Godmother who managed to clamber all over HMS Belfast even though she is 8 months pregnant. It was a bit above and beyond the Godmotherly duty I think - particularly as it was raining - the whole ship must have been a slippery health hazard but as birthday presents go, it was a big hit. I am precisely the same as well. Tired, fat but overall content and getting excited about Christmas. Once that is over it is another 8 months until I have to buy another sodding present for one of the children. Hoorah!
So now you are up to speed I shall fill you in on some of the detail.
When Ted was about Cybil's age, K was made redundant (the recession has not been particularly kind to us). We put the house on the market, accepted an offer and planned our uprooting to Suffolk. I was pretty upset at the time as I had recently been introduced to a group of ladies who I thought looked rather fab and I remember thinking how sad it was that we wouldn't get to know each other as we could have been friends. Fate clearly thought the same thing, as a couple of weeks after we accepted an offer on the house, K was contacted by a company who had been trying to track him down after his redundancy to offer him a position with them. So, K took the job, we kept the house and I was reinvigorated with a love for SE23 after I came so close to losing it forever. The ladies, as I had predicted, became firm friends of mine and there is now a great group of us who meet up at playgroups, parks and at people's houses on an awful lot of Fridays to drink, eat and be merry as a way of celebrating a birthday of a mother or child. We also have infrequent weekend jaunts, thanks to the groups resident 'Events organiser' - herself a mother of four and owner of a 'Ted'. We have spent many, many hours over the intervening years yelling at our Teds to stop doing whatever hideous thing it is they are doing and trying to wear them out sufficiently so that they might sleep - and she is constantly planning the next excursion for her family or friends. She also has an amazing knack of having whatever it is I need to borrow - from a camping stove to a king's crown - her garage contains it all.
So, the day after I left you last, it was a Friday and therefore time for a lunch - this time it was for my Birthday and was being held at the house of the Blonde Bombshell. The birthday bash was preceded by a particularly popular (I am loving my alliteration) coffee morning in aid of Birthday Twin's Eyebrow fund. Rather than sit around feeling sad for our mutual friend, Blonde Bombshell went proactive-tastic and set up a fund raising drive in order to raise money to pay for BT to retain some of the features that make her 'her' whilst she goes through Chemo, and have her eyebrows professionally tattooed on (by the person who did Kylie's no less). The coffee morning contained a vast array of delicious cakes and endless pots of tea to accompany them and we all paid per cup and cake. I was obviously trying to save myself for my birthday cake although I did sample a few, just to be polite
naturally, but I made up for it by drinking about ten cups of tea. The only cakes that didn't sell were the particularly special flapjacks BB had tried to make at midnight the night before. You could have built houses with them they were so hard. Coffee morning cleared away and paying guests departed, my birthday celebrations began. Lunch was the usual deliciousness and then an epically good cake was presented to me courtesy of the Events Organiser's husband - it is his signature bake and is indescribably good. I got the candles and cake part of my birthday and a lovely gift voucher for the local beautician's. It was a nice way to mark a rather 'non' birthday and I got to raise money for my friend by eating cake. For the record I am always happy to raise money for anyone by eating cake. Just in case you were wondering. Any fund raising cake buying that needs doing - I am there. Far easier than the next step of the fundraising push....
The following morning was Saturday and I was up and out by 8.25am with Ted and Cybs to pick up Events Organiser and her Ted and get our arses as quickly as possible to Dulwich Park. For there it was that the larger group of wonderful women were warming up and donning comically large eyebrows in order to raise yet more money for the eyebrow fund, running 5k around the park. The weather was not particularly great but the runners were. I was dumbfounded by the speed of humans. Not being naturally athletic I am in awe of those who can move their bodies so effectively. My friends were running as part of an organised 'park run' which take place every Saturday at 9am in parks all over the place. That got me - I am usually in my pjs sipping tea at 9am and these people were up and out and running for no reason other than they wanted to. Astounding. When the run started, I turned around to find a Ted who had gone AWOL thinking that I would have a while before there was anything else to see but, as I turned back around after swiftly locating the missing Ted, the first runners were coming back around - only minutes had passed and these humans had run a mile already. My brain finds it very hard to compute this information. My friends were a bit behind the 'proper' runners (although not far behind for BB) but every one of them finished and some of their children did too. It was a properly heart warming event and for the first time EVER I wished I had run it too. The great news is that the coffee morning, sponsored run and Blonde Bombshell's husband garnering support from the locals at the pub, meant that the Eyebrow Fund was met and surpassed by some margin. Hoorah!
Then there was Tuesday and my first proper night out. I ventured out with C to West London and a Thanksgiving dinner at my friend's house with lots of my school friends. I love getting together with them. It feels comfortable. Some of them have known me since I was 8 and we have literally grown up together so it is always a good evening when we get together. However this one was made even more brilliant as the friend in question has a rather awesome clothing company and was selling off some of her old stock/samples for very reasonable prices so there was shopping, cava, food and friends which really is the perfect combination. Even C was well behaved. It was one of the best evenings I have had in a very, very long time. I didn't even mind that as we sat around eating the lovely food made by her husband (they are living the dream), I realised that I was surrounded by ridiculously successful people. One was designing and producing clothes for Pippa Middleton and Nicole Scherzinger (the host - check out Paper London if you haven't already - amazing stuff), one has recently received her Doctorate and works at The British Museum, another is almost running a major PR firm, another two are Lawyers working with banks - one advises them and the other is helping to make the law for the new banking standards and two work in TV - a producer on maternity leave and a Script Editor - I mean it was insane. I had emptied the dishwasher twice and put on a few loads of washing. It just isn't the same. I felt a tad inferior on a career/brianiac level which made them seem far more 'grown up' than me. My maturity seems to have stopped progressing at the same time I gave up work so I am permanently 25 in my head. (I was SHOCKED to learn that I am older than David Haye. So weird.) People keep saying that I am grown up because I have a lot of children but let's face it - I could have achieved that by 22 if I'd tried really hard. Getting pregnant a lot doesn't make you a grown up. It doesn't make you anything particular other than tired, poor and a mother many times over.
Since I've had C, a number of people have asked 'how do you do it?' which I get a tad embarrassed about. My life isn't particularly skillful - I am not doing what these friends of mine are doing on a daily basis. It is so weird to think that my peers are now 'grown ups' and changing things - real things in the real world. I am just getting up after not very much sleep and keeping on going until the end of the day when I pass out in the same bed again before doing it all again the next day. The house is in need of a thorough deep clean, I rarely cook for K (maybe twice since C was born), I don't iron, I don't open 90% of our post, I don't file the 10% I do open, if I can't be bothered to bend over and pick something up I will often leave it until it is kicked out of the way by someone else, K and I often bicker in quite a childish fashion, I often shout at the children, the children watch far too much TV and I couldn't tell you the last time I thought about whether any of the children had had any of their five a day. I am not saying I am totally crap or 'woe is me' - I am more than happy with my lot in life and I don't think I am shit at this mothering malarkey -but I am definitely not an all rounder, so when someone asks me how I do it, I want to say, 'not particularly well - but just about managing'. One of my mummy friends, who also ran for the eyebrows fund, who I affectionately call 'perfect mother of four' because, as the name suggests, she is ridiculously perfect. She is an exceptional teacher at a local secondary school, she runs, cooks, bakes cakes, has an immaculate house at all times (I have often tried to catch her out but to no avail) and I am almost certain, although I haven't checked, that the straps on her children's car seats are never twisted. I have a theory that you can divide mothers in to two - ones who have non-twisted car seat straps and those who don't. Naturally I fall into the twisted category. I have never managed to keep them twist free - much like running 5k at 9am on a Saturday morning - I can't imagine it being possible. Such perfection has always eluded me.
So, there you have it. Women are amazing. I am lucky enough to have loads of them as my friends (and sisters but they weren't mentioned today) which is great as it means I can live my average life vicariously through them. From the safety of my bum sized dent in the sofa. (I really have made a dent in it - Ikea clearly don't take the obese into account when testing their products).
I am far too tired to continue. As per usual. Must dash to my body sized dent in the bed.