Bonjour, Willkommen, Hola and hello to you all. The children are in bed, the dishwasher is on and the wine is out so let the excitement begin.
I apologise for the delay in communication. Other than the usual dullness that keeps me apart from the written word, I have been struggling to write about my recent gallivanting. Although the happenings have been jolly, when I write them down in black and white, it all sounds particularly dull and not at all jolly so I have given up and gone to bed the last ten times I have tried to write to you. I have been suffering from severe Writer's Block if you will. However I have forced myself back on tonight as it has gone on for far too long now and I need to break the cycle.
So now. A LOT has happened in Nashville. But I don't want to bore you/ruin it if you haven't watched it yet so I shall keep that to myself. Not much has happened here. There have been lots of nice things like the bank holiday, a glimpse of the sun, the East Dulwich fair, My HAIR (obviously the best bit), Cybs learning to sleep ALL NIGHT and as a huge bonus we have also been treated to a good old dose of The Replacement's company which always makes things jolly and bright.
I shall begin with The Bank Holiday which was fabulous. Three whole days of good stuff. On Saturday The Mother who can't bear to live next to me (her new name) came up to visit Shiny Life Sister (I have also renamed the Newly Married Sister as she has been married for a whole year now and it occurred to us, on her last visit to mother's, that where my life is a bit haggard, 'well used' and rough around the edges, hers is still magnificently shiny, pristine and new with her fabulous flat, fabulous wardrobe, fabulous job etc etc) so I packed my non-shiny children in to our non-shiny car and drove to Millionaire's Row where Shiny Life sister resides. We had a gorgeous afternoon and just before we got ready to leave Bea was whisked away for an impromptu sleepover with My Brother in Law's niece. She had an amazing time in their lovely big house (with a pool which mightily impressed Bea) and returned the following day full of the joys of spring. We went straight in to a party at the local pub and then home for a BBQ with the gorgeous Replacement who came for a sleepover which is such a rare occurrence we couldn't quite believe our luck. Bank Holiday Monday was all things to all people and included the added excitement of the SUN. Bea tried horse riding for only the second time in her life at her best friend's party and I took the other three to meet her in the park for the tail end of the party and some quality bike time for the boys. In a scene reminiscent of something from The Simpsons almost the entire population of South East London also saw the sun in the sky and dropped everything for a slice of park life and within minutes the car park and road approaching it were jam packed with cars of all shapes and sizes all desperately trying to find somewhere to leave them and spend quality minutes under the hot stuff. Luckily I found it all very amusing and managed to find somewhere to park relatively easily but The Replacement was not so lucky and went down a dead end and got stuck there for twenty minutes, boxed in by other desperate people wondering if they might strike it lucky. She aborted her mission once finally free and headed for home. Understandably so.
The following week brought with it a day that was similar to Christmas in anticipation and excitement levels. It also started jolly early in the morning. 4.30am to be precise. I
thought I was hallucinating and kept blinking and looking at the time
again just in case it was really 6.30 and I was imagining the 4. I was not. Ted was awake and ready to go. I
managed to get him nearly back to sleep at around 5.15 when Cybs awoke
and needed my attention so then Ted woke up properly with the excitement
of the imminent arrival of 'his' baby. He greets her merrily every
morning by shouting 'My Baby!!' and smothering her with affection. His
love for her is one of his very greatest qualities. By 5.30 a.m Ted was
trying to discuss nipples with me. Who had big ones (me) who had little
ones (him and Cybs) why weren't Daddy's big and who can feed babies with them. Ten minutes later he had had an
argument with my phone and thrown it at the wall which woke up Bea. She
was happy to be awake especially early as she was so over excited about her imminent
school trip. G soon followed. He also had a school trip but his had the added frisson of K going along as an adult helper which meant the excitement factor was 310 and it wasn't even 6 a.m. Ted didn't have a school trip, but was being swept along by the tide of feeling from everyone else and was just happy that K was walking down to the school with us. So, with the early start and the unusually happy and willing children, the usual morning routine was accomplished in double quick time and so half an hour before we needed to leave they were all standing shod, dressed, fed and ready at the front door with their packed lunches and backpacks. It was about as thrilling as things get around here.
K returned triumphant but exhausted from his trip to a Nature Reserve. He had, by all accounts, been quite a hit with the children and had even been mistaken for a teacher and advised by G's teacher to think about a change in career to become a teacher. He was most pleased with himself. Although I'm not sure he could do it more than once. Not only did he fall asleep on the coach on the way back to school (much to the hilarity of the surrounding children and a few adults) he also collapsed on to the sofa as soon as he arrived home and fell asleep almost immediately for a further hour and a half. I had to nip and meet Bea from her coach which was delayed on its returne from the seaside and when we all returned (Bea beautifully happy and windswept and full of her adventures) all three males of the household were sound asleep and snoring on the sofa. It did make me ponder the battle of the sexes. I was thrilled and happy and, as a friend pointed out, had mentally awarded him numerous 'daddy points', for agreeing to take a day off work and going along with 90 children on a trip, so his sleep seemed like a fitting reward for his great deed. However, if for any reason I had managed to offload the younger two and had managed to accompany G in K's place I would have been up at 4.30, made breakfast, packed four lunches, ensured all four were dressed, loaded the dishwasher, left the house with all children, walked down to school, deposited smaller two somewhere, left eldest one at her school, gone with second one on the school trip, done the trip, returned home, gone back out to pick up Bea, cooked supper, fed children, cleared away, run bath and got some way/all the way through the bedtime routine before K came home and would have pronounced that he had had an exhausting day at work and no doubt complained about my lack of supper provision. I am NOT 'having a go' I am just saying.
Last weekend included the glory of having my hair done on a Sunday. Exciting. Doubly so as I left K with all four. I left the house free as a bird and enjoyed a fantastic two and a half hours with me, myself and I. Before K realised they needed feeding and dropped Cybs off with me and took the others for a fry up. Again, I awarded him many multiples of 'Daddy Points' for taking on all four until, once again, I examined the facts more closely and realised that the two and a half hours of childcare he had amassed were all I had done before he had even woken up. So this time around I didn't allow him a sleep on the sofa and made him get up and take us to the fair in East Dulwich. Cue lots of complaints about the price of putting three children on to a bouncy castle (£12 in case you were wondering) and fears for their whereabouts with so many people crammed in to a relatively small Goose Green. Still, is was again, jolly good fun and a great afternoon spent out of the sodding house.
I have been making a conscious effort recently to try and do a bit more at the weekends so we can end the weekend with a highlight and I can spend important hours out of the house. Today's was going to the Southbank to meet some school friends I haven't seen since I was 18. I took Bea and Cybs and we finally got to experience the joy of meandering along the Southbank with the added bonus of catching up with people I used to see every weekday for years on end (other than holidays) and then all of a sudden we left school and I haven't seen them since. It was so nice to nip on a train and have a beautiful afternoon with my girls. Which, got me thinking about the classic saying You Only Live Once - or Y.O.L.O, as I believe the youth of today abbreviate it to - it is used in entirely the wrong context. At the moment is seems to be used to convince yourself/someone else to do something they wouldn't normally do or to encourage them/you to act recklessly. However, if you think about it, it is entirely BECAUSE you only live once that you should be cautious and careful and NOT reckless. I remain entirely unconvinced by the idea of reincarnation or life after death so as this is really IT, it seems a little silly to risk it all for the thrill of a bungee jump or marathon run. Therefore I would officially like to change the meaning of Y.O.L.O from now on so that if you are planning to take up drag car racing, planning a skydive or thinking about swimming the channel, just stop and say to yourself, Y.O.L.O and do the sensible thing; Go home, turn on Nashville and have a cup of cocoa. You'll live so much longer.
See? It's not that exciting when all down in black and white. You were probably better off watching Nashville and having that cocoa. Still it has broken the back of my writer's block and I shall hope for something worthy of writing about as soon as possible. It is half term next week so maybe the Suffolk air will blow away my block and I shall be back with thrilling things.
Until then, stay safe; sit down. Adios xxxxxxxxxxxxxx