Devon again. It’s kind of a Thing.

It is Easter! Here is Ned modelling his plain but effective Easter Bonnet, looking kind of pensive in his wolf onesie, but nailing it. He OWNED that makeshift cardboard red carpet:

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Easter has also come to mean a week away in the country, and so we decamped to the wilds of rural clotted cream Devon to stay in a farmhouse and pat the ponies. We left after school broke up on Friday and drove straight down with a dirty little stop at a KFC for dinner and only one incident involving the dog, his vomit and my jeans. The jeans in question are rated no.2 on my Jeans Hierachy, meaning they are better than the Seven For All Mankind jeans which are a little bit big but not so good as the really tight size 30 Levis skinny ones which I believe gives me a better bum. The vomit jeans are in between those other two, kind of relaxed and casual, teetering dangerously close to the ‘Mom Jeans’ category of Sadness and Despair. Anyway, Magic spewed green bile quite early on in the seven hour traffic-jammed journey, sitting as he was between my legs in the front passenger seat, but I was cool about it, and let it dry and tried not to think too much about it. It was more a case of working out the Jeans Hierachy reshuffle. You don’t wanna peak too soon, you know, bringing out the tight bum jeans on DAY ONE, and then letting everyone down with your creeping bum and slacker thighs while you wait for the Mom Jeans to dry. Anyway, this is Magic, possibly quite relieved, and me, being cool about my warm patch:

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On the long drive, the kids were silent, owing to the DVD player installed on the roof of the truck, and so Mark and I listened to an episode of This American Life, via the medium of the modern podcast, and part of the show was about ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – something I had never heard of. A girl was talking about how, when the conditions are right, like hearing a whispery voice, or watching something really boring like napkins being folded, she gets a tingly head sensation. And I asked Mark if he gets the tingly head sensation, and he was totally clueless and said he didn’t know what she was talking about. Because I get that tingly head when I am tired and the children talk in whispery voices. So, apparently, I have ASMR! A new condition to google obsessively, and OH! The ASMR videos on youtube are totally mental. You learn something every day, etc, etc.  

Devon was, of course, all things lovely. There was a pool and our own jacuzzi and a variety of beaches where we scoffed fish and chips and ice cream. It was sunny enough to have a few barbecues and the dog was allowed to run around and he met some friends and they sniffed together and barked at the ponies. Magic got a little cocky, and came into the pool house while we (and other cottagers) were there and jumped right in. His dog friends stood at the door and watched, kind of horrified, kind of admiringly, as I heaved him out of the pool and back out the door. I think Magic was probably pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. I know I was.

Here’s the view from the cottage:

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Here’s the dog swimming in the fishing pond. I think he was allowed to swim in there. Maybe.

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Here’s a selection of beaches, from chips at Looe, to the gorgeous sand at Bude. We also stopped at Widemouth for a few hours, but we became overwhelmed by the stench of chicken manure and had to leave. There was also a sign warning the casual Easter-beach-goer that sometimes there is a toxic fatty substance on the shore, which kills dogs. And there were stingy beetles finding their way inside our shirts. Disconcerting, to say the least. 

 

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And the rarest thing ever – the first photo of us all. Here we are, me with enormous hair, the others in varying degrees of enthusiasm, at the gorgeous tudor house at Cotehele, ALL TOGETHER!

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Unfortunately, the baby took the week as a chance to regress, and so he is waking again at 3:30 for bosoms. He is also a little bit snotty, and one night he woke every few hours. Here he is the morning after:

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Gleeful. I was less so.

We got back yesterday, and the boys raced into their room and started playing with Lego, and Mark and I lay down on our enormous bed and wept happy little internal tears of contentment. Happy to go away, but very happy to come home. Something must be right, eh? Anyway, Happy Easter to you, Dear Reader. I wish you many egg hunts and roast lamb and sunshine x

 

 

 

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Dirty Baby


The Baby is eating solid food and it kills me. I hate it. I hate the dumb pureeing and the bits that fall onto the floor and having to remember to take it in small containers where ever you go and I really hate bibs, so don’t have any, and so his clothes get like this:

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and then, because I my skills lie in non-domestic arenas, I forget to rinse them off and they go into the washing machine and come out with colour-less, squashy bits of banana and carrot still attached. He’s down with it though. Just look at that face! He’s very happy because he ate a raspberry. Imagine what a beautiful place the world would be if we could all just eat raspberries and be happy. There’d be no more wars, probably. Or anti-depressants or wrinkles.

This new phase just makes me long for the days when my bosoms were enough, and I was immersed in hormally-drenched love and he was still new. I keep saying to Mark that I would prefer to have a permanent five-month old baby, although that would make him effectively retarded and me continually sleep-deprived, but you know what I mean, right? Kids are fine, but babies are properly, sniffily, softly divine.

Two weeks ago, the kids had a day off school because of a strike, and so I teamed up with K and S and their (nice, calm, non-violent) girls and we took them to the Museum of London. Which should have been a perfectly pleasant outing. But from the moment we left the flat, it was apparently that the mysterious Switch Of Awfulness had been turned on, and there was not only the usual kicking of each other and darting across busy roads without looking and huggy/wrestly games that lead to them knocking people off the pavement, but also lying-on-the-tube-floor-tantrums, tipping the buggy over while going down the elevator, climbing up onto museum exhibits and throwing of food in the museum cafe. So I frogmarched them out of there in an embarrassed fury, and made them walk around and around a few streets in the City, passing the same patch of the Roman Wall for an hour and a half in the pathetic hope that they would get tired and stop being such awful children, before I would let them get onto the tube again.

We found Guildhall Square and they ran around like dogs for a bit, yelping and playing tag while people on their lunch break stuck their headphones in a little deeper:

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It was weird, distressing and humiliating, and I thought that this parenting job really sucks and you get no pay and your clothes get dirty and no one thinks you are very interesting and you can only wear converse sneakers and there is always bits of kinder surprise foil wrappers in your sensible handbag and I QUIT.

But no one notices when I quit. I kind of quit on Mother’s Day. I told everyone the night before that all of Sunday I was going to

1) not walk the dog

2) not wipe down any benches

3) go out for breakfast

But when I got up, the dog was all sad and waiting to go out, the kitchen was strewn, there was no time for breakfast because the clocks had been put back an hour and we had a birthday party to go to, and NO ONE LOOKED UP FROM WATCHING TV. So I ate a banana and scowled at everyone. I did get some interesting cards from three of them, complicated collages of cardboard, too much PVA, feathers and mis-spellings, so I guess there was some sort of an attempt to say thank you for all the hours of unremarkable, thankless, dumb chores that I don’t actually want to do, but have no choice, because without me and my dishcloth/washing line/Ottolenghi cookbooks/dog lead/car keys/disinfectant they would all slowly die.

So one must reward oneself, if no one else will. I cleaned up a corner of the kitchen just the other day, sorting through one of my artful piles of papers, hidden under Vogue and on top of the reissued Teasmade which Mark refuses to put into the bedroom because he doesn’t understand the beauty of a bedside tea-making machine, and I found a department store gift voucher someone gave us for Otis, and so I drove to Westfield and bought myself a Clinique Colour Correction foundation-thing with it. The hygienic and conscientious among you may be thinking I could have used that money to buy bibs, but no one is a winner with more bibs in the house.  So now I have dewy skin, which quite possibly makes me a better mother, and the entire family benefits.

You have to take these things where you can get them, I reckon.

On that note, Dear Reader, there is a Stella McCartney sample sale on Thursday and I am going to strap that baby upon my increasingly-redundant chest and get in there and elbow the other lovies out of my way and go buy some blazers, dammit. Maybe TWO.

 

Here’s a double-whammy of Casper, firstly in my scratched Tom Fords looking like an early Elton John (thanks, Ellen, good call), secondly with sellotape around his head.

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And the fat dog, on the couch, relaxing:

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And, at last, the baby. Cleanish:

 

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Bibless, and all the better for it.

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Ice Balls

Ah, Stats, you shame me. What, no one is checking in to see me write the exact same thing about my children, post after post after post? CONFUSED FACE. Why, doncha wanna know that their bedroom smells of wee and the dog runs away and lipsticks are really good if they have high pigment and that I like to make cakes?

Of course you do. Which is just as well, because here I have another photo of a CAKE.

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That’s sand made of digestive biscuits, you know.

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Casper turned six, and wanted a pirate-y birthday, with a spy-gear influence and a sprinkling of sweets. It was supposed to be in the garden, and so we all took the food outside, rugged up, sat near each other to stave off the cold, and then it hailed big old ouchy ice balls and so we took the party home, and drank a fair bit of prosecco to numb the pain of having an accidental Inside Kid’s Party. Because I hate those. Because of the odd places you find decaying cake weeks afterwards. And the crunchiness underfoot, and the fact that the kids end up playing some sort of Under The Bed type game with the contents of your secret bedside drawers. You know what I mean. And how everyone gets kind of flushed and sweaty and full of cheese. But it was kind of fun, and Casper didn’t notice that his birthday party ended up a Saturday Social Club for the grownups. Just as well, because that would have become another excellent topic for the therapist of his foreseeable future.

That’s him, still only five, on a Sunday afternoon walk in the Chiltern Hills. In camouflage, cos that’s how we roll.

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Since I last had a stats spike, we have been mudlarking a little on the Hammersmith foreshore, and dredged up more clay beer bottles and pottery and clay pipes. The dog came, but his mudlarking skills are pretty undeveloped, because you can’t eat old sharp bits of crockery. So we dig, he lies in the mud and dreams of human food to steal. And I have secret conversations in my mind about whether we should give the dog to a kind farmer who doesn’t mind constant food theft and yellow patches of wees in his farmer childrens’ bedrooms. I nearly dropped him off to the imaginary farmer last week when Magic magically escaped out of the back of the Landrover while I was driving, jumped out and ran all over the road, all the way back to school, barked at some small children, wagged his tail, stole some food and then waited patiently for me to come back. He had been in the back of the truck, then we drove off down the road, and then the back door slammed shut. And no dog was there. I had to get off the Edgware Road, find a park, and run back to school, calling out his name and looking for his squashed body all over the tarmac. A big crowd had drawn up outside the school gates and a lady held him and she told me not to let him run away again.

YES, LADY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SAGE ADVICE.

How did Magic get out of the truck? Secret opposable thumbs? Did he smell days’ old fried chicken remains and burst through the door and then tidily shut it again? IS MAGIC A DOG AT ALL? Did Ned do it? A prankster passing by? AM I ON THE TRUMAN SHOW AND THE PRODUCERS WANTED TO PLAY WITH MY MIND?

It’s hard to tell. And he wasn’t giving any answers away.

So after the mudlarking, we found a completely lovely pub on the riverfront called The Black Lion (aren’t they all, really?) which is owned by a New Zealander called Buzz (aren’t we all, really?) and we ate and drank in the sun and then, to our amazement and delight, they built a hangi and we stayed and watched the fire and tried to keep Casper out of it and feasted upon smokey chicken and sweet potatoes and smiled to ourselves. And tried to remember how to speak in Maori but failed. And the children got moko tattoos:

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And here we are, lining up in a very calm and sensible way (parents of the children at school, please take note – lining up can actually be fair, civilised and rational):

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And here are the children on World Book Day, dressed in a mashup of Amazon last minute costume purchases, old shields, swords we found hidden away from the last violent time they had been confiscated, a cheeseboard tray and pyjamas:

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And two weeks ago, on a very sunny Saturday, eating fantastic chicken burgers from Broadway market, and a little street dancing:

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And The Really Good News

You totally thought I was going to say I was going to have another baby, didn’t you? You probably didn’t, actually. Well, that’s not it.

Mum and Dad are coming to stay for summer! The children can talk to them in real life rather than the Skype chats that keep cutting out after three minutes. We can all go to the Vikings exhibition and visit the Tate and talk about ancestral things and they can meet the current baby. VERY PLEASED.

So pleased, I am tempted to dress Ned up in a checked shirt and fancy necklace to celebrate. Oh, wait:

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He does that kind of thing voluntarily.

In baby news, Otis has a crusty eye and a soft fuzz of new downy blonde hair atop his baby head. He has huge thighs and an appreciation for poached pears and kale. He squeals a lot, mostly in a happy way, and we all swear he can say “dad”.

Righto. Time to watch Game of Thrones which I am secretly kind of liking. Especially the rude bits.

 

 

 

 

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Penelope Wears It Well

London. I Love You

Yesterday it was an INSET day, tacked on the the end of a mostly good, not-overly-shouty half term holiday, and so we spent our last day getting liberally SHOWERED with both otherworldly Springish sunshine and Spanish ‘slebs.

At the pirate park, the park with the pirate ship and sand and organic pizzas and teepees in the grounds of Kensington Gardens, where we have played for so long and for so many years that I can take you on a personal tour of places where the children have lost a fingernail in the orbiting spinner, the preferred tree house where they eat their pizza, the toilets to avoid, the best places to dig in the sand for other people’s forgotten toys, the bush that Noah got lost in and then a woman found him and told me off for neglect, etc, etc, well, yesterday, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem and their two kids were there. SCREAM! And here they are!

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Right in the middle of that oh so casual snap, but of course, mindful of not being too much of a freakish stalker who annoys them on their holiday, I took it very fast. And so Penelope’s head, which was in a very lovely floppy hat, the kind of hat that only those who are a bit famous can wear, is obscured by a big leaf. And Javier is texting, and he looks like a lumberjack. And in any case, they are so small I could be making it all up, the delusion brought on by ten days of sole charge of the five boys and the overweight dog and their endless fights over food, small Lego pieces, positions on the couch and lost magnets. Which I am sure you could forgive me if I did, but I SWEAR that is they. And then, to top off the day’s rich celeb sighting, Jason Donovan cycled past us on our way to the Science Museum to buy more magnets to replace the lost ones. He sooooo should have married Kylie.

Also, London is loveable because you can entertain yourself, and the children and the dog for free for ten days and never do the same thing twice. And you can walk or take the bus and the tube, and mostly, it is safe, and mostly, they kids don’t fall down the escalators at Charing Cross station. Only once, they do that. Pulling the buggy halfway down with them, and making me get very shout and red and panicked and threatening to take them all home to SIT IN THE DARK! And do NOTHING! But MAYBE TIDY UP THE LEGO PIECES WHILE WE THINK ABOUT SAFETY! But we continued on, and made it to the Transport Museum to run around without reading any of the information, just looking for the stamp machines to stamp their passports and then go get babyccinos while having learnt nothing at all about Hackney carriages and trams.

And what else? We spent a morning getting muddy and rained on in Holland Park, and saw three peacocks who wisely ran away from the boys who had decided they were on a peacock feather hunt. Here is a peacock having fled the children, on a roof, taunting them with his plumage:

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And we watched street performers at Covent Garden, spent £50 at Borough market buying mushroom pate, bread blessed at Southwark cathedral,  roast pork and brownie, walked from Borough to the Southbank alongside the river and stopped to mudlark and picked up ancient mussel shells, 400 year old clay pipes and shiny worn glass, then found farm animals to hold outside the Royal Festival Hall.

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And the boys even found the time (and the balls) to tell the teenage skaters at the half pipe to “Fall Off!”. We hastily left.

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And it was birthday cake season again, with two kids turning nine and four in a week. Here is the Rainbow Cake Of Joy:

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Filthy, stomach-lining-staining, but a vessel of ROYGBIV happiness, none the less. It never gets tired.

And here is the Dog, who steals food and rubbish whenever he can. The vet kindly scolded me for making him 7kg too fat, and said he should have a waist. Well, shouldn’t we all, really? So now he only gets fed once a day, and he is very sad about it. Although, in that photo, I believe he is smiling. He is smiling, to hide his waistless-fat-dog-shame.

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Annnd finally, here is a series of notes, passed to my by Noah who was refusing to speak to me. He had attacked Casper for something, and I clipped him around the ear, and he was horrified and said he would never speak again and would never forgive me. I was doing the online supermarket food shop at the time, and asked everyone for their favourite dinners, and when it got to him he couldn’t have his turn, and so he relented to writing notes. He chose Spisy Chickn Raps, for the record. And then he passed me these:

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And so, just like that, he gave up his principles for a pair of 78p metal handcuffs with a key. HA!

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Daily Humiliations: Add the Dog

So, here is Magic, about a year on:

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Relatively handsome, leonine-like, a noble beast, a bit foxy. He and I walk up to school twice a day, past the same kids and families and commuters. And he does annoying things like eat rubbish and pull me to the wall so he can sniff wee which yanks my shoulder and sometimes threatens to trip me up and my hands get little rope burns.

But the thing that kills me is that a large percentage of said kids and families are really scared of him, and do these daily dramatic and sometimes hysterical freak outs when they see us, sometimes with screams, often involuntary jumps, and almost always a massive sideways manoeuvre where, in the vain hope of not having to go near us AT ALL they throw themselves hard up against the curb of the oncoming traffic and they stiffen and lean back and stare at the Terrifying Dog Of Fluffiness. And he is always on a very short leash, attached to me, who is in turn attached to a sweet baby in a sling, with a bunch of small kids tagging along, all patting him and talking to him (when not kicking each other or scaling subway walls). And I wonder to myself

MUST WE DO THIS EVERY DAY?

And I feel embarrassed, and I apologise, and I sigh and wonder why everything feels so hard.

And on Saturday, I took him into Hyde Park and he ran over to a team of small boys playing organised football and he ate their post-match brownies. And on Sunday, I took him for a walk in the rain and he found a big muddy puddle and he started this embarrassing game he plays where he splashes and then he barks hysterically at the splash then he splashes some more and barks at his splash and it goes on and on and on. And there was quite the crowd of amused onlookers while he played his game, and then I tried to get him out but he was waaay too into his game and then a man walked by and tried to coax him out with treats and Magic The Greedy ignored him and I was getting very wet and bored and embarrassed as my calls of increasingly insistent Magic! Come! were utterly ignored then finally, after the splash game had gone on for about 20 minutes, a lady in Wellington boots rescued him and me from the shame of the splash game. He looked like this:

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That face is what you call “Unrepentant” and “Not Bothered”.

So all of this embarrassment and bother has given me new forehead lines. LOOK!

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They are new, and they are MEAN. They are there even when my forehead is resting. If I could be arsed, I would Botox them away in a thrice. See how my eyes are blazing with the injustice of Anglo-Saxon ageing? Even my nose seems to have taken on an outraged incandescent glow. Pah.

In other news, Barnaby is about to turn nine. Here is his birthday wish-list:

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Longer than the Bible. You’ve got to admire his optimism, though, right?

We all got onesies in the sale. Mark has a skeleton, I have a monkey suit. They feel completely lovely and yet so revolting, kind of like when you are recovering from a vomiting bug and you wrap yourself up in an old duvet and it smells a bit like sweat and sick but you are too weak to do anything about it…that is what it feels like to wear a onesie when you are 36. Here we have a very tightly fitted Gorilla and a Wolf, dancing just like Richard Simmons would do, were he dressed similarly in a polyester animal suit:

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CRIPES! It’s school run time – or, as we like to put it, The Dog Walk Of Shame. Here’s one last photo of the delicious Otis, who can now roll over, suck his toes, giggle and generally get me up twice a night. My Gina Ford Baby-Wrangling-Powers have thus far failed to work. But HOW CUTE IS HE?!?

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Hair Situation

First, the bad news. I am moulting like a sorry dog. I would have said ‘I am moulting like poor Kate Middleton’ but her Hair Of Supernaturalness seems to have recovered from her hormonal lank-and-falling-out blip and it is Back. Which sort of well and truly ends my virtual sistership with her – you know, for awhile there we were both pregnant, gave birth in the same hospital (only a narrow slip road separating her private ward from my NHS public) we both exited St Marys with a balloon tum (with less of the international press photographing mine, it must be said). I live practically next to her palace, and we both have dogs. So I thought I may well just walk past her in Kensington Gardens one day while we wheel our boy babies around, and our dogs would hang out and then we would talk about our thinning hair, shrinking bosoms and our jeans that only do up if you hoist the excess skin up and over the waistband and I would give her sage advice about getting your babies to sleep all night and stuff. (HA! Thats when you know this is a work of fantasy).

But she is all back-to-normal, and her hair is thick and full and un-grey, and it mocks me. Mine is everywhere other than on my head, and quite a few of the bastards are grey.

But! There is a flip side. My excess hair can be collected up after a wash, in darkened clumps, and be twisted together to form small zoo animals. Everything from a monkey to a warthog can be fashioned, with a little imagination, and be stuck to the wall of the shower to wait for Mark to come and play the Guess Which Zoo Hair Animal Am I? He has never liked this game though. He says it grosses him out. I say, let’s make lemonade from the lemons on my balding tree, or something to that effect. Besides, he has been making some dark mutterings about me going back to work, and so, taking my Hair Animal idea further, I can’t see why I couldn’t pour some perspex onto my various crafted menagerie and sell them as brooches on Etsy. I am sure the Victorians did something similar, or the Crusaders, or something.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We went to Devon again, and were the only people in the cottages and so had two heated pools and one jacuzzi to ourselves. We went to the beach and lost Noah, and to the Barnstaple Pannier Market and lost Cassper, we ate Nepalese curry, lots of pasties, duck, ham and lots of oak-smoked cheddar. There were no badgers this year, but I did find a dead toad:

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Here is the pool which turned my Alex Monroe jewellery black and gave me a tiny bit of eczema but was warm and comforting like a bosomy womb:

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Putsborough Sands before Noah got lost and had to be rescued by a bemused family:

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The 15th century church in Tawstock where we had the Christmas Day service, and they asked Otis to be Santa:Image

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We drove everything dawn in the Bad Air-Polluting Landrover (we discovered a little too late that driving it incurs a daily £100 fee in central London…ahem) and fitted everyone in, presents and Christmas food and clothes and towels and baby paraphernalia, and little extras like four gingerbread house packets to make up and glue together and decorate with sweets. I tried to get all four boys to do it but was a bit casual with the icing mix (and used bloody fair-trade golden icing sugar which turned the ‘snow’ into a very urine-y yellow) and it was nearing dinner and my jumper was making me itch and I was hot and rushed and they all fell apart spectacularly and this is how the gingerbread houses all looked:

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Like a building site. I may as well have stomped on the packets in IKEA and be done with it.

Anyway, I want to write more, but the dog has eaten Otis’s last dummy and everyone seems about to start crying. I am not, because I spent the day in Selfridges returning some stupid boots I panic-bought on Christmas Eve and then wandered the floors buying stuff with the refund, and so I am officially Above It All, still adrift in the Sea of Consumer Euphoria and suchlike.

Happy New Year to everyone, and enjoy the break – especially you little summery New Zealanders, all smug in your tents and covered in fresh freckles. And I leave you with this tiny photo of our Christmas lunch. x

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Sad Story About Falling Over

Hello all. I am not going to talk about the baby, except to say that it became apparent to me at about 11:55pm last night after the work party and the associated prosecco/brandy/bitters/exploding sugar lump cocktails (?) malarky that the baby is really The Greatest Baby Of All Time. And if you abbreviate that hefty moniker to GBOAT, then you have G-Boat. Which is quite possibly an excellent nickname for him, even though Otis is so much quicker to say. But less meaningful, if you follow.

So. I have had an eventful month, one in which I fell over face-first with the baby in the sling in front of a busload of early morning commuters at a full bus stop and I let go of the dog lead in my valiant attempt to shield the G-Boat’s face from being skinned on the pavement and my nail polish got ripped off instead and there is now a hole in my post-baby jeans and big knee bruises and I admit, I cried. But PHEW G-Boat’s face was perfectly unharmed. And WHY did I fall over at the bus stop with a baby in a sling in the early morning School-Run of Doom, you ask?

The answer depends on your perspective. Now, with a clear head, less anger, time to have processed said events, more sleep in my sleep-bank, hormones a little less haywire, I suppose I have to say that I fell over because I was manically half-running to school with a dog in one hand and dragging a reluctant child in the other, and the broken pavement tripped me up a little and perhaps, my ankle boots with the mid-heel, worn to give the illusion of longer legs (at 8:18am, no less – never let an opportunity to fake a leaner silhouette go by, Ladies) may have been a contributing factor. On the day, however, as I so hissily weepily angrily told the boys – IT WAS THEIR FAULT. And, to be fair, I had had a few days of being the victim of Casper’s new manipulation – the one in which he sits down on the pavement en route to school, and refuses to move. Past rationale for the very public foetal-street-postioning has variously been:

a) He wants to hold my left hand, and Ned is holding my left one. The right one is free, but unacceptable

b) He was trying to tell me something and I didn’t respond correctly

c) I didn’t zip up his bag

d) his jacket has slippery shoulders, his bag keeps falling off and I won’t carry it for him

e) I folded a piece of paper he handed me. Folding wasn’t ok

etc etc

So, in response, he curls up in protest on the dirty pavement in amongst the A40 tumbleweed and mouse carcasses. I try to ignore it and keep going to the next crossing or just out of sight at the next bend, but mostly, he still has not moved at that bluff, and by this point there is about seven people crowded around him, asking him where his mother is, and pulling out their iPhones to call the police, and so I finally give in and and walk back and pull him up by the arm and hiss at him that he will have to go STRAIGHT to the headmaster when we get to school, and then we have to kind-of-run to make up the time and only then do I find him half a block behind, walking with tiny steps and staring at me like Shriver’s Kevin. We wait, watching various traffic light cycles go by, the time ticking on, and he catches up with us and tells me that he walked like a snail because I was rude to him.

So that day, the falling down day, I had had a bit of the pavement sitting and snail walking, and I was consequently raging along in my ungainly half-run pulling Casper along with me, ranting about this awful behaviour, and so I went splat.

Sometimes I feel very mad, doing this job.

But then, you go see Santa, and everything feels ok again.

Here is a much less dramatic and entirely painless autumnal jaunt through Santa’s wood to the wishing tree via reindeer feeding at Crockford Bridge Farm. Sometimes, we are perfectly sitcommable.

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And there was a birthday brunch at The Wolseley with N, who has been my friend since I was 12. She looks as beautiful as ever.

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And here is G-Boat, dressed in both lemony/minty knitting from the church fair and his warm bear suit. It’s the Little Black Dress for babies.

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SAMPLE SALE TALLY

This was a mixed bag, I’m sorry to say. I bought Alexander McQueen black trousers for £50, but I didn’t try them on, and so discovered they were unhemmed and ah, don’t fit. Erdem was excellent, furnishing me with sharp patterned trousers and Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem yellow pointed heels for £60, but Christopher Kane had an hour and fifteen minutes queue to get in and a fifteen minute coat check line which gave me three minutes to look before I ran back to the babysitter, kind of annoyed and embarrassed by my sample sale compulsion. Here is a highly unflattering photo of the Erdem haul:

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If only I could actually wear them. I blame my sixth toe.

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