Sunday, 31 July 2011

Second Helpings of Mummy Misfit

One of our daft games to play at home is the A-Z game.  Pick a subject, e.g. music groups, and work your way through the alphabet naming one for each letter (Abba, Boyzone and so on).

So today I thought I’d tempt you with the A-Z of “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” to give you a further taster of what lies within its covers.

A is for affluence.  Sadly not for the main characters, Libby and Ned, but for the majority of parents they meet on their journey through the world of private education.

B is for Bazza-the-Budgie.  The most loved bird in the world owned by Libby’s neighbour, Mrs Sengupta, who has a penchant for Barry Manilow.

C is for Chelsea Tractors.  The mummies all own them and ‘park by braille’.

D is for Dog.  He arrives unannounced and his sexuality comes under question with interesting consequences.

E is for eggs.  Does Libby have one more left to make a much longed for baby?

F is for Fenella, the wonderful mummy-friend Libby makes at Prep School.  Outspoken and feisty, she keeps Libby sane.

G is for gay.  Nic and Rick, Libby’s best gay friends.

H is for haaandbaaag!  Designer of course, unless it belongs to Libby.

I is for insecurities.  Libby has many which she fights constantly.

J is for jackpot.  Libby and Ned live in hope of winning the lottery to ease their troubles.

K is for kids.  Some nice, some nasty - depending on the parents.

L is for Libby, the main character in the book.  Desperate to fit in but always feeling she doesn’t belong.

M is for the ‘Meemies’ (it’s all about ‘Me, me, me!’).  The dislikeable mums that Libby contends with daily at the school gates.

N is for Nigella Lawson, AKA ‘My God’ (MG), a regular feature in Libby’s quest to become a domestic goddess.

O is for Olga.  The put-upon nanny who Libby befriends.  Is she a lesbian or not?

P is for Pritesh.  Mrs Sengupta’s rather attractive son, who she is hell-bent on match-making with Libby.

Q is for queasy.  A condition Libby & Fenella often find themselves in after a good night out or a bad night in.

R is for recession.  It hits and it hurts.

S is for stereotypes.  Unashamedly featured in every shape and form and, although fictitious (of course!), you’re bound to recognise one or two from your own experience.

T is for two-faced.  The mummies are rarely as they seem.

U is for uniform (school).  Obviously from Harrods and at a ridiculous price.

V is for the ‘Vulgar Monied Set’.  Prepare to meet them all.

W is for wedding.  The campest event of the year.

X is for Xmas fair.  The huge school committee job Libby & Fenella take on.

Y is for yummy mummies.  Enough said!

Z is for zany.  “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” is a tongue-in-cheek look at the differences between the Haves and the Have-Nots.

Want to find out more?  You can download “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” at Amazon for Kindle, PC or Smartphone.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Sample chapters here.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Pulling (and Pushing) Through

Isn’t it funny how we can look back over our lives and sometimes think, “I don’t know how I did that.”?

It could be anything from coping with a bereavement to juggling three kids and a full time job.  You find yourself sitting back and reminiscing, wondering if it was really you it happened to.

So here’s my Top Five - ‘HOW DID I DO THAT?’

How did I cope, at eighteen, losing the dad who meant everything to me?  He passed away in the June, just as I was about to sit ‘A’ levels and also audition for drama schools.  The world was meant to be my oyster but I found myself constantly worrying about my widowed mum.  It’s hard to throw yourself into the excitement of theatre life and all the social stuff that comes with it when you feel guilty and bereft.  All credit to my mum, she never held me back and encouraged me all the way.  It was tough but we got through it.

As an off-shoot from that, how did I ever get up on stage in front of a couple of hundred people and perform?  I’m going back over twenty years now but can readily recall the petrifying nerves that would attack me for the first five minutes on stage.  I’d shake from head to toe until the joy kicked in and then I was fine.  I did the same thing on my wedding day and guests remarked that my beaded dress was twinkling in the sunlight of the church with every tremor that went through my body!  I still have regular dreams that I’m about to go on stage and I don’t know a single line or even the play I’m meant to be performing in.

How did I give birth?  Well, obviously I know how I did it.  There are only two exits and my son didn’t come through the sun roof.  He was pushed … and pushed … and pushed!  Until they finally realised that he had the umbilical cord around his neck and was effectively bungee-ing.  All was well in the end (literally!) but I still don’t know how I did it.  It hurt!  I’m the biggest coward there is and I don’t like pain but I managed to get through it.  My husband was amazed that I didn’t shout a single profanity.  In fact I didn’t utter a word of any description at all - I was struck dumb with panic and just pointed manically at my back to demand a massage.  At one point during a contraction, I apparently terrified the living daylights out of hubbie and my sister because the look in my eye was so murderous they feared for their lives.
Would I have done it again?  Yes. If I’d been given the chance, but it wasn’t to be.

How did I secure a highly paid job in the City complete with whopping clothing allowance when I had absolutely no experience whatsoever?  Picture this, it’s the eighties and I’m sick of working part time as a dental nurse and acting in the evenings.  I’ve never got enough money and I’m finally realising that acting doesn’t pay the bills.  Off I head to an interview to become a receptionist/PA for a finance company with a salary beyond my wildest dreams.  They say it’s always the jobs you don’t give a stuff about that you actually get and I was offered the job on my answering machine while I was still on the tube journey home!  I certainly learnt ‘on the job’, and it was a bit of a baptism by fire, but many happy (well-dressed) years followed.  Oh and I met hubbie, so it was obviously meant to be.

How did I spend three years in a car from 8 am until 4.30 pm weekdays?  Those of you who follow my blog regularly will know my son suffered school phobia (see older post ‘School Refusal’ - 10 June 2011) and his recovery required me to be onsite at the school.  I lived in my car, reading, writing, drinking coffee, eating and talking to myself.  At 2 o’clock I’d treat myself to ‘The Archers’ followed by the afternoon play (sad but true).  Then it was back to more writing until home time.  Now this is one I really don’t know how I got through but I guess I just switched off and plodded on.  The upside is I wrote my book and now my son is settled, happy and wonders what all the fuss was about.
Would I have a book under my belt if we hadn’t been through that ordeal?  Who knows?

They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.  So, what have you been through that has you asking, “Woah, how did I do that?


If you’d like to take a look at the book that I wrote in my car, check it out on Amazon.  “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” for Kindle, PC or Smartphone.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Or you can look at the sample chapters here

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Daughter's Plea to M&S

Dear Mr Marks & Mr Spencer

I don’t believe you’ve met my mother - or indeed any 84 year old lady (size 12 and approximately 5’ 3’’) who wants to look stylish rather than fuddy-duddy or mutton dressed as lamb.

If you had, your stores would be catering for them - and they’re clearly not.

Which is strange really because most M&S branches seem to be filled with this particular breed of older lady.  Admittedly, they appear to be walking around with a slightly dazed look in their eyes - but this has nothing to do with dementia and everything to do with the fact that you’re not supplying them with the type of fashion that appeals to them.

They can have as many crimplene, non-crease, stitched seam, half-elasticated waist trousers as their little hearts desire, as long as they don’t mind them being totally shapeless (e.g. a size 12 waist with a 16 hip - flattering!)  They can team these with cheesecloth cowboy ‘blouses’ with sleeves fit for an orangutan.  My mother is short and, thankfully, has arms proportionate to her body size - if her arms were the length of your sleeves, she’d be walking around with her fingertips dragging on the floor.  Old age is tough enough; please don’t inflict that on her as well.

Then we have the ‘stylish’ necks on your T-shirts.  I can’t deny you’re filling your shelves with attractive designs in summery colours to tempt older customers but I don’t think you’re considering the d├ęcolletage of the older lady.  After a certain age, some women have no desire to reveal cleavage or excess of skin.  Your overly scooped necklines not only leave them flashing the flesh, but also their bra straps and thermal vests.

Trouser lengths can vary from the sublime to the ridiculous - on a good day my mother can purchase a standard length without a hitch (literally!) - on a bad day, she’s swamped.  I myself am 5’ 9’’ so would usually go for the longer length, but in your linen trousers I need short.  I can only begin to imagine what my mother would look like in a pair of these.

Aside from the clothes, your lighting is atrocious - and I don’t mean from a vanity point of view, I mean migraine-inducing.  If you turn too quickly, you’re hit Gestapo like with the full force of a spotlight.

Our large local retail park store has only three mirrors for customers to view your wares.  I don’t deny my mother needs to exercise but, at her late stage in life, she gets this from gardening and shouldn’t have to schlep around your stores looking for something as simple as a mirror.  An hour’s shopping can end up feeling like a marathon for her.

But I must admit you gave us a laugh when we used your disabled changing room.  A pleasant, roomy cubicle with a padded seat which looked a little commode-like, slap-bang against the full length mirror!  My mother would have needed to mount the chair and shuffle backwards to stand a chance in hell of getting a look at herself.  Needless to say, she declined.  So, if you should have a sudden influx of returns, it will be from all the ladies who were unable to try things on successfully before giving up and heading for the tills.

On the upside, I generally find your staff polite and helpful.  I’d prefer it though if they said “Sorry to keep you waiting” instead of “Thank you for waiting”.  What’s our alternative, shop-lifting?

But still the continuing drama of finding mother-suitable attire continues.  It seems a shame.  She lived through a war with no money to spend on clothes and now, when she can afford to treat herself, there’s nothing you have to offer her - and she’s not your only elderly consumer.

So, Mr Marks & Mr Spencer, if you’re ever looking for a buyer for the older lady or a realistic body size, my mum’s the girl for the job.  She’s supported you enough over the years so I think it’s the least you can do!

Yours truly,

Mummy Misfit (Daughter of the Mum in Misfit Clothes)

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available on Amazon for Kindle. Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

"Smashing Part-ay!"

During my years of mixing with prep school mummies, I was constantly amazed by the amount of money thrown at kids’ birthday parties and the competitiveness involved in the planning.

One year a mother paid for the whole class to go to Disneyworld Paris for two nights - no kidding!  Another spent weeks talking about ‘the Party of the Year’, getting both mums and kids excitedly speculating what it might be.  The result?  The hire of a ball-room at an exclusive members-only club.  The kids were way too young to appreciate the splendour of their surroundings but quite enjoyed dressing up as Princes and Princesses for the occasion.  The entertainment?  The usual bog-standard, charge an absolute fortune, whip the kids into a frenzy, take your money and run kind.  Hey, at least the mums were impressed!

Party bags became more and more ludicrous as the years went by.  My son received as parting gifts; a very expensive PC game, full Lego sets and gift bags bulging with expensive tat that ended up stuffed in drawers. Whatever happened to a slice of cake and a balloon?  Sometimes the party bag contents exceeded the amount we spent on the birthday gift! (and we weren’t mean).

Private school fees left little money for frivolities on our part, so there was no way we could (or wanted to) compete.  Over the years we became clever and each party became a new challenge.  My son left his prep school with a bit of a reputation for a great party.  I think the kids had all got so bored with same entertainers doing the same thing year after year.  They were fed up with yet another bowling extravaganza with the requisite chicken nuggets, flat coke and soggy chips.  By eleven they were jaded with the whole idea of yet another disco in a posh rented venue and they were craving something different.

On a couple of occasions, when our son wanted to have the whole class to his parties, we had to concede and rent the local church hall or sports centre - but those parties haven’t gone down in history as his best parties - it’s the celebrations done on a shoestring that are still talked about.

So if you’re looking for ideas but don’t want to break the bank, here’s some that we’ve executed over the years.

PUPPET SHOW - not for the faint hearted and quite a lot of work but great fun and the kids had a ball. We did it when our son was four and totally addicted to Sooty and Sweep.  Hubbie built the stage out of old wood off-cuts (think Punch and Judy sized), we painted it in garish colours, bought the puppets and started on our script.  It took up an awful lot of nights in rehearsal but kids of that age are very forgiving so, if anything went wrong on the day, they didn’t notice.

CLOWN & CRAFTS - I made up lots of Plaster of Paris figures for the kids to paint (in the garden!), gave them cupcakes to decorate and spoon dollies to construct.  Hubbie performed as a clown at various intervals with disastrous balloon modelling, squirting flowers and shaving foam pies.  It was slapstick at its best and I have such a lovely photo of my son on my mum’s lap, red-cheeked with laughter, holding his little stomach in delight watching Daddy fall face first into a ‘cream pie’.

DINNER PARTY/QUIZ NIGHT/TREASURE HUNT - By the time my son got to nine he was beginning to be a little more selective about who he wanted at his birthday.  When he said he wanted a sleepover for six we thought we’d combine it with a dinner party.  His chosen theme was black and white so I set to work on my table arrangements complete with champagne bubbles, party favour boxes and coordinated serviettes etc.  His five friends, 2 boys and 3 girls, arrived dressed in black and white and the fun started.  Over dinner (served by waiting staff of me, mum and husband dressed accordingly) they chose to listen to (of all things) the Beatles!  And they knew every word to the most obscure songs.  They happily blew their bubbles, shouting “Smashing fizz and super partay!” - obviously taking lessons from their wealthy parents!  Then the quiz began with three teams (calling themselves bizarre names such as “Pigs of the Underworld”) battling it out against each other.  We made sure we had a variety of rounds - some fun, some challenging and some active.  We hoped we’d worn them all out enough to sleep but the birds were just about beginning their dawn chorus by the time they settled.

Breakfast was accompanied by yet more Beatles combined with Bingo (!) and then we set off to complete the treasure hunt we’d set up earlier around the neighbourhood.  Six exhausted kids had a great time.

MURDER MYSTERY - My son has grown up with us hosting and attending many murder mysteries so, when he said he wanted to host his own for friends, I set about looking for a suitable one.  Impossible!  The closest I could find was circus-themed but after I’d purchased it on eBay I found the material unsuitable for ten year olds.  Not one to be beaten, I rewrote it, taking out the unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage and carnal knowledge and turned it into an appropriate script for kids.  Our guests, Strong Man, Ring Master, Bearded Lady, Tight-rope Walker, Snake Charmer and Ventriloquist, arrived to the sound of circus music and me dressed as a complete plonker (hula skirt, frizzy multi coloured wig and usherette’s tray) handing out glow-sticks and  magic calculators, shouting “Roll up! Roll up! Get yer cheap tat ‘ere!”.  The ‘murder’ and questioning took place over dinner in a makeshift ‘big top’ in our garden - quite atmospheric with candles as the light started to fade.

So as you can see we’ve had a go at a variety of unusual themes.  Now our son tends to enjoy a party with just family and his closest friends.  For the third year running he’s requested a ‘Challenge Party’ - five rounds of daft tasks such as picking up as many frozen peas as you can with a straw in a minute or balancing pennies on your elbow.

The winner gets a scratch-card but nobody has ever hit the jackpot.  Hoping we might get lucky soon as we’ll need to be forking out for an 18th in a few years and I somehow don’t think a puppet show will cut the mustard!

In “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” you can read about Libby’s attempts to cut -corners and save money.  She also starts up her own party business in an attempt to exploit the ‘Meemies’.  Buy on Amazon for Kindle, PC or Android.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Boys will be Boys

I live with two men …

… my husband and my son.  Son is now fifteen and can’t possibly be classed as ‘my baby’ any more (although it’s usually mum he runs to when he wants a cuddle or something’s gone wrong - as long as it’s not technical or maths homework, of course!).

Living with these two men is fine.  It’s my life right now and I don’t know any different.  But they’re a strange breed to live with, these male folk, aren’t they?

It seems as if I’ve gone from a house with husband and baby/toddler/child/adolescent to a home with two hulking great men - son is almost as tall as hubbie and his voice is probably deeper.  Suddenly I have double the amount of massively long jeans to launder and the sock wash is endless.

I’m a ‘girlie girl’ and thankfully both husband and son are in touch with their feminine sides.  Son gives the best back massages, has waxed my legs on a rainy afternoon (never again) and will quite happily clothes shop with me and pull the ‘disgusted face’ if I dare pick up anything which isn’t to his taste.  No, he’s not gay - just very much like his father.

So, I count myself lucky that I don’t share with rugby playing, beer swilling, macho hooligans, but they’re still different.

MY SUGAR & SPICE v PUPPY DOG TAILS OBSERVATIONS

They can quite easily cack themselves over the same joke for hours on end - usually bottom, fart or wee related.

They can happily get out of bed, throw yesterday’s clothes on and feel that they’re ready to face the day.  Husband doesn’t need a hairbrush (follicly challenged), son does but “Hey, that’ll do!”

They can play on the PS3 for hours on end.  Shooting zombies, scoring goals, searching for hidden clues - you name it, they must succeed.

When playing Guitar Hero (me singing, son on guitar, husband on drums) it will always be me who wrecked it for everyone, despite the fact that I’ve been getting a perfect score all along.

They eat ridiculous amounts of ice cream.  If there’s none in the house, things get nasty.  Trust me, I’ve seen the look in their eyes if I stuff up on the shopping list.

They talk some sort of strange language around computers - RAMs and gigs and blobbidy jobs.  My eyes tend to glaze over at this point and they know they’ve lost me.

When they get bored, they act daft.  Usually at my mum’s house when it’s time to leave, they’ll start a strange kind of ritual involving punching and kicking.  There can also be the odd nibble (read, bite) involved.  Inflicting pain, preferably surreptitiously, seems to be the main item on the agenda and I sometimes wonder who’s the bigger kid, hubbie or son.

If I do well at any family activity - crazy golf, tennis, cricket or bowling it’s because I had a ‘good day’.  If they win, it’s ‘down to talent’!

They’ll quite happily force me to sit through the torture of ‘Silent Hill’ or ‘The Mighty Boosh’ but, if I get my own way and suggest a RomCom, they’ll add sarky subtitles and squidgy kissing noises throughout the viewing.

They take forever to get ready.  I know people say it’s the women who take hours but I’ve got it down to a fine art and, if we’re leaving the house at a certain time, I’m in the car ready to go.  My men, suddenly decide that they need to iron a shirt, pack up the laptop or even have a bath.

And on the back of that last point, they leave everything to the last minute.  I can’t deny that lots of thought goes into birthdays and Christmas in our house (we all make our own cards and they are very personalised), but you can guarantee that all their planning will still leave them with a last minute rush-job on birthday/Christmas Eve.  All credit to them though - they will give the perfect gifts, beautifully wrapped.  How they do it, I’ll never know.

So, no I’m not moaning about the men in my life - just pointing out the differences between us.

That tiny baby boy I brought home from the hospital all those years ago is now a grown-up in his own right.

And he has the right to drive me nuts with his father!  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can buy my book “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” on Amazon for Kindle or PC. Now also available in paperback at Lulu. Read all about the daft yummy-mummies at a London prep school.  Add a hint of Asian spice, a dollop of recession and a good helping of friendship and you’ve got the perfect read summer read.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Today I’m looking for advice.

I live in a lovely three bedroom town house which backs onto a beautiful ‘country’ lane (well, it’s South West London but by our standards it’s fairly country!)

I share my neighbourhood with a great mix of people - Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, Asian, Jamaican (we share wedding hats!) and English - I’m also married to ‘Mr Heinz 57’, the product of a British father, Dutch mother and an Australian upbringing.

Then I have my ‘mad neighbour’ - and I’m not using the term lightly.  She’s completely batty and I’m now at the point where I’m torn between the guilt I feel for not trying to be her friend (her behaviour is intolerable) and contacting social services to see if I can get her some help.

‘Nutty Nora’ (as my son calls her and, yes, he’s been admonished!), moved in about six years ago.  We knew our lovely (and sane) neighbours were desperate to move, so hubbie did the ‘neighbourly thing’ and pulled out all the stops by telling her it was a great location, safe for a woman living alone with a great community spirit.

It’s because of this sense of community, and also the fact that I believe I’m a decent caring person, that I have the dilemma.

All went well for a while and then the rot slowly set in.  ‘Nora’ began to accuse us of various crimes.  We supposedly pinched an arm-chair from her (locked) garage when she was out, my husband constantly walked around on her flat roof and we left bird food up there.

We’ve recently moved on to the next phase - the noise of our SatNav drives her mad, (we don’t have SatNav and, if we did, what noise?) and other neighbours have been told that a disconnected fish tank in their back garden is keeping her awake at night.  Every closed car door “reverberates right through” her and the planes are beginning to talk to her.

I’ve lived through schizophrenia (see older post “In Memory of a Friend” - 25 June 2011) and I know the sadness and danger involved - but when it’s a next door neighbour, and not a close friend or family member, what do you do?

Our dining table on the ground floor looks out to our secluded road and there are many nights when we see the wild haired woman peering through our bay window.  My heart bleeds for her - she has no family (or, at least, no-one ever visits), no friends and I’m here surrounded by both in my cushioned world.

As a writer, I ask questions.  What’s her history?  What brought her to live in a fair sized house at London prices to spend her days, nights, weeks, months in solitude?  Maybe she too once had a loving family and something just tipped her over the edge.  As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God …”

I want to help but I don’t know how.  At the stage she is now, both mentally and in her isolation, I’d be biting off more than I could chew by befriending her.  But what’s my alternative?

A call to social services from anyone other than a family member, and with no hard evidence, would probably fall on deaf ears but I don’t want to sit back and let the inevitable happen.  Partly for her sake and partly because our houses join - if she decides to blow herself up, we all go!  Flippant, I know, but the truth.

I’ve done the right thing in the past and made ‘wrong number’ calls to her, just to see if she’s OK when we haven’t seen her around for a few days, but I feel I need to be doing more.

I don’t want to be one of those people on the news that did nothing and then act surprised when their neighbour’s topped themselves but it’s proving a difficult one to solve.

So, lovely blog readers and my faithful Twitter followers, what would you do?  Am I over-reacting?  Should I just accept it’s not my problem?  I’d really appreciate your views right now.

Have you checked out “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” on Amazon yet?  Libby has the best neighbour in the world, Mrs Sengupta - she’s a laugh a minute, nothing like ‘Nora’!
Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 25 July 2011

When in Rome ...

What has our country come to when a mother is asked to leave a Civic Centre in Oldham because she wanted to breast feed her baby?  She was told that it wasn’t permitted as it was a “multi-cultural building” and the act “would offend Muslim visitors” (Daily Mail 23rd July).

Now, I’m sorry, this makes my blood boil.  In the event, the woman was within her rights but the incident is indicative of the sensitive world in which we now live.  If you came to the blog looking for humour today you’re in the wrong place because I’m on my soap-box for a rant.

What can possibly be offensive about the most natural act in the world?

I’m sure the mother didn’t intend to whip out her puppies for all to have a good ogle - she would have done what most feeding mums do and been as discrete as possible.  It’s an art, but one that you quickly learn when you’ve got a screaming baby desperate for grub.  I can’t begin to count the places I performed this ‘offensive act’ during my year of breast feeding.  I was a human dummy so it was a question of, ‘Get the goods out now or put up with the incessant screaming!’  Believe me, if the Oldham Civic Centre had heard my son screaming for sustenance, they probably would have whipped out my milk jugs for him just for a bit of peace.

I’m well aware that there are, and always will be, people who feel that feeding should be done behind closed doors but when it comes down to a question of culture in our own country, something is going seriously wrong.

At the risk of sounding ‘unpolitically’ correct, I feel uneasy around groups of women in full burka - at a tube station or airport, how do we know if they are actually women underneath all their garb?  And yet this is something we have to live with - in our country.  We have no choice in the matter, it’s put up or shut up. If we travel to countries where we’re expected to cover up out of respect, we do it - their country, their rules.

It’s a wonder Muslims are able to walk through any London street without being offended by the way females choose to dress - or will that be the next thing?   The nanny state will be telling women to cover up, put away their mini-skirts and cleavages, lest we upset those who have chosen to live in our country.

Don’t get me wrong. Having discovered (and participated in) the rich customs of my Indian brother-in-law’s culture, I would really love to get to know this strain of the Muslim community but I find the inability to read facial expressions a barrier to conversation.  I honestly have no problem with living in a multi-cultural society and have friends and neighbours of all colours and creeds. What I have the issue with is the refusal to integrate and the constant pushing of limits to see how much can be got away with - we find ourselves living in fear of upsetting someone just by being British.

When I was an adult literacy tutor, I taught all nationalities.  Reading material and exercises had to be carefully considered, taking into account the students’ level of skill and also suitability for age, religious beliefs and creed.  You wouldn’t give a comprehension on childbirth to a seventy year old virgin or a debate on homosexuality to a devout Christian.

Sometimes students were encouraged to bring in their own reading material and I remember sitting down to help an elderly Jamaican lady with a very small paperback she wanted to attempt.  It was racist, filled with hatred for white people and I found it offensive.  When I told her it wasn’t a very pleasant read, she simply said “Well, it’s my choice and you’re here to help me.”

I raised the issue with the college head and was more or less told the same thing.  But I don’t understand why it isn’t one rule for all.  Had I been ignorant enough to choose a book that was racially offensive to black people, I’d have found myself being disciplined and yet it was OK for me to feel affronted with nobody there to fight my corner.

We’re always hearing the term ‘racial equality’ bandied around and I’m all for it - as far as I’m concerned, we’re all human so therefore, equal.  The trouble is, I don’t think we are equal anymore and that’s what gets my goat.

PS:  Hope I didn’t offend any goat worshippers there.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available on Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mummy Misfit's Law

Sod's Law - humorous axiom stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong (the Thesaurus definition for the law, also known as Murphy’s).

An example given is Ludwig van Beethoven’s loss of hearing - this is bad fortune for anyone, but it is Sod's law that it would happen to a brilliant composer.

So here’s my own list of ‘Mummy Misfit’s Law’:

Your tooth will always stop bugging you on the day you have a dental appointment.  Similarly, your hair will look the best it’s looked in months when you’re off to the hairdressers.  But … cancel those appointments and the tooth will keep you awake all night and your mop will leave you doing a good impersonation of Catweazle.

The weird looking person at a party will be the one you end up becoming best friends with - it’s always the ones you least expect to pal up with.

The ‘never-fail’ recipe will be a complete and utter flop when you try to churn it out for an impressive dinner party.  Even an informal bolognaise (cooked a thousand times without a hitch) will taste like spew if you try to do a perfect version for friends.

You’ll always get an invite to two things on the same night.  A bit like buses, you wait ages for one to come along and then there’s a stream of them.  You can guarantee the one that you choose to go to will be the boring one and the event you decline will be a riot.

The cat you’ve been desperate to cuddle all day will suddenly decide that they want ‘lurve-time’ just as you’re about to start cooking, do the washing, stick broom up bottom and sweep floor.  They will then spend the rest of the day giving you the evil eye and making ‘You don’t love me’ faces.

The phone will always ring just as you’ve completed the most perfect manicure in months.  And no, it won’t be an exciting invite for cocktails - it will be a call centre in Mumbai insisting you’re not happy with your internet speed or someone telling you how to claim £2,760 for the accident you didn’t have.

When you have a purse full of money to spend on clothes (not often!) there’ll be nothing in the shops that you want to buy.  Or if there is, it most certainly won’t be in your size.  Once the money’s been spent, the shops will gloat and pack their rails with the perfect item, in the ideal size and with a whopping 99% discount.

On a day you want to look your best, your body will conspire against you.  Your hair will decide it’s not going to play the game and all the little follicles and strands will get together and configure themselves into totally different positions on your head.  It’s almost as if they know it’s a special party or that you’re about to meet someone you haven’t seen for twenty years.  No amount of coaxing or preening will help.  Wrinkles and spots will also make an appearance on these days - they’re in cahoots with the hair.  Oh and you’ll suddenly develop the belly of a woman in her final trimester - instantly, overnight.

When uncertain about the choice of a meal in a restaurant, you’ll always see the one that you didn’t go for and it will look nicer than the one in front of you.  And often you’ll look at your partner’s meal and think ‘Wish I’d had that!’

When you have a lucky windfall, or extra money comes into the household, something will always gobble it instantly.  The little surplus in your pay packet will correspond with the brakes going on your car.  You win a tenner on the lottery and your son will need to take money in for a teacher’s collection.  The little bonuses can never stay as just that - the universe will always have other ideas for them.

So that’s ‘Mummy Misfit’s Law’ for you - I could go on forever but I’ll leave you with this fact;

Adolph Coors III was the heir to the Coors Beer Empire.  Ironically, he was allergic to beer!  Then, due to a botched kidnapping attempt, he died as a consequence of his family’s wealth, thus being indirectly killed by beer.

Makes mine look a bit trivial, doesn’t it?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle. Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Invitation To My Twitter Party

I know I’ve blogged about Twitter before (and I still can’t believe I’m out there twatting with the best of them) but, because I know so many of my blog followers are Twitterers, it got me thinking about the virtual friendships that are made on the site and what it would be like if I threw a (real) Twitter Party for my favourite followers.

Can you imagine a night filled with all your best Twitterers?  No keyboards, phones or 140 character limit - face to face interaction!

Scary, isn’t it?  It’s the equivalent of having a pen pal (for those of us who are old enough to remember) and then actually getting to meet them.

Some are totally honest (and brave) and put their true photo as their avatar. Then you get the authors (like me), who choose to use their book cover, or business people who promote their logo.  But I suppose you also have to consider those who choose a picture of ‘gorgeous pin-up girl’ when they’re actually a six foot trucker.  Could get confusing couldn’t it?

Even when we don’t see an actual photo of our Twitter Buddy, we conjure up an image based on the chat we have with them - they share a common interest, make us laugh or give us a lift on a bad day.

My Twitter Party would be filled with mummies, crafters, bakers, writers, cow-lovers (you know who you are!) and generally like-minded men & women of all persuasions - nothing like a handful of homosexuals (Ooh, Matron) to keep the bitching in order (or not!)

And what a fun-filled evening it would be.  First we’d have the shy introductions over cocktails.  Maybe, in the spirit of Twitter, it would be a good idea to keep intros to the minimum (because you always get those who would like to use 800 characters when 140 would do) and then retweet (introduce) your best Twitter pal to the rest of the group.

Gradually, as the drink flowed, we’d start to put names to avatars and realise who it is who has the weak bladder, who’s just got over thrush and who likes to dress in stockings and suspenders on a Wednesday - yes all these things are shared in the Land of Twit.

As the music started up (of the cheesiest and campest variety of course) the boogying would begin.  Grans would be twirling, Mums would be jiving and the joint would be jumping.

Then we’d move on to the part of the evening when people feel more relaxed and hit their comfort zone - long dreamt of snogs might occur, heartfelt losses shared or the perfect shortbread recipe exchanged.

For me, I’d be the one on the dance floor strutting my stuff to, “It’s Raining Men”.  And I can picture exactly who’d be out there doing it with me!

And that’s how it will have to remain - a picture in my head - because this fantasy will never happen.  The moment you shatter Twitter’s anonymity and actually get to know the people you can offload to outside your usual circle, they’d be numbers on your mobile, dates in the diary and Facebook contacts instead and you’d have to start Twittering all over again!

But can you imagine anything crazier than a Twitter Party?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available on Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

"I Want" Doesn't Get

When I was growing up, I was always told that it wasn’t polite to say, “I want”.

At Christmas and birthdays I was told it’s nicer to say “I would like” or “I wish for …”

Even in a sweet shop or out for a snack or treat, it had to be, “Please may I have…?”

But I’m a grown up now and I’m not going to be told what I can and can’t say.  It’s Friday, and I’m allowing myself to dream, so here’s my list of;

‘I WANTS’

I want my son to get excellent results in his GCSE’s next month.  With all that he’s been through to get to this point, I wish him success with all my heart (see 10 Jun post: School Refusal).  I want him to stay at the school he loves, with friends that he has grown close to, have fun doing A levels and turn in to a fine young man.

I want my mum to continue to live independently and to find something which makes her truly happy.  I want my mother-in-law to settle in a place she feels secure in and find the peace she’s looking for.

I want my husband to be able to see his family in Oz whenever he wants to.  No one’s getting any younger and thirteen years is too long for him to have not set foot in his country - the price he pays for falling for an English bird in a recession-hit economy!

I want a column working on a national newspaper or magazine (paid!).  I delight in writing my daily blog and being an Indie writer has been liberating and exciting but it would be good to know someone was prepared to take a chance on me - plus, there’s nothing like a deadline to work to!

I want to look like the twenty-five year old that I feel.  OK, it’s vain but my brain (and the way my body feels) doesn’t seem to have caught up with the fact that I’m forty-seven.  When do you start to feel like a grown up?

I want to get on a plane without feeling terrified.  Not a huge problem at the moment, as we have no cash to be flying off anywhere, but I don’t want to feel the way I do every time I fly.  I even have recurring dreams about it - not nice, especially when I’ve been through all the grief and still wake up in the morning not having left my bed!

I want to be able to sit through a film or a show without needing to pee!  No, it’s not a Tena Lady thing or a middle-age affliction - I’ve always had a weak bladder and it’s the bane of my life.  I’m not talking leakages here, just the urgent need to go.  You can keep your Botox and your face-lifts, if someone could give me the bladder of a horse, I’d be happy.  I can’t relax on any trip, outing or event until I know where the nearest loo is - boring!

I want a dog!  We owned our own (perfect) rescue dog for five rewarding years and when he went to doggy heaven, my heart .broke.  “No more dogs for me” I said, as I took to my bed for a few days.  So we now have two cats and run a dog minding agency in his memory from home (you can read his full story at Digs4Dogs).  We set up clients with suitable minders, so we don’t get to look after our own doggy guests. “Phew”, say the cats!  Well actually, they’re slightly ruder than that but they didn’t want me to print it.  The fact remains, I can’t go anywhere without talking to every dog I see.  A trip to the shops can take hours and I know when my much loved cats go to pussy heaven, after I’ve taken to my bed again, a (non-allergenic) dog will be back on the agenda for us.

I want to be able to give up smoking.  Yuck, it’s such a disgusting habit and I hate it.  I’m an addict, what can I say?

I want to win the lottery … then I could:

Fix my leaking roof - I quite like my house so wouldn’t necessarily move (and the road we live in is safe for cats!)
Pay the school fees without having to worry
Repay all the lovely people who have helped us in the past
Buy a car that doesn’t gobble petrol
Give serious thought to which charities I would work with
Have a holiday (travelling by plane?!)
Tell my hubbie to visit his family in Oz whenever he wanted (even for a weekend)
Empty and re-fill my wardrobe - but I would keep my 20’s flapper dress and a few other much-loved items.
Go to the theatre once a month (with my new bladder!)
Have (just one) pair of designer shoes (and possibly a bag but not at a ludicrous price)
Treat my mum
Help family and friends

The list is endless …

There, that’s the spoilt brat in me - why not unleash yours?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mummies, be nice!

What is it about groups of women that set my teeth on edge?  That feeling that I don’t belong?

I felt like this long before I got caught up in the competitiveness of prep school mummies, checking one another out at the school gates and babbling on about their next holiday or why they’d sacked the nanny.

In fact, I’ve never felt comfortable in all-female groups.  Maybe that’s why I chose to have close male friends (gay or straight).  I was in my comfort zone.

Women check one another out.  Go on, admit it, we do!  ‘Ooh, she’s put on a bit of weight’ or ‘Mm, bit too much concealer going on there.’

And the private school mums are the worst.  A Primark top can be sniffed out at twenty paces and non-designer bags are a definite reason to never converse with the culprit again.

Now, they’re not all like this - I’ve also developed some fabulous relationships with those who have kept their feet on the ground - but, believe me, I’ve met some of the worst.  And, actually, I owe them a big thank you for giving me the inspiration to write my book.  I was most definitely judged on what I didn’t have and that didn’t sit well with me.  My book was in no way ‘revenge’ but it did feel good to take real life experiences and mix them up into a work of fiction - people I’d met or heard about were thrown into a great big melting pot and spewed out as a morph of different characters.

I never felt ‘good enough’. And no wonder, when I was once introduced as “Amanda, she lives in a little house”.  Yes that really happened!  I left that coffee morning rather swiftly and returned to my modest three bed town-house to lick my wounds.

I was the ‘mum to look down on’.  The cliques that gather at the school gate always have to have one outsider and I fitted the bill perfectly.

Imagine my surprise when my son moved on to secondary school (also private) and I discovered that, amongst the elite, there were many other parents like us who sacrificed holidays in favour of education and also lived in little houses!

And yet there were still those groups of women - a breed unto themselves.  They speak a different language, it’s all about appearances and keeping up with the Barrington-Smythes.  They’ll simper in your face but pull a bejewelled dagger out and have it in your back before you can utter the words “Day Spa.” The only thing that stops them frowning at your poverty is their botox and you’ll never see them blush at their indiscretions because of their year round tan (part real, part fake).  A friend of mine calls them the ‘Shiny People’ - all that buffing and waxing creates a permanent Mr Sheen type mahogany gloss.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to personal grooming - I sport a healthy blonde bob, paint my nails twice weekly, shave bits and bobs and apply a light fake tan when needed.  I wear make up every day (don’t want to scare the cats) and I keep trim(ish) by doing yoga.

I just don’t make it my life’s mission and spend thousands of pounds in the process.  I’ve been to cocktail parties in a charity shop bargain (designer of course) and once went to the wedding of a milliner with a pair of tights on my head, looking fab!  (I’d seen a stunning latticed headband in Harrods - £235! - so hubbie and I designed our own, using black tights and cream satin.  Sorted!)

I don’t judge other people by what they have or haven’t got and I don’t expect people to do it to me - we all come into this world with nothing and leave the same way and you’re not a better person for owning a Herm├Ęs Birkin.

So mummies, as you break up for the summer, start to think ahead to the new September term - be nice to one another, don’t gossip behind anyone’s back, take that little outsider under your wing and be a friend.

You might find yourself ostracised from the hard-core yummies but you know you’ll feel a better person for it.

Read my fictional tale of bitching and botox at the school gates.  “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” on Amazon for Kindle, PC or Smartphone.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Amanda's (not) Got Talent

I believe we’re all born with a talent of some sort - whether it’s singing, creating a perfect home, being able to play the spoons or simply making people feel happy.

When my son was little, his best friend used to be so envious of him because he could read on long car journeys and never feel sick.  “That’s your gift”, he used to tell him.

Well I certainly hope he ends up with a few more skills than that under his belt, because it probably won’t be enough to bag him a rich wife.  Also, an awful lot of money will have been wasted on his education if the only thing he can put on his CV is, ‘Can read on a drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats without puking’.

On the more serious side, my son’s other skills include being a computer whizz-kid, playing the piano beautifully and having an incredibly sharp sense of humour.  (And of course being a great son who gives the best back massages ever!)

My husband has endless talents.  It’s almost as if he can turn his hand to anything. He has the patience of a saint (which obviously helps) and an analytical brain that won’t be beaten.  In the past he has; coloured my hair, tailored a dress (by hand) to fit me to perfection, and fixed jewellery I’d believed to be beyond repair.  On the more macho side, he tackles all manner of DIY stuff - from plumbing to electrical, building to decorating.  I don’t think there’s a challenge you could throw at him that he’d turn down.

So what about my talents?  I’m quite crafty - I love to knit, sew, make cards etc.  I enjoy entertaining and take great pride in my table settings or, as a close friend always tells me, I ‘Give good table’!  I used to act, sing and dance but I tend to save most of that for parties now - you can take the girl out of the theatre but you can’t take the theatre out of the middle aged mother.

Aside from that, there are things I’m either very good or very bad at, depending on the day I decide to give them a go.  Activities which, when the talent Gods are smiling down on me, go swimmingly.  But when the Devils of Disaster are out, I’m a complete klutz.

POKER - I live in a house of trouser-wearers so poker is a bit of an addiction.  We often have card nights with our son’s piano teacher and various friends.  Sometimes I seem to have the clear-sighted vision of a pro and I know exactly what I’m doing with every flop and raise.  I’m ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and I can sweep the board, gathering other players’ chips without a care in the world.  Then there are the nights when my ‘number problem’ comes into play.  As you know, I can do words but I have an issue with numbers.  What comes after six?  Have I really got a straight?  How much is a green chip worth?  As for side bets, forget it!

BOWLING - With a fifteen year old son, this activity featured quite regularly in his growing years.  Kids love the sport for parties and many a rainy Saturday has been spent chucking balls down the lanes.  I know, within my first throw, if it’s a good day.  Maybe it becomes self-perpetuating and I chuck in the towel too early.  Who knows?  But if that first ball isn’t a strike, it’s curtains for me.

MAKING CAKES/BREAD - I’ve churned out some beauties.  Sometimes I can be a proper Nigella and friends and family love my baking.  Then there have been the occasions when even the birds have turned up their beaks at the paltry (in fact, dangerous) offerings in my garden.  I always blame the oven and never my technique.

SWIMMING - I know I can do it but sometimes my brain forgets to tell my body.  I’ve never been a water baby, snorkelling and diving, but I can normally get by in the ‘bobbing along nicely’ stakes.  On a bad day, I look like I’ve been chucked in and am most definitely drowning, not waving.  I’m most comfortable in my bath.

DANCING - Do you ever get those nights when you feel the beat?  Or rather … the beat feels you?  You’re working together in perfect harmony and you can’t put a foot wrong.  You could dance all night and know you don’t look like a plonker.  Then there are the ‘lead legs’ nights.  There’s no point in trying to fight it because anything you try will lead to further embarrassment.  On these nights, I feel it’s best to sit down, have another drink and watch others doing jazz hands and high kicks because I know the ‘Rhythm aint gonna get me’.

So these are my talents, which occasionally desert me.  Please feel free to share your own with me - don’t be shy, what can you do some days but can’t do others?

The people in my book “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” aren’t perfect either!  You can buy at the Amazon store for Kindle or PC - free download to read on computer or Smartphone.  Check out my reviews.

Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Un-Domestic Goddess

There’s a lovely feeling you get when you know your house is clean, isn’t there?  All the floors are swept or vacuumed, the dusting’s done, the loo & bath sparkling and the washing put away.

Then there’s that gloomy feeling that washes over you when you know you’ve got the whole dreary process ahead of you.  Stinks, doesn’t it?  It’s just such a complete and utter waste of time.  I’m not a Stepford Wife and I get no joy from brandishing my feather duster, flitting from room to room spreading light and happiness in my spotty pinny and high heels.

So the long and the short of it is, I hate housework!  In fact when I told my husband I was blogging about cleaning today he, rather cuttingly I thought, said “You’ve got a good memory!”

Now I don’t live in a pig-sty, so don’t start coming up with cruddy mental images of manky cooker tops and crusty loo seats, but I have to say I do the bare minimum.  There’s always something more interesting to do and cleaning just isn’t top of my agenda.  As my ex-boyfriend’s French mother told me, “Show me a clean house and I’ll show you a boring housewife.”

When I go to the Pearly Gates, will I be judged on the amount of cleaning products I’ve sprayed into the ozone?  Or whether I dusted the top of my door frames weekly?  No, I’ll (hopefully) be summed up as a good and decent person who always (tried) to do her best by people.

So what’s the alternative to escaping the dreaded tasks?  Well, there’s letting it get so bad that you end up on, ‘How Clean is Your House?’  Not an option for me, as I’m terrified of Kim & Aggie and there’s no way I want them growing part of my filth on a petri dish in some far-flung lab and then threatening me with all sorts of flesh eating bugs that are going to get me in the night.

Or you can employ someone to do it for you.  Also a no-go for me.  I was even offered a friend’s cleaner for a fortnight a while back (paid for) and I turned it down.  The Hyacinth Bouquet in me emerged and I found myself planning when I’d get the house in order before the lovely lady arrived.  I’d be far too ashamed to let someone know that I hadn’t washed the nooks and crannies at the back of my fridge or cleaned my drawers.  What would she think of me?

Years ago, when I used to spend school holidays with my Godmother, every day of the week was allocated to different chores.  Monday was cleaning, Tuesday, baking etc.  At the time, I didn’t question it - if Wednesday was for washing, then so be it.  But now I look back and think, ‘Wow, how boring!  To get up every day of the week for the rest of your life and know that you’ve planned drudgery for yourself.’

I have to get out of bed and ‘creep up on myself’.  I don’t even think, ‘Today I’ll do some cleaning.’  I just kind of start and hope that I finish before I realise I’m doing it!  Slightly odd mental behaviour, I know, but it works for me.

As you all are now aware, I have the most wonderful husband, so I’m not totally alone in the household chores and we now follow the daft rules of above mentioned friend and partake in ‘Blue Jobs’ and ‘Pink Jobs’.  Not nearly as twee as it sounds, (or as exciting as our gay neighbour believed it to be!), it’s just the daft way we label the stereotypical tasks that we undertake.  ‘Blue Jobs’ are things like bins, windows, cat puke.  ‘Pink Jobs’ are washing etc.  (Never trust a man with your silk undies). 

We also have an imaginary cleaning lady called Juanita.  She’s been with us for twenty years (or not) and we always blame the gathering dust on her.  Conversations in our household can go as follows;  Me to husband, “Did you pay Juanita this week, because she’s done sod all?”  Or husband to me, “Is Juanita considering doing the washing soon?  My danglies are sick of going commando.”

Sometimes we question why we keep her on!  Hubbie says it’s so she can support her 1,300 family members living in straw huts but I question his motives.  I’ve never seen her so she could be totally gorgeous - hubby (and I think he’s lying) says she only has one tooth, hence her name!  (‘One-eater’ … geddit?).

Anyway, enough of this nonsense.  I now feel so guilty, I really am going to go and grab some domestic doo-da’s and do the dirty.  I might even don a pinny and my stilettos to see if it helps me approach things in a different frame of mind.

On a final note, when I was setting up house with hubbie, I was out shopping for bits and bobs with my mum and she pointed out some dusters to add to my stash of goods.  I can still see the look of embarrassment on her face when the shop assistant over heard me saying, “Oooh no, I don’t dust, I blow!”

Even if you don’t have a Kindle you can still enjoy my book “Diary of a Mummy Misfit”.  Download the free app at the Kindle store and read happily on your PC or Smartphone.
Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Land of Nod

A couple of nights ago, while having my ‘Friday Night Relish’ (see older posts) I got to thinking about how much I love bed and what an important place it plays in our lives.

As a child I used to hate it.  Why go to bed when there’s so much to do?  And going to bed in the spring, when the clocks had just changed, was a nightmare.  The birds would still be singing and the sun shining and yet I was expected to go to sleep ready for school the next day.

Saturday mornings in bed were the best.  Awoken at eight by my dad with a cup of tea, the biscuit tin and my ‘Twinkle’ magazine.  A blissful hour of reading and scoffing before burning it off in my ballet class.

In my teens, my whole relationship with bed changed.  It’s what teenagers do - they sleep.  They can never get enough of it.  My Laura Ashley bedroom was where all my dreams were conjured - awake and asleep.  Diary finally written for the night, I’d snuggle down and sleep for anything up to fourteen hours.

Years later and my twenties nearly over, I met my husband and we ‘courted’ - a great old-fashioned word, but we truly did.  This involved many nights on the town ending in a parked car where we really couldn’t bring ourselves to say goodbye.  Bed at four and up again at six for work, resulted in many happy months of love-induced sleep deprivation.

Marriage and a baby turned the whole thing on its head even further.  Whoever said “Sleeping like a baby” had never met mine.  He didn’t sleep - not during the day and very little at night.  I longed for an hour of uninterrupted shut-eye.  I think I finally got one when he was about three, and that’s no exaggeration.

So perhaps that’s why I love bed again so much now.  I’m making up for all those lost hours.  ‘Baby’ is now fifteen and I’m still trying to catch up on my precious zzz’s. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

REASONS TO LOVE BED!

Smoothing very quickly over the obvious (my mum reads this!), you can have fun there!  Babies can be made (or not!) Enough said, you get the picture!

Most people are born in a bed.  It’s where our lives begin and a mother’s pain ends (the physical part, anyway).

It’s where you go at the end of a tough day.  You shut the world and all its dramas out and you can be alone in your head with more pleasant thoughts.  Ah, the softness of the sheets, the delight of the duvet and the plumpness of the pillow - they’re all there to greet and lull you to sleep.

If the day hasn’t been too tough, and yet you feel you want your bed but not sleep, your entertainment can carry on long into the night.  Bathing completed, cup of tea and a packet of chocolate biscuits (no, I don’t care about crumbs) and you’re all set for an old black and white horror film.  Just make sure you don’t have a hubbie like mine, who’s prone to rigging up cotton through curtains to make them lift at scary intervals - he frightened the beejeebers out of me once! The tongue-lashing he got made sure he never tried it again.

I’ve heard that people have ‘Duvet Days’.  Not something I’d partake in, as I think it’s bad enough to have to stay put with an illness or ailment during the day.  I’ve spent many a day prostate with a slipped disc and, as much as I’m singing the praises of bed, it’s boring when you’d rather be up and about.

It’s normally the place we die.  Now I know that’s not a very pleasant thought, but it beats collapsing at a train station or breathing your last in the queue at Sainsbury’s.  Our journeys (generally) begin and end with the comfort of a mattress.

So next time you’re heading ‘up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire’, take time out to love your bed.  Feel those sheets, fluff that pillow, relish that feeling.

Bed - it’s highly under-rated!

If you like my ramblings, why not have a go at my ‘real’ book’ - “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” on Amazon for Kindle or PC/Smartphone.
Now also available in paperback at Lulu.