Monthly Archives: June 2016

Boot camp

Two words that until this morning would strike fear through my core. But with my new “give it a go” attitude and a lot of encouragement from Mrs L, I went along and well, gave it a go.

I am very glad that I did and I even surprised myself. I haven’t run anywhere for 30 years. I used to worry about the kids running off when they were small as I knew that I wouldn’t be able to catch them up. I used to make excuses when they were older and wanted to run around at the park. I used to say my back hurt or I just used to simply say I couldn’t. (What a great role model!)

I hated running at school. I can still hear the (evil) PE teacher yelling “you should be able to run better than that with those long legs of yours!” And in my head I would be yelling back “oh eff off you old cow. I may have long legs but I must have tiny little lungs!”. Yep, me and running were not good friends.

Back to today. I was quickly identified as a newbie and was partnered up with another lady who has only recently joined the group. The instructor (who does three sessions a week for these ladies totally out of the goodness of his heart) was very patient and explained what he wanted the pair of us to do. The most important instruction was “don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. We don’t make comparisons here. You are competing only against yourself”. Woah. I like this man already and I’ve only been here 5 minutes. Then he asked me to run. Not so keen on him now. But I did run. And I ran again. And again. And the third time I beat my first (and second – both were the same) time. I was knackered but strangely exhilarated. We then did some squats and lunge type things and planked for a bit (I like planking, we did it at Pilates class) and then we had to run again. Further this time and uphill. Killer. But the second time I went further than the first time. And I didn’t keel over. Not quite. Luckily the instructor is a man who can see when someone has reached their limit and he told me I was done for the day. I like him again. He gave me some tips on how to keep myself from seizing up and hoped that I would come again. But only if I had enjoyed it. “Don’t bother if you didn’t because you won’t come more than a few times and then you’ll give up.” Hmm, he’s clearly met me before.

But I did enjoy it and I will be going again.


Be boring

I cry at 24 hours in A&E. I cry at the loss and the tragedy that happens in people’s lives. I cry at the strength and love that people show for their loved-ones. It makes me incredibly sad and yet hopeful all in one hour.

A few days ago I learnt that the son of a local family has died. I don’t know the family well; they are familiar faces but I can’t call them friends. I can’t claim to have any insight into how they are feeling. I can only imagine how I would feel and it makes me very, very sad. Their son was by all accounts a lovely young man and was clearly loved by many people. The news has spread quickly as all tragic news does in small villages and T has heard what happened. We have spoken about how sad it is and how devastating for the family. I just can’t stop thinking about it.

And what I want to tell my son is this: ” Be boring. Don’t be the kid that drives the car too fast and doesn’t come home. Be boring. Don’t be the kid who drinks too much and doesn’t come home. Be boring. Don’t be the kid that takes the pill and doesn’t come home. Be boring.”

I know it’s not realistic. I know he will want to do stupid things. I know it is a part of becoming an adult to make mistakes (and keep on making them). I know there is nothing wrong with taking chances, if you are prepared to accept the consequences; if you know what the consequences are and you can make a sound, sober judgement. I know I can’t protect him from every danger, every temptation.But, I hope to god that he will know that it is not important to worry about what other people think. I hope to god he will decide that he doesn’t want to take a chance on something that could stop him from coming home. I will worry every time he goes out to a pub or a club or just out, wherever. I will hope to god he comes home.

My heart goes out to the family; there are no words.



Embracing Technology

I like tech. I’m not a geek – quite – but I like it. I don’t like how it sometimes intrudes into family time and I hate how over-reliant we can be on it but on the whole I think it is A Good Thing. Yes, there are dangers when your children start using social media, but that, for me, is a by-product of technology (one that requires parental supervision and talks), not the sole reason for it’s existence. I expect this is a generational thing. My teenage son would probably roll his eyes and declare what nonsense this is but technology, in my eyes, is A Good Thing because it enables us to do stuff that we couldn’t do before.

For instance, when my kids were babies I could only video them if I had a video camera. Remember those? Cumbersome things that required charging for ages; involved carrying around lots of leads; needed blank cassettes; and then needed editing before transferring to a CD or tape. What a pain in the arse and no wonder we didn’t bother for long. We have a few “tapes” of T when he was tiny and a Christening Video for A but that’s about it. Now, you lucky lot with very small people are able to video them on your phone. And don’t get me started on photos. When T was tiny we didn’t even have a digital camera. The first photos we have of the day he was born were taken on an Instamatic. We weren’t being “retro”, it was the only camera we had (and that was because of K’s job and he blagged using it for home too). Now, we can take pictures whenever we like and we don’t have to wait to get them developed before we can see what they look like  -“wait, that one’s crap, take it again…” is a commonly heard phrase in many a household, I would imagine. Now, we can not only phone someone from wherever, we can see them. I can see my lovely Miss T and little Miss on a weekly basis, even though we live hundreds of miles away. I can see videos of her doing cute things at the touch of a button on my phone. It’s fabulous.

But, the thing that has sparked this Tech Love-Fest today is music. The very thought of going to something like Glastonbury fills me with abject horror. For starters, remember how I hate dirt? And crowds. And tents. And drunk people. And dancing. That’ll be me not going to festivals EVER then. But I LOVE music. Love, love, love it. And live music is just Utopia. So the fact that I can sit in the comfort of my chair with clean clothes on and watch Glastonbury with not a speck of mud in sight is just brilliant. And technology lets me do it. I can choose who I want to see and I can choose when I want to watch it. I don’t have to subject anyone else to it, I can watch to my hearts content. Just Brilliant. I had no idea what a mixed bag of people you get playing at Glastonbury. It’s kind of passed my by in previous years (and yes, I realise that I could probably have been watching for years online but bear with me) but since I started listening to Radio 2 it is more on my radar and god it’s been brilliant. Madness, Squeeze, Tom O’Dell, Muse, Coldplay, Adelle, Bastille – the list goes on. All Bloody Brilliant. And I can watch it all again, and again, and again. I can pause it so I can go for a wee. I don’t need to wee in a bucket. I love it.

I will moan when my son is checking his smart watch at the dinner table. I will gripe when my husband is looking at Facebook instead of talking to me. I will tut when my daughter is more interested in the latest Instagram video by her favourite vlogger than listening to me read. But technology is so much more than just an annoying interrupter of life. It lets us share moments, it helps us use time more efficiently, it allows us to be in places where we can’t (or don’t wish to) be. It allows us to see and hear things as if we are there. It allows us to capture moments, make memories last.

My biggest tech regret? Not being able to blog when my kids were babies.It would have been a life-saver. To be able to ramble on about worries, experiences, joys, lows and getting a response or even just a star from someone would have made such a difference to me back then. I have tech-envy of all the bloggers starting out on their parenting journeys and of being able to look back in years to come on this Wonderful Diary of Life. Technology, I salute you.




More Milestones

Friday was our last sports day at MVS . And the last time I have to sit in the sweltering heat/pouring rain/both* (*delete as appropriate). I feel bad moaning but it really isn’t my idea of a fun afternoon out. But, this year I sat with Mrs Lovely and Worders and it was quite nice really. Until it rained. Mrs L had her brolly so we all huddled forward on our seats under it. Little did we realise that the rain was then collecting on our chair seats and making little rivers towards our bottoms. Wet pants. Lovely. But A managed 3rd in the hurdles and 2nd in the relay (both out of 4) so it wasn’t all bad.

Today, A and I went to M&S for her first ever bra fitting. Yes, I know she is only 11 but she is far further along the puberty road than I was at her age and so the time has come to get her sorted out. I don’t want her to be one of those girls that really needs a bra and it is clearly obvious to all that she needs a bra but she hasn’t got one. I booked the appointment online and was able to specify that it was a first bra fitting and hoped that they would be suitably sympathetic to a slightly (ok, very) self conscious girl and her mum. I was not wrong. The lady could not have been more perfect. She was matter of fact, reassuring, thoughtful and just downright lovely. A was soon measured up and a few possibilities were produced for her to try on. The whole thing was over and done in about 20 minutes and she is now the proud owner of 2 lovely size 28B Angel bras. Her size has prompted me to book myself in for a fitting. Surely she can’t have a bigger cup size than her mother?! I am seriously hoping that I have been wearing the wrong size all these years. I’ve studiously avoided going to be measured since I was pregnant with T and went to get a maternity bra; only to be told that they don’t make them in my size (pitiful to be told at 7 months plus pregnant that your boobs have not grown one millimetre) and that I should consider non-wired bras for comfort. Humiliating doesn’t cover it. I am a bit worried now that I have set myself up for a 44 year old A cup inadequacy moment but I am determined to go. Watch this space.

My little girl is growing up and it’s exciting and yet literally terrifying all at once. I had to stop myself from sniffling in M&S while the lovely lady and I were looking for alternative styles in A’s size. It was her fault, she said that she had welled up a bit seeing A’s “little face” (her words) when she tried on her new bra. “Reminded me of my daughter who’s now 22. How time flies.” Please stop. Really not the best thing to say to a hormonal sniffler who’s feeling a little overwhelmed that her baby girl is buying bras.


Reasons to be cheerful (part two)

Have used this title before hence the Part Two.

My girl is a perceptive bunny and picked up on the fact that I’d been a bit off par (see Totes Emosh) and when I went to bed on Tuesday night (feeling a whole lot happier after Book Club, albeit a rather diminished group) I found this on my bedside table:-


I say perceptive, I suspect the sniffling had somewhat given me away. But anyway she is a thoughtful girl (despite often being the source of a lot of my frustration and being the one who talks to me like I am something unpleasant stuck to the bottom of her shoe…) and she does make me feel that maybe, just maybe, beneath it all I am doing something right.

(Note: I’m not sure she’s completely got me sussed yet as I do hold grudges. For ages.)

(Note: Spelling error for number 6 but I quite like it.Perhaps we can ask for a rewrite of the Oxford English Dictionary. Not loving the “text speak” ur and u. But I am old skool.)

(Note: I haven’t shown what’s over the page as it contains nickname details that I do not wish to disclose, ever.)


Totes emosh…

Lately, I find myself sniffling* quite a bit – normally at 24 Hours in A&E (especially if small children or old people are involved) but I also find myself welling up at things that I hope anyone with half a heart would. The Townsend Two came to visit at the weekend and I found myself quite overwhelmed with emotion watching Little Miss playing in the playground and my two looking after her as she toddled around. A really special day.

I also find myself sniffling* in frustration. Frustration with myself for expecting too much of those around me; frustration at the way certain people in my world speak to me; frustration that I can’t say what I need to say without getting upset. It goes on. Then I get days like Sunday where I am battling with a migraine due to all the frustration and then it all just goes tits up. For me, the fall-out of a migraine is long-lasting and makes me feel a mixture of hopelessness and anger that I have to make myself move on from.

Today, I have physically made myself move on by going on a bike ride. On my own. I was a bit nervous of cycling the lanes by myself but kept telling myself that you don’t ever read in the Markyate Monthly that a woman has been murdered whilst cycling the lanes to Flamstead. So off I went and despite nearly stopping breathing while trying to get up Pickford Road (I walked from a third of the way up) I enjoyed it. It was great to feel the wind in my face and the burn in my arse (glutes, whatever).

Tonight I am off to see my lovely Book Club ladies and I hope there will be more tears, but of laughter rather than any other kind.



*sniffling sounds less dramatic than crying and I do tend to do silent tears rather than full on bawling. Apart from on Sunday when it all got too much.

You and me got a whole lot of history

I met up with one of my oldest friends last night. We first met when I was a mere 19 and had my first job at a local building society. She was on maternity leave when I started working there and when she came in to visit with her newborn son (now 25 – eek!) I have to admit to being a bit intimidated and thinking I wasn’t sure that we would get on. I don’t know why other than that she was very glamorous (even with a newborn in tow) and very blonde and sure of herself. Basically the opposite of naive 19 year old me. However, I ended up working for her (my first foray into the world of I.T. or D.P. as it was known then) a year later and we soon became the best of friends. I would go to the supermarket with her in our lunch break to help her do her weekly shop (she paid me in Tunnocks Teacakes) and laugh at her terrible driving. We would do the daily banking trip, as we were “back office” staff and therefore less likely to get mugged, and we would laugh at the creep in the barbers down the road who would ogle her as we walked past. She was also a great help when I was navigating the tricky waters of boyfriends (and how to dump them). She left a couple of years later to have her second baby but we remained good friends and would see each other fairly often or talk on the phone when we couldn’t.

She’s had some tricky times – a tempestuous relationship which made for a rocky marriage at times -and I’ve been there for her; going out on the town to cheer her up when her ego needed a boost and supporting her when she decided, as she always did, that her husband wasn’t that bad and she should probably stick it out – they are still together nearly 30 years later; and she has been a good friend to me too (although my life has been far less eventful).

We only meet up every 3 or 4 months (less in the winter as we are both self-confessed hermits) but when we do we always feel like we saw each other last week. We appreciate each others family lives and don’t mind that we don’t see each other often – she has just become a grandma and works full time, with 2 adult children still living at home – and so we enjoy our evenings out together all the more for it. Last night was the usual round of catching up on family news and ourselves; diets; sizes of bums; moaning about failings of husbands (mainly tongue in cheek) and how crap telly is at the moment (thank god for books).

And god we laughed. We laughed so much that I think the people on the tables around us wondered if we were pissed. We weren’t. Just enjoying catching up with someone who you’ve know for so long that you have so many shared memories. My favourite story that we remembered last night was of an evening about 12 years ago when T was small and I wasn’t getting out much. She had dragged me out to the pub with some of her work colleagues and we were having a good night, until an ex-colleague who had recently left under a cloud arrived and started causing an atmosphere by being rude and boorish. I remember feeling so aggrieved that this a******e was ruining my one night out in months that I just let rip. Told him that no-one was interested in listening to him if all he was going to do was insult them; that he was ruining my night out and that he really didn’t want to mess with a post-natal highly emotional woman who would gladly smack him one round the fat chops if he didn’t stop. He left. I was the star of the night and felt like Supergirl, came home on such a high that I felt I could conquer the world, let alone a 9 month old baby who wouldn’t sleep.

As I was dropping her home she confessed that her daughter had queried how good our friendship really is. She was basing this on how little we see each other and how often we cancel our plans and rearrange. And how we don’t talk on the phone (who does that?) anymore, just text or WhatsApp. L explained that you don’t need that to be friends. History; shared memories; just knowing that if you needed them they would help you whether you saw them last week or 3 months ago; laughing. That’s all you need.

P.S. I’m not a  1D fan just thought it fit nicely as a title.(Liam, I love you).