Friday, 19 November 2010

Tis The Season To Be Sniffy

This week found the whole family in bed with a cold. And someone was at fault. Someone was guilty. Someone had to be blamed. We were all suffering too much. The clear and outright winner for most unpopular family member was My Husband. He’d gone on a business trip to The Land of His Fathers (flat, lots of dykes and inhabited by people with a penchant for shmoking odd grasses) and foolishly breathed in and out on the plane. 
When My Husband is ill he does not get Man Flu. He simply carries on as if a trifling little rodent is nibbling at his ankle. Shakes it off and strides out into the world to show all those other cissies sheltering under their duvets what it means to be a real man with a cold.
Until this week when, falling like a giant redwood in a forest in the other Land of His Fathers (two oceans, curious antipathy to tea and run by politicians with a penchant for invading countries they do not own), he crept upstairs whispering “I’m not feeling so good...”
My Mother, who was staying, went home.  I took Vitamin C, First Defence and prayed. Younger Son, assured of his own invincibility, continued playing on his Ipod. I stocked up with tissues, proprietary cold and flu remedies and prayed some more.
By Wednesday we were all in bed. The desire within me to apportion blame was strong, rather like The Force in Star Wars. In an attempt to keep quiet, I read the whole of The Deathly Hallows in one day. I did embroidery. I wondered how greasy any one person’s hair can really get. I went quietly mad with the effort of Being Reasonable.
My Mother is made of sterner stuff. As My Husband came off the phone after speaking to her, I croaked “How is she?”  “Oh she was just ringing to ask how I was. Made sure she let me know it was my fault she caught the cold, though” he replied grumpily.
Well said Mother.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Forces of Nature

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman coming out of IKEA will be unable to remember why she has bought twelve spice jars, two packs of different sized napkins, three candles and a set of glasses when all she went in for was a bookcase. And she will have absolutely no idea why her bill is always a multiple of £60 whatever she buys.
I went to IKEA this weekend. With My Mother. My Mother is a force of nature.  She is just back from a months stay with her sister in California,  that reduced her to tears of boredom. ( My aunt lives in a trailer park). Over lunch she announced that she needed a “proper” holiday.  She hopes to travel the Silk Route from Tashkent, through Uzbekistan and various other ‘stans to the Chinese border. My Mother is 85.
My Mother is also a great talker and sometimes the best plan of attack with her is to go out on a trip. Which is why I thought IKEA on a busy Saturday afternoon seemed like a good idea.  Interestingly, she needed nothing, but still came out with a pack of napkins, a tray and a bag of mini Dime bars.  
The force of nature had met its match…

Friday, 12 November 2010

Death Where Is Thy Sting

Firmly ensconced in the bottom of the bumble bee of life, if my morning is anything to go by.
 I don’t know what you think about when you wake up, but this morning, as I came to, I was thinking about a curiously disembodied heart. It took a couple of minutes for me to realise that this was Dissection Day and that I had completely failed to provide Younger Son with the requisite organ to take to school. That he’s reminded me only the night before didn’t dissipate the Mummy Guilt  and I headed down to breakfast in a less than sunny mood. No shimmering Jeeves to cheer me up so I sat down to Weetabix with The Lodger.  We watched breakfast news where we learnt that people now get their funerals photographed and videoed in much the same way as weddings and christenings.  Can’t shout at the TV when The Lodger is around so made mild comments and found that even a 23 year old thought it was a bit off to take snaps of weeping mourners.
Arrived at the most expensive butchers in town (it was open) with Younger Son, to be greeted with    “ Morning madam – pizza?” This has to rank as the oddest thing a butcher has ever said to me. He had obviously had loads of distressed parents in. “They’re frozen” he continued “is that ok?” I nodded and he vanished, coming back with a very hard heart indeed.  Back in the car, Younger Son said that he had to take the heart to the Prep Room where there were ladies who would deal with it. Some poor technician is facing a morning of dealing with 33 hearts (yes this is a state school) in various states of defrostation.
Facing a silence in the car I ventured to Younger Son that he had a very cold heart.  Suprisingly he laughed. We carried on chatting and I mentioned the old story of the woman who killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then served it to the detectives investigating the case. “Have you ever thought of doing that Mum?”  he asked.
“Of course not darling……..”