Thursday, July 29, 2004


You see a mad woman. Mad at politicians, mad at those superwomen who conned us all in the 'nineties. Whose damn stupid idea was it that working mothers could truly "have it all"? The career (not just a job, oh no, we had to aim for a career), the beautiful smiling children and contented spouse (because his wife is earning good money and is a fulfilled person in her own right) ....

Let me tell you it loud and clear, sisters - it was a load of poppycock!

This evening I came home to the beautiful smiling children yelling at each other like fishwives. (Okay, they're boys - they make worse fishwives, I can tell you.) Son no.1 has an autocratic, dictatorial style that just might make him a good army captain, but he'll never get a job in any career where gentle persuasion is the name of the game. Son no.2 winds up Son no.3 until the latter retaliates. That gives Son no.2 the chance to kick or thump him.

The contented spouse (who should have been contented because Pseudo-Supermum made a prawn curry last night, ready for him just to heat up) - was discontented, because he got in trouble for adding half a pound more prawns to a curry that already contained three quarters of a pound of prawns. Resulting in far too much, which will end up being chucked out ...

The career mum had failed to bake scones for her colleagues' tea this afternoon (because before she made that curry, she took four little boys to the theatre yesterday evening, and there wasn't a lot of time left in between those activities). Maybe tonight..?

Tonight she was packing for an imminent trip to a family christening. Five people go, but one person packs. Ho, hum. And chasing boys to bed. (Noble spouse was contentedly using his resurrected computer while Pseudo Supermum whizzed around...)

She spoke to the neighbours and arranged for the care of the gerbils. Did a load of washing, set the tumble-drier going, left no.2 son's paint-stained tee-shirt soaking, then went to the 24-hour supermarket for caffeinated coffee (a rare treat) - when INSPIRATION set in. Asda cherry scones. I haven't baked scones, but I've bought them. Give me strength, it is now a quarter to eleven at night and I have to polish Noble Spouse's silver belt buckle and sporran opening frame. Can't possibly relax, let alone go to bed, until that's done.

Have I done any research reading today? Nope! Failed again.

I wanted to be a good mother. I wanted to have a career. I wanted to be a nice person. So - where did I go wrong? And where do I start?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sulky Pseudo-Supermum asks herself whether ALL ten-year old boys are bolshie, or just her own one?  He asks a question, gets a perfectly civil reply, and retorts, "At LAST!  An answer."   Doesn't like being told to do anything - well, none of them do, really - honestly, I despair. 
Does anyone out there have a son who does what he's told First Time?  How did you achieve it?
Having spent the entire lunch-break whizzing round town, it now (at 8.15 pm) feels as though I've had a busy day.  I've bought a christening gift and a birthday present, and been to the bank.  Then done the rest of a full day's work.  I even got somewhere near finishing what I intended to do last week.  The holiday backlog hasn't entirely gone yet.  Sigh!
Three cheers for Babel Fish - it enabled me to send an email to a publisher, in perfect Spanish, today.  I got my Spanish "O" level exam in 1975 after studying it for just 8 months, but I'm afraid that means I can't string two Spanish words together nowadays.  However, clever Babel Fish did the job for me in seconds.  Now all I want is an answer.  I did ask them to reply in simple language ... 

Monday, July 19, 2004

Well, this has been "Fair Monday" in Glasgow - the start of "Fair Fortnight".  So called because this was traditionally the fortnight when all the factories closed for their fortnight's summer holiday - and there was a fairground on Glasgow Green during that time.  We don't all have the same holidays these days, but "Fair Monday" is still a public holiday.
Pseudo-Supermum stayed in bed until almost 10 am.  There was one, close to me, who accused me of being selfish.  I disagree.  I work my socks off most of the time, and it's back to work tomorrow after our family holiday - so today I was darn well going to take it easy....
As if!  After a late breakfast, it took the rest of the morning to clean two fish-tanks (why Pseudo- Supermum gets the job is something of a mystery, as they aren't her fish) - and play "hunt the door-key for no.1 son.  He swore he had looked for it, couldn't find it, and couldn't remember putting it in any unusual place.  Pseudo-Supermum wasn't convinced, and continued looking ...
The key was in a little pot in the dining-room, a place only Pseudo-Supermum could have dreamt of.  A safe place where burglars wouldn't ever find it.  Not that they'd need it if they had got that far into the house, when you come to think about it. Apologies to no.1 son.
This afternoon we went to hire a game for the Game-Cube, then I started making tea.  Dotty old aunty was coming to see us.   The poor soul gets more confused each time we see her.  She asked Noble Spouse where "the rest of the crowd" were going for the holidays.  It took a while to work out who "the crowd" were.  You'll never guess - she was referring to the girls that she did her war effort with, 60-odd years ago.   She asks a question then asks again, because she doesn't remember asking it the first time.  Asks the boys, repeatedly, which school they're at (etc), thanks me, repeatedly, for her meal ... and can't be left to go to the bathroom on her own.  She knows what to do once she's there, but loses her way as soon as she opens the door afterwards.  Alzheimer's is a cruel disease.
While Noble Spouse took aunty home again after tea, I trimmed our front hedge and tackled next-door's into the bargain.  They haven't got a hedgecutter.  The results may not be perfect but are definitely an improvement. 
I'm reading a book about a TV experiment re-enacting the experiences of American settlers in log-cabins.  It's fascinating.  I plan to spend the rest of the evening curled up with my
proverbial "good book"!
Back to work tomorrow?  Sigh!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Pseudo-Supermum is back from her holidays. We had a great 10 days in Brittany, but unfortunately the weather wasn't at its best. On the second night there were five in the bed during a terrific thunder and lightening storm. And the next day, we were confined to the chalet, during tumultuous rain. Boy, were we glad not to have been in a tent! Apart from that - the temperature soared to 29 degrees Celsius one day, and it was mostly sunny or at least dry the rest of the time - but not very warm. The unheated swimming pools went down well with no.1 son (who can swim) - less well with no.2 (who still can't) - and no.3 son was totally unimpressed. Yours truly HAD to go in whenever no.2 wanted to play on the chute and the flume, since the pool he landed up in was deep up to his chin - he wouldn't slide unless I was there to catch him. Super Spouse wouldn't get wet at all, no way.

The beach was, as advertised, 50 metres from the camp, and was perfect for kids - rocks, rock pools, nice sand to dig, and (unlike some British beaches) no ice-cream bars, tea-bars, shoddy gift-shops etc. So that was a total success - all we needed was buckets, spades and towels and we were set for a couple of hours' happy amusement.

We got to know a very nice Swiss-German family with three boys, in the neighbouring chalet and shared some enjoyable beach times with them. No.2 son was so proud that he had made the first move to befriend them, and just as proud that the joint barbecue one evening was his own idea.

What more can I tell? Well, we enjoyed (or should I say "enjoyed") a couple of meals out, though the boys don't yet understand about waiting patiently to be served. We all enjoyed what we ate, but the atmosphere was a bit tense as we tried to persuade them to behave. We had a boat trip to some caves one day, and that was a big success - apart from the drive there and back. You see, we happened to have chosen the day when the Tour de France bike race went through Quimper, and that meant that cars were plainly NOT going to get through Quimper. It meant quite a detour on the way home, which didn't go down too well.

It was obviously not quite the best ten days to have chosen - we also hit Bastille Day on our penultimate day - all the shops were shut, and we couldn't buy a stamp to save our souls. We could have struggled into town on foot to see a late night fireworks celebration, but it was very late indeed, and there would have been so many people. Taking the car to the fireworks was out of the question - it was difficult parking in Benodet even on a normal day.

We had a great hire car, though my nerves were jangling whenever we drove on those narrow Brittany roads with high, steep-sided kerbs. Super Spouse bounced the car off a kerb so hard, on our way to the Eurocamp, that the next day we had to go and get the wheel rim straightened out and the wheel re-balanced. Did that make him more cautious thereafter? Well, sort of ....
I didn't get to drive the car. It was a left-hand drive automatic. We're used to right-hand drive manual transmission. So - I was sitting where I would normally sit, but as a passenger rather than the driver. And that meant I had the best view of when we were about to hit the kerb. Super Spouse can't STAND being warned "mind the kerb" every few minutes - well, I can see it must be annoying - but I get anxious when I feel we're about to bash a hired car off a kerb. Fraught moments!

Ah well - there's a Scots expression, "back to auld claes and parritch" (back to old clothes and porridge) - and that's what is ahead of me this week. Back to work, routines, getting up on time and so on. For the boys, back to the childminder whenever Super Spouse has to work. Work is thin for him in the summer, so that isn't as bad as it sounds, at least from the boys' point of view.