Sunday, 14 January 2018

Week 285- pets, babies and double decker hutches...

Get a pet, they* said. It will be good for them.

So we did it.

We bought the kids two female guinea pigs and an outdoor hutch.

I used to have guinea pigs growing up so I’m all over this shit. I like the weird noises they make, they are totally low maintenance and cost next to nothing as they mainly eat all the vegetables you buy from the January health-kick-rush-of-blood-to-the-head and then keep in the fridge until they smell like a compost bin.

The kids named them Snuffles** and Bella and they were due to live outside and rub along with us with minimal disruption.

Until hurricane Brenda or whichever one it was started to blow a gale and I realised that the guinea pigs would die of hyperthermia before they reached their 2-month birthday.

So we moved the massive hutch inside.

Not ideal but two clicks later and I’d bought an indoor hutch on-line. This was starting to be a slightly more pricey endeavour than the occasional bag of hay and pet food but hey ho, it might be easier to look after them/ harder to ignore them, if they are just at the bottom of the stairs so we have to breathe in to squeeze past them every time.

The new hutch arrived.

It’s huge.

And the outdoor hutch went outside again, the children declaring it’s their holiday home ‘like Pontins.’ Perfect.

The first thing I noticed now they’re inside is how fucking noisy they are.

And nocturnal.

They reach optimum squeak at about 3am.

Never mind.

We’ll get used to the noise I tell myself. We might even start to not notice it at all; they will just become part of the house.

They start to grow. Like really quickly.

These guinea pigs are gigantic. I don’t remember them being this big when I was a child.

And then we realise why.

‘Mummy, Snufffles has shrunk!’

I look in the hutch.

No she hasn’t.

That’s a baby.

And there are two more.

Bella was pregnant when we bought her it turns out. We have five guinea pigs for the price of two.

And the massive hutch doesn’t look so massive now.

We plan to find homes for the babies, but after Ben referred to them as ‘family’ we couldn’t do it.

We couldn’t split up ‘the girls.’

When did we start calling them ‘the girls’? Kill me now.

But one trip to the petshop later confirmed that they are indeed all girls and so the chances of them procreating further are biblical.

Come Christmas and the kids are putting together their unrealistic lists of things they’d like to appear under the tree, and we’re trying to convince them that perhaps what they’d really like is a gigantic guinea pig hutch.

A double decker, two story, block of flats style hutch.


They’re both slightly disappointed but it’s the only way we can keep them all.

So what started out as a lovely exercise in empathy and looking after another creature has become a quick lesson in teenage pregnancy and incest.

You can’t win them all.

*The voice in my head and Yahoo news.

** I have never met a creature who is less like her name. She bites. And if you look at her straight on she reminds me a bit of General Wooundwort from Watership Down.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Week 272- Sunday roasts, shaking like a new born deer and snoring at yoga...

Often the person you think you are and the person you actually are are worlds apart.

What I think- I’m well read. I read good books, books by Man Booker Prize winners, strong female authors who write insightful pros about the contemporary world.

What actually happens- I’ve got into watching Suits. I sit in bed watching episode after episode on the Ipad long after I should be asleep and have developed an unhealthy crush on a capitalist lawyer. I managed to watch an entire series in a week. If I had the same commitment to exercise I could run a marathon.

What I think- I can be sophisticated, I can do ‘posh.’

What actually happens- we went away for the weekend to a posh hotel and out for an even posher meal booked by my fantastic sister and brother-in-law as a wedding present. Before we’d even left the room I managed to twat my head on the wall turning around too quickly to see the results of Come Dine with Me and a bump the size of an egg developed immediately. We didn’t have any painkillers so I numbed the throb with multiple brandies and today I can’t work out whether the pain is hangover or concussion.

What I think- I can fit into my aspirational jeans, the pair that will make me look like Lily Allen.

What actually happens- Nancy asked me whilst I was lying on the sofa watching Madagascar 3 after we’d eaten a Sunday roast, and pudding of chocolate brownie and custard if I had a baby in my tummy. Like my sister. Who is seven months pregnant.

I’m going to be 40 next year. The mantra since turning 39 has been ‘fit for 40.’

That was the plan. Is the plan.

It quickly became something I just said whilst inhaling a share bag of Twirl pieces. Or driving to work which is a five-minute walk and probably takes longer in the car once I’ve spent forever trying to find a parking space.

Something had to change. I can’t afford a new larger wardrobe, the hangovers seem to last for days instead of hours now and I would like to get some Zen in my life.

So I signed up to a yoga class round the corner. It’s a 30 second walk so there was no excuse.

Turns out I’m the youngest person there by thirty years which is great because that should also mean I’m the bendiest and most agile.


Everyone else can seamlessly do a downward dog. I can’t even touch my calves let alone my toes. But never mind, this is step one of fit for 40.

It’s not going to happen overnight but this was progress.

The class was an hour and a half, which is a lifetime when you’re legs are shaking like a new born deer.

The best bit, as always, is the end ten minutes when you lie down under a blanket.

I’m lying there relaxing. And then I’m like, what the fuck is that noise?

What is that noise?

This isn’t relaxing, it’s distracting. It’s loud.

I’m lying there getting more and more annoyed. Then it dawns on me.

It’s snoring.

It’s me.

I’m snoring in a room of six other women.

Snoring loudly.

The Tibetan bowl rings and we start to stretch and get up.

They all know it’s me cos it was very obviously me.

So I don’t know whether I can go back.

What I think- I’m the kind of person that eats clean raw food and enjoys yoga.

What actually happens- I’d prefer to eat a king size Mars bar and drink a full fat latte in front of series three of Suits than ever go back to that yoga class.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Week 268- we NEED to stick together.

I had decided to stop writing this blog.

I couldn’t square the circle since my daughter started school about what I wrote and how that might affect her, as she’s not a baby anymore.

She told me yesterday I shouldn’t wear the dress I’d just bought from a charity shop as it didn’t look nice.

And she was right.

(More than right, it looked fucking awful and still smelt of BO from the last owner.)

This is a girl with an opinion, with taste (better than mine) and with spirit.

But the thing is, it dawned on me that I wasn’t writing this to document her life, or that of my three-year-old son.

This was about me.

Or more to the point, us.

It’s about the women I know, the women I don’t, the women that I’ve met through writing this, the women I read about or watch on TV who are fighting their own fight, whether it be parenting, work, family or just surviving to the end of the day without COMPLETELY losing their shit.

And how fucking brilliant we all are.

But also how much we need to look out for each other, support each other.

You only need to read the paper or look through your news feed to see how much we fucking need to look after each other.  

Right now.

The #metoo hashtag threw a massive blaring light on the shit we’ve all put up with.

The things we’ve accepted, laughed off, felt ashamed or normalised because that’s just ‘what happens’ to women and girls.

It made me think about how much we need to talk, to be open.

To celebrate each others successes, to congratulate the things that go well, and to be there when they don't.

To listen, to support and most importantly, most absolutely, without hesitation, the most important thing to do is to not judge.

We need to stick together.

We NEED to stick together.

As mothers.

As daughters.

As friends.

As colleagues.

As women.

Parts of the world are turning to shit, turning on women.

But we can’t turn on each other.

We owe it to ourselves to be strong.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Week 264- Funk the Family...

OK, so I think it’s fair to say that for the time being, I’ve hung up my festival Bardot top, wellies and unflattering cut off, camel toe-inducing denim shorts.

I can’t really see myself spending the best part of £200 to traipse around a field half pissed on weak lager that cost me seven quid, watching some band that I should know, but clearly don’t as my cultural references appear to grind to a halt around 2005.

Which, lets be honest, was not a ground-breaking year for great music.

It also makes me feel so fucking old.

I watch Glastonbury on TV and everyone either looks too young to get served, or knocking on middle aged and could probably tell you about the first time they went to Glastonbury.

When you didn’t need to jump the fence.

 Cos it was that long ago that they didn’t even have a fence.

I don't want to be that guy.

So when my mate asked if me and the family would like to go to the festival she's involved with, Funk the Family, in Hove, with Jazzie B from Soul II ‘shit me I can feel semi cool again’ Soul playing, I was like, yeah go on then.*

The thing is, I want to do good stuff with the kids, but occasionally it would be amazing to do stuff that we all genuinely enjoy.

That’s not to say that I’m not having a ball at the soft play when I don’t see them for hours on end until they emerge from the scrum of kids now and then, sweating and breathlessly demanding another overpriced Fruit Shoot.

I do, course I do.

But the thought of going to something where it kind of feels like 'old me' and 'mum me' colliding would be refreshing to say the least.

To show the kids that there is something out there beyond the Trolls sound track that we can all dance to together, now that would be terrific.

(Terrific? Seriously, I'm even starting to talk like my dad.)

I’m not going to do the hard sell on this one, check out the website, see the line up and the other activities, and if you fancy a trip to Brighton (Hove actually) and free on Father’s Day (easy win!) then it’s totally worth going.

The tickets are also only thirty quid for an adult and a tenner for kids for the day, which is cheaper than a cup of tea in the Sealife Centre**.

Second thoughts I’m going to dust off those massively tight denim shorts, cos where else am I going to have the opportunity to publicly embarrass my kids by wearing them?

*I was totally uncool about it and e-mailed back within 30 seconds. 
** It’s not, but it’s pretty close.