Sunday 14 October 2012

Week 58- odd shaped vegetables, cheese strings and beer injuries

We're giving up our allotment. It hasn't been an easy decision. Well, it hasn't been an easy decision for Ben, who has done all the hard graft over the last two years.

But turns out you can't do everything.

And be Felicity Kendal.

I don't get how people do it. Work. Have a tidy house. A garden with stuff growing in it other than weeds. And a family.

They must hire people to do some of it. There's only 24 hours in the day, even for the richest, most successful people.

The allotment was a step too far. I loved the idea of being self sufficient. Of having people over for dinner and being like, yep, grew that, grew that, bought that but it was locally sourced from the health food shop down the road, grew that.

But the reality was I forgot about the allotment, remembered, felt guilty, popped up there and looked at our kingdom which was armpit high grass, cut it with shears which were so blunt I might as well have used nail sissors, felt overwhelmed, and then didn't go up for months again.

I sometimes find the way you want to live, and the reality, are two totally different things. Especially when it comes to children.

I want to get up with Nancy when she wakes at 5.30 and be full of energy and fun, playing games involving cornflour and water, stuff like that. The reality is, I know the morning kids TV schedule by heart. (Cloudbabies, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Everything's Rosie, in case you're wondering.)

I want to bound back from work, and be able to effortlessly change heads from being a professional, to being a mum. Not be knackered, not be grumpy or stressed out, but be the person Nancy can't wait to leave the childminder's to hang out with.

But the reality is somedays I'd give my right arm to sit off and watch Home and Away and Neighbours when I get in. Have toast and Marmite for dinner, without having to think about cooking or feeding anyone else. Go out with a moments notice and have a night out I can only piece together through beer injuries and pub receipts.

I want to cook Nancy ace dinners, from stuff I've grown, or a recipe I found in the Observer Magazine. The reality is, I'm so delighted if she eats anything these days, that I don't care if she eats at the table, or for that matter, if it's another Petits Filous tea, as long as she swallows it.

The worst recent tea was when Nancy refused everything, apart from one of those cheese stringy things. But only if it was separated out, and was carefully dangled over the handle of her walker, so she could push it round, and stop for a snack when she fancied it. That was a bit of a culinary low point.

But more than anything, I want Nancy to know that she always comes first. And that's never going to happen if we have committed to so many things that we don't really have time to do any of them.

So, maybe we'll get another allotment when Nancy's old enough to enjoy it too, instead of being strapped in her pram watching us dig in vain.

And in the meantime, we can always buy odd shaped vegetables from the overpriced health food shop and pretend we grew them ourselves.

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