Tuesday, 23 June 2015

I Need a Wife

I need a wife
Someone to organise my life 
To sort out bills 
Do the shopping too 
To clean the wee from around the loo..  

Someone who remembers when term ends 
When homework's due 
Someone who sends.. 
Completed forms and makes dates to play
Who never forgets an inset day 

Someone to manage groups and clubs 
Gymnastics, swimming, judo, cubs 
Washing, drying, washing again 
Darks and delicates, whites and then... 
Someone who can quickly find the one sock that got left behind 

Someone to stem the tide of mess 
Sew on badges, hem a dress 
Hoover the house, get filing done 
Speak to the bank, make homework "fun" 

I look around my house and see
It's chaos if you're married to me
The kids' shoes are missing, disorder is rife 
I just have to face it I need a wife!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Move Your Body

What do you want? A medal? (of course I do!)
Some things I've discovered I can still do aged 40 thank to the encouragement of my children:

  • Ride a bike 'no-handed' (but only for 3 seconds on the flat)
  • Do a cartwheel (painful, but possible)
  • Flip myself over using a pair of gym rings
  • Get across the monkey bars on a children's climbing frame (without touching the floor - I did not cheat!)
  • Run 10k (again - painful, but possible)

There are some activities that I avoid doing, partly because I don't want to injure myself, and partly because I often can't be arsed (swimming especially - too much chlorine and other people's body hair floating about for my liking).  This is fair enough if you're on your own (cartwheeling around the garden could be viewed as a little regressive, and hanging out on a children's climbing frame could be viewed as alarming) but when our children are asking us to do something active with them I think we should be obliged to at least give it a try.  How can we reasonably expect our children to be active if we avoid activity?  Or expect our children to "give things a try" if we won't try what they suggest?

With that in mind, I decided that when my son suggested I "go down the skate ramp on a scooter mummy" that I should give it a try.  Here's what happened:

I stood poised at the top of the ramp thinking "I can do this, I do Pilates so of course I'll have good core strength and balance." before making the twin errors of:

Not for grown ups!
1. Balancing the middle of the scooter on the lip of the ramp
2. Forgetting that I am 40 and that the scooter is set up for a six year old child

I maintained an upright position for all of two seconds before the scooter slipped left, leaving me to skid right - on my front, with my palms outstretched.  Tarmac and palms are not a good combination and I managed the magic trick that is tearing the skin on your knee but not tearing your jeans - how does that happen?

It led me to the conclusion that I do want to continue to challenge myself, but perhaps it's better done when the equipment is set up for adults.  So I've signed up to do a silly assault course in October - I'm hoping it doesn't involve a skate ramp.....

Soundtrack: Move Your Body by Xpansions

Monday, 1 June 2015

What Camping and Business Travel Have in Common

Now *that's* what I call a room with a view!
Not so long ago I wouldn't have set foot inside a tent.  The aversion to canvas was in part formed by an early experience with the Brownies where we camped on a rugby pitch in Abergavenny; one of our party had (to put it delicately) a "very upset tummy", the rest of us were just "very upset".  It was also informed by a strong desire to avail of as many 5* hotel experiences as possible - which, as it turns out, was a very good plan as once children arrived, the cash with which to do this vanished under an ocean of costs associated with sports clubs and the buying of shoes every six months.
Camping during half-term saw our family celebrate a full year of tent-ownership and a reflection on quite how far we have come during the space of a year which began with borrowing a tent, and ended with us owning not just a tent, but an awning, several flash gadgets and a habit for campsites that come with great facilities.  What began as a way to holiday cheaply has resulted in something that is not too far off business travel because....

Small = smart

I once managed a week in Washington with just carry-on luggage (ok, Business Class carry-on but it still counts!).  Miniature toiletries, layering of separates, strategically positioned shoes to maximise space, anything to avoid queuing for hours at a carousel or the magical game that is wondering whether your luggage will reach the same destination as you.... This habit has now transformed into the decanting of shampoo into small bottles, sleeping bags that fold into teeny pockets and collapsible colanders (who knew the joy that little gadget would bring?!)

A little luxury goes a long way

Duty free used to be my guilty pleasure, especially the Chanel handbag-size atomisers - the joy!  Some people won't travel without a scented candle for their hotel room (I never once did that, but I get why you would), others insist on a glass of champagne after take-off (I definitely did that).  For camping this transforms into good wine, proper cutlery, farm shop burgers and cheeseboards.  Our friend once brought a glass cloche to protect, display and serve a rather nice cake from.  It was a crazily fragile thing to take into a field full of children and guy ropes but not one of us did not appreciate its beauty over a Tupperware pot.

You will covet other peoples stuff

On a business trip it's all about admiring your neighbour's shoes / laptop bag / Luis Vuitton toiletry bag.  Back when we had to room with other people at conferences I tried on my roommate's Manolo Blahniks while she was out.  Upon her return I confessed to my terrible behaviour. And then she let me try them on again - yay!    
Now we remark favourably on our friends' camping stoves, tent carpets and camping mats, and harbour ambitions to one day own a kitchen stand.  It will be ours...

The day hasn't started unless coffee has been served

Mega hangovers thanks to dinner with clients, all-nighters, being woken by what sounds like a concrete mixer (when in fact it is deer nibbling at grass) or having to take your child for a wee in the dark several times during the night.  All of these fade away with the first cup of strong, hot coffee.

The feeling when you get home

Whether it's a five day business trip to the US requiring inordinate amounts of smiling nicely at customers and a cast-iron constitution, or a long weekend of fresh air and outdoor pursuits with your family, both of these things are true:
  1. You will feel like you need a holiday afterwards   
  2. There is nothing like your own bed!
Like this?  You'll love the book!