Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Tuesday's Tantrum - 2

Mothercare.  This week my rant is about Mothercare.  I have a splitting headache, as I write, Jam is changing the little fella's nappy upstairs and the screams are penetrating my eyes downstairs and so I will try and keep this brief.  I think lack of sleep could be next week's rant.

It may be easier to relay in dialogue.

Jam - Honey what can I do to help you?

Me - Oh, the baby alarm is ready to collect from Mothercare, you could take the little fella and collect it, that would be brilliant.

Jam - Cool, get some sleep darling, we'll be a couple of hours.

A couple of hours later...

Me - Why the long face? Everything ok?

Jam - No, they wouldn't give it to me, said you have to have received a text.

Me - But I did receive the text, that's why I said it was ok to go.

Jam - Well they wouldn't let me have it and didn't look to see if it was there.

Me - And you showed them the receipt?  God I can't believe this!  Look... oh, the text message has a reference number, but they should have checked anyway, they are usually so helpful, I'm going to call them and complain, I'm so upset, who served you?

Jam - A lady called Rebecca.  Think she was the same woman that served us when we bought it.

Brrrring Brrrring ...  Brrring Brrring...

MC - Hello Mothercare, Taunton, Rebecca speaking how can I help?

Me - Hello Rebecca, I'm calling about an order that my husband has just been in to try and collect.  I'm very upset.  They wouldn't give it to him, saying he needed to have received a text, but I had received the text late the night before and read it as 'Your order is ready to collect' and didn't realise it had a reference number, we had the inlaws here and so I just glanced at the text, so this morning my husband said he would take the little fella out for a drive and I said he could go and collect the baby alarm because it was in the store now and he drove all the way there, we're not local by the way, and was hoping to collect and was really disappointed because they wouldn't give it to him saying he needed to have received a text and we had, and I'm just really upset...(I think I said 'I'm really upset' quite a few times...)

Rebecca - I'm so sorry to hear this, do you know who served you?

Me - My husband said it was someone called Rebecca...

Rebecca - Ah, well it wasn't me, there are two Rebecca's working here.  I shall go and have a look for you, just hold the line a moment...
Yes, your order has just come in now.

Me - But my husband was there less than hour ago, so it must have been there then, or the text wouldn't have been sent last night if it wasn't there.  I'm so upset about this, they should have at least checked, he had the receipt and everything.

Rebecca - Yes, I'm not sure what happened there, I shall have to go and find Rebecca and see what happened, we can send it out to you, but it won't go until Friday now. (This was on Wednesday)

Me - Well that's no good, it won't get to us until next week, I shall just have to come back in again tomorrow.  Thank you anyway.  Good bye.


Jam - You just said you were really upset loads of times, you didn't get angry at all!

Me - I know, what am I like! I've lost my knack.  Oh I'm so stupid.  I should have said that I write a really popular (!) parenting blog and shall post something about this poor service.  That's what I should have done. Bah! I should have read the text properly and passed it on to you.  You should have called me to tell me and see whether or not I had received a text! Argh...

The next day...

Me - Hi.  I've come to collect an order.

Donna - Ok, I'll just see if it's there.

Me - It is, my husband came to collect it yesterday and they didn't give it to him saying you had to have received a text, which I had and that's why I sent him to get it, oh I was so upset!

Donna - Oh dear I'm so sorry, you shouldn't have to show the text to get it, that's ridiculous.

Me - I know, and I called to complain but couldn't really say anything else except I'm so upset - I should have said I write a parenting blog and am going to say something about this...

Donna - You should!

So, we got the Vtech alarm home and tried it out and it didn't work properly! We could hear him crying his eyes out and the alarm wasn't registering it.  We thought it was a good one, it had a broad range of features and some good reviews, but then when we looked into it again, there were far more bad reviews saying it shouldn't even be sold as an alarm.  It was very distressing for all of us.  So Jam took it back, they said they had had no problems with it and it flew off the shelves, but we beg to differ.  We ended up paying twice as much more and now have the BT monitor, fingers crossed it will work.  Tonight we will see.

Anyway, I have just had a cup of normality (normal tea) and my headache is clearing, I realise I've not had a cuppa for a couple of days and this could explain the headache - withdrawal symptoms, so good old tea - the greatest headache cure in the West! I'm hooked again.  Well you must have at least one vice in life!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Saturday's Supper

I took myself and the little fella off for a walk in the town of Taunton.  We found a carpark, it was a multi-storey one and when we got in the lift I'd forgotten to check which level we were on.  Lucky for us there was a lady getting in the same lift on our return who knew by my description where we were.  Unfortunately someone had dented the side of our car, but that's another story.

In town, I decided to walk around and around and around, with no particular aim except to explore and find the charity shops.  I knew they were by the lovely old looking blue bridge we'd crossed one evening coming back from visiting Grandad.  It was the bridge I was looking for.  I found it and felt a sudden burst of nostalgia for London boat life.  There were coots and ducks and the usual piles of rubbish on the waters edge.  Water, there was water, splashing and flowing and everybody marching past without even a nod to it.  Oh how I longed to just jump over and swim through the rushes, but it is cold and in fact is that snow? Crumbs, had best jump into this shop, oh look, it's a charity shop. Nice.  The young man working there told me that Taunton was in fact the 'town on the [river]Tone' ~ 'town-tone'.  So you learn something new every day.  I also grabbed some fabulous bargains before heading back to the car, in the snow.

We drove home and then I made some supper.  Butternut squash, roasted, then cut in half and seeds scooped out, with diced carrots, leeks and sunflower seeds cooked in olive oil, piled on top, all on a bed of quinoa, with a handful of sprouted mung beans on top.  It was delicious.  I forgot to take a picture of it before we started, it looked quite fallic so it's probably for the best and you get to see the retro plates we have too!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Wallpaper Strip - part 1

Did I mention that we are living in Jam's grandad's house, complete with all of its idiosyncrasies and amazing wallpaper selections in each room?  I'm going to slowly take you on a psychadelic journey through time and our cottage.  It may make you slightly giddy if I rush through it all in one post, so I shall draw out the pleasure, room by room.  If we play our cards right and keep the cottage, I'm planning on keeping the wallpaper, perhaps not whole walls of it, but definitely a framed picture's worth of each strip!

Here goes -

The entrance porch.  This little room houses our large pram, coats and wellies and a large wooden trolley of wood for burning.  It was quite difficult to photograph with the right light, but I think you'll get the idea.  There's a lovely window with a rather sorry looking spider plant, in it's old style, original to the house, plant pot.  This is Jam's favourite wallpaper, although he wouldn't want it in the living room.  I think it has that certain man quality to it...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tuesday's Tantrum - 1

Well, I've decided to try weekly themed slots of entries to keep me regularly posting.  I'm very excited about Wednesday's slot - The Wallpaper Strip - taking you, my dear reader on a vociferous, sorry vicarious (knew it began with 'v') journey through my cottage and its terrific wallpaper designs.

Tuesday's are going to be tantrum day.  I don't know why, well apart from the fact it begins with 't'.  That's about as far as my brain is travelling today!  So every Tuesday I shall try and have a tantrum about something and become a better person for having got it off my chest.  I tend not to be a tantrum person, so I may have set myself an impossible task, but persevere I will, with some humour thrown in too, if that's possible.  Any issues you wish me to have a tantrum about, please let me know.  Jam by the way is horrified about this, he fears that you will get the wrong impression of me and not only that, he'll have to sit through my weekly tirade as I type it.  Get over it I screamed, rather insensitively...

Now, when I started this I wasn't sure what I was going to tantrum about, but suddenly there's a million things and gosh, where do I start?

Parenting methods - why do some people think it's ok to tell you how to bring up your child?  There's always a throw away comment, 'creating a rod for your own back', 'mine were in their own beds by day two', 'mine slept through the night by six weeks', 'you've got to express or you won't have enough milk', or a million other things said that make you feel lousy / bad Mum / useless / angry or all of the above.  Of course all these people are your nearest and dearest and are only trying to help in their own way and would be most upset to know that they have upset you and really, you wouldn't be upset normally but on little sleep those raw nerves are quite prominent. 'Sod off!  I'm doing it my way!' you shout at them, in your head of course, but it doesn't make you feel any better. 

One friend of mine has her mother constantly saying to her 'why don't you put her down, why can't you do it like so-and-so, she follows such-and-such a method and it really works'.  That would drive me mad!  It's such a personal journey bringing up children and parents are often made to feel that they are doing it wrong, when instinctively they are doing everything right.  Our parents and friends who have been there before, may have all the answers, but those answers were for their children and are not always translatable to your own.  Often advice is given without it being wanted.  I always think it's best to give advice only if you're asked for it, or put it in such a way that it doesn't sound like you're telling the person what to do, make it constructive rather than critical and be supportive.  Teach don't lecture! (said Jam, with a face full of food and arms in the air - peach flavoured ketchup is what I thought he'd said! Odd.)

So.  Should I go on? Have I made a point?  Was it well argued?  Probably not as well as it could have been but Rowan is gurgling in agreement at me so it's time to put this out there and go out for a walk.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas Fair time

It was the local primary school's Christmas fair today.  I have been excited for the last week an a half!  I saw it advertised on the local church newsletter that arrives in the post every month.  You can tell I don't get out much these days.  Our lovely neighbour said she would come with me, so we walked up together, collecting one of the other neighbour's young boys to come along too.  It was primarily games for the children to play with lots of prizes presented at the end, a few stalls selling all sorts of goodies and, big drum roll, the TOMBOLA! 

It was the fact that there was a tombola that did it for me.  I am a tombola addict.  For the last few years I have attended the fabulous Save the Children Christmas fair held in London at the Banqueting Hall.  It is rarely open to the public so it's a wonderful opportunity to see the incredible Michaelangelo painting on the ceiling whilst shopping for a worthwhile cause, with endless amounts of canapes and a glass of wine included in the entrance price.  Do go if you get the chance, I think it's on December 7th.

I  always end up spending most of my time hovering around the tombola, with a surprisingly good streak of luck each time.  One year I won a wonderful woven basket with leather handles, a rather freaky porcelain doll, which I gave to a neighbour who happened to collect them, beautiful jewellery and heaps of fabulous gifts for friends and family.  I love the fact that the money is for charity and the prizes are brilliant, top quality. 

As soon as we walked in to the fair, we headed straight to the tombola and we bought two strips of tickets from a woman who was holding tickets in a basket.  She was busy admiring our pram, we were busy thinking she was the tombola ticket woman, but NO! She was the raffle woman.  Ah well, that was fine, we stayed for the raffle too, but had zero luck on that.  However, the tombola was a different matter.  Now the gifts were all food items, not that appealing some of them either.  Tins of chopped tomatoes? A can of shandy?  Where were the fancy gifts?  Anyway, not being deterred, for £2 we bought ten tickets and won five things!  The prizes were for tickets with numbers ending in a '0' or '5'.  That was pretty lucky!  Our neighbour bought 15 tickets and only won one thing - the can of shandy, which she gave to Jam for she doesn't like it!  We bagged a bottle of tasty ale, lemonade - which we gave to our neighbour, a tin of baked beans, a tin of sweetcorn and a jar of chutney.  Not such a lucrative tombola, but fun all the same.

The fair was a perfect opportunity to see the school, meet some of the teachers and local people and offer Jam's music teaching services and mine too to the local pre-school.  Everyone was extremely friendly and we were made to feel very welcome.  Rowan was a delight and made lots of people smile.  I also managed to buy lots of Christmas gifts and talk myself into buying a full length green leather coat, some jeans, a dress, two tops and some jogging bottoms - all for just ten pounds!! The clothes were all mostly new too!  Result!

Isn't it amazing what a little therapeutic shopping does for the soul, combined with giving to charity and supporting the local school - it's a wonderful feeling!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Northcott Mouth

We made a trip to Northcott Mouth near Bude this weekend for a friend's 30th birthday.  The cottage we stayed in was right on the beach and beautiful, if not a little cold in the bedrooms.  Luckily our house is also quite cold so we weren't worried about freezing the baby.  We arrived late at night and couldn't find it, asking a security guard at a holiday camp, who said he couldn't tell us - we weren't sure if he knew but didn't want to say or not!  In the morning the view from our bedroom was breathtaking.  After breakfast, we walked along the beach, Jam did some rock stacking and I played the violin whilst Rowan slept in the sling.  Some of the others donned wetsuits and went for a dip.  A couple of the gang made a white spiral line with all the stones that had white lines running through them.

We ate organic roasted vegetables and soups with chunky home-made bread.  We skipped up to the clifftops to drink port and watch the sunset.  We had lots of instruments and music was played morning til night.  Folky bluegrass music, sometimes a bit too bluegrassy for Jam's liking and I did some spoof rapping and silly song singing on top of it on the second night, after a glass of port! I felt like my old self made an appearance that night, to a new audience.  I made them laugh til they cried and it reminded me of my old friends now in pastures new.  I didn't get much sleep due to my boobs being in constant demand through out the night, but the huge grin on Rowan's face more than made up for it every time and at least I slept soundly in the car on the way home.

On our way there we stopped off at Gantie's ( a cross between grannie and auntie) so she could see Rowan.  She's been poorly lately and hasn't been able to visit.  I was horrified and slightly amused when she tried to feed him some chocolate on her finger - 'No'  I screamed, on deaf ears, 'No' again much louder, 'don't you dare, he's only 4 months old!' 'Oh, but I just want to treat him dear'...  I can see we may have problems there in the future, hopefully I nipped it in the bud, bless her!  She gave us a beautiful sheepskin for him to lie on and he loves it, even if he was a little bit sick on it, it was a godsend at the cottage to keep him warm and content.  She plied us with goodies, bulbs for the garden, a beautiful hand-knitted hoody cardigan for Rowan, birdseed, peanut butter, schloer and kind hearted god fodder in the form of small daily strength bible reading books. Hmmm.

Brain dead

I am brain dead.  I have lost the ability to think.  I cannot remember the last time I sang a different nursery rhyme to the little boy other than the one that keeps going round in my head, I don't even know what it's called and I picked it up like a nasty cold at a toddler group.  I used to run a music group in London with a plethora of songs and yet - blank.

My feet are cold.  My hands forget what they are doing and my face cannot remember how to smile.  I don't feel miserable, sad, lonely or blue, just brain dead.  I'm wearing the same clothes as yesterday and the day before and the day before that?  Just changing my underwear, I think.  Did I eat breakfast?  What do I want for dinner?  What's the date?  I just want to eat chocolate.  A cup of tea please with a chocolate biscuit. NOW.

This is just a temporary state of mind, I assure myself.  It's something like the morning after a night out feeling, if I remember that correctly.  The problem is I don't think I can allow myself to feel like this.  Zombified.  Frozen in a timewarp.  I mean I'm a mother now.  I have a house to run, responsibilities, a husband to love and a darling child to amuse.  No room for mindwandering.  Washing to be done.  Bloody chutney to make still - why won't the marrow's just get bored of waiting around looking larger than they should and wander off to pastures greener?

I need a maid.  Someone to come and clean my house.  Clean me!  Clean out the cobwebs in my brain!  Make room for some life!  Help me find the energy to be me again when the day is done. Brain dead. 

Friday, 5 November 2010

A rainbow walk

Rainbow Walk
 I took Rowan for a walk in the big pram, it's like a Silver Cross pram, huge and blue.  I walked up to the village, pulling in to let a couple of cars go by, stopped to say hello to the lovely australian lady that runs the village shop, the only shop in the village, and let an old lady coo over the babe ~ she actually shouted me to stop from across the road, saying how wonderful it was to see a mother pushing her baby in a 'proper' pram!

On the way back, it started raining and this picture was taken in the lane.  It's like one of those pictures that if you stare at it long enough you see creatures in it.  You know what I mean right? Can you see the bunny rabbit? What else can you see?  Am I spending too much time on my own?  Come on...I LOVE IT!!

Monday, 1 November 2010


This is the first year in ages that nothing much happened on Halloween.  No fancy dress party where we get madly dressed up and trek around London to as many parties as possible! (An example of our dressing up escapades can be read and seen here )  It felt quite strange, spooky in fact!  We just had a quiet night in, as is the norm around here, in bed by midnight and not a single knock on the door from a trick or treater.  We didn't even carve the pumpkin, we chopped it in half and roasted it instead.  Yummy. 

Next year will be different though.  Next year, little Rowan will not be so little and we will be a bit more mobile and we will go to the ball!  So we have a whole year to try and come up with an even more exciting costume idea than the one we had last year.  Deep down, I was quite relieved not to be doing it this year.  It must be old age, lack of fun, dead brain cells or something happening in there to make the spark go out, but it always took me a while to get into the whole idea of dressing up scarily.  It was always fun once there, but took a bit of effort!  Maybe with a sabbatical rest from the whole dressing up, fresh ideas and a renewed lust for it will appear. 

Perhaps that is the way forward, have a rest from doing something (like working) and when you go back to it you will have a renewed energy and spark.  I sincerely hope so, I have no idea what I am going to do and how I am going to focus on it...

One small step at a time!