Gosh, it’s been a while since we’ve been here, hasn’t it? I am a whole two weeks behind on blogging (the shame), but to be honest I’m surprised this hasn’t happened more regularly. My track record for keeping at something isn’t that great – especially when it’s self-imposed/self-motivated. However, The Neens has expressed her displeasure at my lack of blogging, and what The Neens wants goes, so I’m back on the blogging horse. It is good though, because the two weeks off has given me a little bit of material to go off and I return to you with the good wholesome quality content you like to see.
I was actually off work last week (lucky me) for the Great Pendlebury Expedition of 2018. TMM’s Mum was celebrating her birthday, and it was sneakily decided that we would take her on a surprise holiday as a family. Everything was pretty much decided early in the year and all that was left to do was to get her down there none the wiser. TMM’s dad cleverly managed to whisk her away, promising her a week of calm in Devon, and we even went to visit her the night before to take her a present and wish her a pre-emptive happy birthday aka we bald faced lied to her face which brought me out in panicked sweats. It went off without a hitch though, and Saturday morning saw 8 adults, 3 teeny tots, 3 dogs and 4 cars full of suitcases haring it down the motorway. It was supposedly planned that our journeys would be staggered so that TMM’s Mum wouldn’t know what was going on, but as always with the best laid plans of mice and men, I think it was only by the skin of our teeth that we avoided bumping into them,
The main body of the convoy met at Gloucester services at sparrow fart in the morning (TMM got me up and in the car by about 6am and let me tell you, I was grouchy). We got to the services about half an hour before anyone else and had a nice little breakfast and a wander round the absolutely beautiful farm shop (everything in their is glorious and outrageously expensive, so of course we bought tons). Just as we were finishing up, TMM’s sister arrived with her husband, little one, sizable baby bump and 2 dogs and then by the time they’d got themselves sorted, TMM’s brother, wife and 2 little ones had arrived and we all had a quick catch up before heading off again.
We did our best Italian Job impression down the motorway (TMM got a bit overexcited and was referred to as a “boy racer” more than once – especially hilarious considering it has previously been stated he is a grandma driver) and pulled up at the allocated meeting point of the beach car park with time to spare. Whilst everyone bundled up, a pair of binoculars were handed round and we scrutinised every unsuspecting couple on the beach below. What I had imagined would be a short jaunt to the bay and then a slow motion run into ach other’s arms actually turned out to be a bit of a Monty Python sketch when it turned out the beach was a lot longer than anticipated and en masse we approached numerous people who turned out not to be the droids we were looking for. There was even a mild concern someone was going to report us for just stalking random people. Eventually though, the collies were released and hared up the shoreline to our prize. As we slowly made our way along, dragging children who were far more interested in digging, TMM’s Mum realised who we were and boke down into fits of totes emosh tears. This in turn made me tear up a little (this woman beat breast cancer with nary a tear shed, yet was clearly affected by her family) and then there was a mass hugging session and a lot high pitched chattering.
The week itself was full of delightful beach walks (though I do have to admit to being a grump because boy was it cold), board games and a lightening speed trip to Exeter in which TMM and I somehow managed to spend about £100 in ten minutes. I do have to admit to struggling slightly with the early mornings (the bedrooms were all on the bottom floor and the living area directly above them, and tiny children appear to have the body mass index of Indian elephants), and proved myself to be the laziest person there by getting up after every one else every single day. To be honest though, nobody else really had a choice because they had children, but still.
It became very clear as well that I have very much of a Victorian mind set when it comes to children – they are lovely to see but when they cry it makes my butt clench. Now don’t get me wrong, I love those little critters to bits; their giggles sound like angel choirs, their tiny grabby hands make my insides warm and freshly washed adorably curly baby hair could probably solve all of life’s woes, but my God, when they cry! It’s like the siren for the end of days – just the most heartbreakingly devastated wail that vibrates down to the bone. I mean, honestly, what have they even got to cry about? They don’t have to work, they are actively encouraged to take naps and they can literally shit themselves and somebody will clean it up. (As pointed out to me, you don’t know true parenting until you’ve cheered at someone else pooping). I’d give my left arm to be in their tiny and sensibly velcroed shoes. This holiday has made it abundantly clear though that I am meant to one of life’s cool aunts. I will swan into their lives, dispensing timely wisdom and an unhealthy amount of sugary goods, and once they are over excited and hoped up on e-numbers, I will give them back and return to my blessedly silent cats and long lie ins.
We watched The Incredible 2 whilst away and it was abundantly clear to all that I am Edna; charmed by children but best kept separate from them. Also, tell me that isn’t me in my Velma costume.
Instead, I am on the noble and valiant quest of trying to convince TMM that we need a bearded dragon. The lady who had put us up in one of her beautiful barn conversions also had an absolute menagerie and invited guests to help with the morning feeding round. We descended on the first morning at 10am sharp to help feed her 4 alpacas, 2 donkeys, 1 fully grown cune cune pig (called Tom) 3 piglets, 2 geese, 10 guinea pigs, 1 rabbit, 7000 brightly coloured birds and a multitude of chickens, ducks and turkeys (called Nigella and Paxo). We were followed on our rounds by a rather loud-mouthed guinea fowl and also got to have a stroke of a bearded dragon called Fluffy and tortoise called Shelley. I was understandably overwhelmed with animal fuelled joy and should really be applauded for not elbowing the children out of the way more regularly. After narrowing it down though (alpacas and donkeys being too big for out current abode), I’ve decided a reptile is my only available avenue. (I have previously tried for bees, pygmy goats and birds, but TMM has sensibly pointed out that living in rented accommodation with a cat is not really the best environment for any of those). I have helpfully been pricing up costs and allocating sections of our house for the dragon, much to TMM’s chagrin, and am hoping to have a new member of little family early in the new year.
Overall, I think it can be classed as a success though, and I do hope TMM’s mother enjoyed herself as much as she deserved to. Now that’s done though, it’s all about the downhill scramble to Christmas, so prepare for some festively panicked ramblings over the next few weeks…