Monday, 31 August 2009

Being a mother is the best and hardest job there is

I have just returned from one of the best holidays I have had. Sharing a 2 bedroom caravan with my crippled mother and 3 of my 4 teenage sons. The site was very small approx 40 caravans on a tiny plot meant that there was very little room to swing a cat (if we had taken one) either inside or outside the caravan. Our caravan was no more than 70 feet from the beach. (allowing for 2 x 20ft caravans plus space between). Immidiately in front of the front row of caravans there was a low wall seperating the beach from the caravan site. The sand was gloriously soft and felt lovely under foot, there were a few reed covered dunes then more soft sand before a band of pebbles between the soft sand and the water's edge. I spent a lot of time walking, sitting and photographing that beach (Caister on Sea). My sons played games and buried each other many times.

We did a lot of driving around the broads (I did the driving everyone else just watched the ever changing scenery). We planned a trip on a paddle steamer from Hickling, had a scrumptious meal while we waited for our trip, then I got stung by a wasp on the underside of my arm (excruciating pain). In a way it was a good thing that at the last minute two coaches turned up and took all the places on the boat so we couldn't go. It would have meant a further 1.5 hrs before I could get to the anti histamin cream and tablets.

We drove passed the RAF Base ET would be going to for his training (only to find when we returned home that he is now going to a different base). A visit to the zoo involved hiring a wheelchair for me to push my mother around in (a glimps of the future perhaps). We finally managed to get a boat trip on Friday from Potter Heigham luckily it was a covered boat as we were hit by a storm during the ride. (We had been so lucky with the weather until then).

I thoroughly enjoyed everything (apart from the wasp sting) but what really made the holiday so good was just being totally relaxed and enjoying being with my sons (mother too but more especially my boys). It was really good to see them enjoying themselves and enjoying being together (not always on the computer/games console). I had many many cuddles with both ET and JA, not so much OJ (being nearly 19 hes far too grown up to have cuddles with his mummy).

It was very important to me that we had this holiday together. I very much doubt that it will ever happen again. Next year even if I have two of them I doubt I would have all three together again for a holiday. All our lives will have changed in the next 12 months. My one regret about this holiday is that DC was not with us but he has already branched out by going to USA with his friends. We have had sporadic contact with him as they progress from west to east coast (last we heard they were in Denver).

Now we are back home, back to realilty. There was a letter waiting for ET his pre joining course has been brought forward to 28th Sept. He has his train tickets, all he has to do is get a train to London Waterloo, find his way to London Liverpool Street then get a train to Bury St Edmunds. He has a choice of two trains to BSE one arrives at 18.32 the other at 20.50 (transport will collect him and others at 21.00) so he is faced with a choice, wait around for 2.5 hrs or get the later train with the risk his train could be late. Now I have no worries about him getting to or from London on his own it is the bit in the middle that is causing the crisis (mainly my mother in a panic). He has only ever been to London a couple of times and never alone. (mother is convinced he will be mugged). I now have a list of items he will need to have with him for these 4 days. I have just managed to get him some high leg black boots (no steel toe caps) with heel and ankle support from ebay. (hopefully he can get them broken in by the time he goes).

The month of September is looming up in front of me with all these changes and arrangements that need to be organised. I can see that come October I shall be exhausted. Between now and 4th (3rd really) I have to make sure JA has everything he needs for the new school year, I had asked their father to do this for him, he hasn' usual it is left to me. JA already has the biggest feet in the family (I only hope he doesn't keep growing too much). DC who returns from his trip on 11th will no doubt sleep for a couple of days while I try to get him organised for his move into University Halls on 19th. Whilst all this is happening I am trying to organise OJ ready for his move into Halls on 26th follwed by ET's adventure on 28th. (working full time all this time).

I have always believed that I am not the kind of mother who wraps her children in cotton wool. I have always given my children freedom (within reason and safety). I believe that although I have never had any control over my children I have managed to instill good manners and morals into them. I am often praised for how well spoken and behaved bright young men they are. However during this time of preparation it has hit me that I have not done such a great job. During our holiday we encouraged them to cook and clean etc (not out of laziness but for their own preparation to look after themelves). They can all cook (meaning heat up) food. But they cannot do the simplest of tasks without contantly asking how/where/when. Perhaps it is a boy thing they don't seem to be able to work things out or read instructions they have to be told step by step what to do.

I have always seen my boys as bright capable lads, now I see boys who have been molly coddled by their mother for far too long. Where I tried not to nag them too much, they don't seem able to think for themselves. Now I am worried that I have created mummies boys who might not manage without their mother telling them what to do every step of the way. I am not saying that I always do everything for them (I definitely don't) but I have always been there telling them what to do. If not in person then on the phone.

I don't know all the answers I don't always know what they need to do especially now that they are entering worlds that I have never been a part of. The rest of this year is going to be hard for them and for me, while they settle into their new lives and JA and I are left at home wondering why it is so quiet, worrying about our boys. I know they will each manage (they won't have a choice in that). Having two boys leaving the nest within a week of each other will be hard on us. Then if ET gets through his course (I have every confidence he will) then it won't be long before he joins the RAF properly and he will be gone too.

I love all my boys without exception, I couldn't possibly choose a favourite as they are all so different (my favourite is usually the one I am with at the time). I would never want to have not had any of them but I am not sure if I would ever want to go through motherhood again. When we are young we are warned that parenthood is not easy, there are no hard and fast rules but you never really understand just how hard it is being a mother until you have been through all the stages of your child's growing up (and I have been lucky to have an easy time of all my son's teen years).

Sunday, 30 August 2009

is it morning already

I have only been awake for 20 minutes, I can't believe I slept until 10am but I do think I deserved a lie in this morning. I have driven hundreds of miles in the last week, much of it in either slow traffic or on narrow winding country lanes. Although we took 2 cars to Norfolk we only used one during the week and I did 99% of the driving. Mother drove back from petrol station and took herself on a short drive with her camera on Thursday (practice for the long drive home on Saturday).

All week I was waking up between 6 and 6.30am (to glorious blue sky every day except one) yesterday I was busy packing by 6.30 and on my knees cleaning the floor by 8am (the carpet cleaner didn't work so I had to use a small 'soft' hand brush ~ not easy). Having left at 9am we finally arrived home at 3pm. I was hoping to have a sleep for an hour before preparing for a night out with my friends from work.

My car had been unpacked, the mouldy food left in the fridge thrown out and I was preparing to rest when I realised I couldn't find the hand bag I had used all week. I knew it was the last thing I had picked up along with my book (yes I actually read a book ~ first in ages) and keys. I had handed it to one of my sons when I got into the car. Now they all denied having it, I turned out all the remaining bits still in the back of it..............nothing just their rubbish. Eventually ?i found it ............pushed right under the passenger seat.

Time for my rest now while I contemplated what to wear for the party. I had invited Dylan but hadn't had a chance to tell him where or when so I tried calling him, his phone is switched off, switch on laptop and email him. My phone rings but it is my mum, she had passed a car like mine with an Rescue van on the motorway so she was checking that we had got home. (she had wanted to take her time driving home). She was out by our garages so I collected the few things that were in her car.

Now I can rest ..............I was just getting settled when mum rang again. Her foot had seized up as she drove away, she had managed to get herself parked up at our local shops so I had to walk up there and drive her home (keeping her car here over night). By the time I had unloaded her and her luggage, nipped to shops for food, I had one hour to bath, eat and dress ready to go out. It was when I had run the bath while my food was cooking and I was ironing my red skirt that I discovered we had no gas. My bath was freezing cold!!

JA went over the road to get some gas so I could finally have a warm bath, I was just about ready in time phew that took some doing but I hadn't had my sleep. So by the time I got home having had 4 drinks I was somewhat tired. I was nicely merry but not drunk as my boys were saying.......huh what do they know. So I have slept in this I have to tackle the washing and shopping. But first here are a couple of the many photos I took on our lovely holiday. Boys having fun on the sandy beach just yards from our caravan.
Meercat at Banham zoo
Paddle steamer on the broads at Hinkling

Saturday, 22 August 2009


off to sunny Norfolk for a week

Friday, 21 August 2009

Perfect 10

First things first............for those of you not on my face book .............important announcement.
A level result were out yesterday. But before the results were given to the students they were able to go online and find out whether they have got into the University of their choice. 6.50am OJ discovered that both his chosen Universities were offering him a place. So although I was waiting for it I still jumped when my phone buzzed to let me know I had a text.
Applied Maths A,
Further Maths A,
Law A
ICT B (A for his coursework though)
So all the hard work has paid off but now the harder work begins. He has accepted the place at University of Surrey (Guildford). With the results he got he will get an automatic scholarship of £4000 but not until March 2010.
Obviously his mother is extremely proud of her son.

I would have written this pot last night but I was out with Dylan. Sitting outside a bar overlooking a Marina close to the city. I had under estimated how cool it would be near the water so we moved inside the bar to a leather sofa for our second round of drinks. We chatted about all manner of things including this video which he hadn't expected me to know. Before we knew it the bar was empty of other customers (or at least the downstairs bar......there wa still noise emanating from the upper bar). It was 11.30pm already ........where does the time go?

We walked back to my car holding hands, a few kisses and cuddles before I drove away (no need to read between the lines, it was only a kiss and cuddle).

Monday, 17 August 2009

An Item

I was due to see Echo again on either 6th or 13th August but I wasn't sure if this was what I wanted. I do like him, he is a quiet and gentle man. But I wasn't sure if I wanted the kind of relationship where I would only see him occassionally and could only contact him by email. I decided that this was not a life I wanted so I emailed him to call an end to it. He was very gracious about it.

Last week I had two very different dates with two very different men. Tuesday was fish and chips eaten from the paper in a park half watching a cricket match as we chatted in the evening sun. Romantic? perhap it would have been with a different companion. don't get me wrong Wilf was well mannered, polite but spineless. He hasn't met anyone for years and was far too deferential for my liking. He kept telling me that I was in charge, all decisions were mine.

Next day it was a drink in a local pub with Dylan. We just sat talking for 3 hours until we were thrown out. Standing beside my car he hugged me and gave me a few kisses, nothing passionate but nice all the same. Being hugged by Dylan felt good. Later that night he emailed me saying that I am fabulous. (a few bonus points for that ;-D ). Next day he phoned me and during our chat suggested a walk along the beach on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday lunchtime I set out to meet Dylan at the agreed place 1pm beside the pyramids. But to my horror it was so jammed packed all long the seafront not a single space to park. Having circled the car park a few times I tried to phone Dylan, no answer. So I set off along the seafront away from the city until I found some spaces. Parking up I phoned Dylan again, still no answer, I text him to let him know where I was. Finally at 1.30 he called me he had driven home to pick up his phone!! Eventually just before 2pm we met up and began walking. Stopping briefly to buy drinks the wind whipping my hair around my face. Spotting an unoccupied bench we sat to consume our drinks. We chatted easily as we watched the world go by, both on the beach and far out to sea. Neither of us noticing how much time had passed until we realised it was 5pm already oooopps we both had parking tickets!! With Dylan leading the way I follwed him back towards the city and dinner at Pizza Hut.

Again we had to search for parking places. These found we walked hand in hand to the restaurant. After eating and paying the bill we continued chatting. When sometime later the waiter came over to ask if we were ok I thought he was going to ask us to leave but instead we were offered more drinks on the house. He asked if we were just out for a meal and a chat.

'we just got married'

'really, oh congratulations, really? you just got married, great'

'yes, show him your ring'

I flap my ringless hand in front of him

'we couldn't afford a ring'

'give her a ring from Haribo'


His face had been a picture before he realised it was a joke. By the time we left it was 8.30 and I was getting weary after a long day. I believe we are now officially an item, he has already had heated exchanges with another woman after he let her know he had 'met someone'.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

We just got married

Thats what he told the waiter at Pizza Hut. Poor lad even believed him at first

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Early morning start

It was only 5.15am when he shook me awake. I had insisted that he say goodbye before he went, I wanted to be awake when he left. It isn't that I am worried, I believe they will be safe and have a brilliant time. He will return with lots of tales to tell. It isn't that it would be the first time he has gone away. He has been going away without his mum for the last 10 years, first on tours with his football club then later with his band. But this time it is different, he will be in USA for 28 days just him and 2 mates. Although I have seen photos of them and their names have been mentioned many times over recent years I don't actually know either of them . When he returns he will only be here for a week before hes off again on his next big adventure. This time it will be 3 years of University. I know he will only be about 12 miles away but he won't be living at home, he will be back for visits but I don't expect them to be either frequent or long. So apart from that one week in September I feel that my blue eyed boy has left home. He has suddenly grown up, by Christmas I expect he will have changed a great deal.

Today I am not at work, I was supposed to be having a day out with Plumber, but at 7am this morning he told me that he can't make it. So I have spent my morning tracking the status of DC's flight to San Francisco, they became airborn at 11.44 not bad for an 11.30am flight. I have also been studying their very detailed schedule for the next 28 days. among other places they will be visiting San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Grand Canyon, Denver, Hot Springs, Chicago and Niagara Falls finally ending their trip in New York City. He has promised me that they won't do anything silly that will get them into trouble during their trip. This is where they will be staying for the next few nights.
I have had a couple of dates in the last few days which I will tell you about shortly. I was going to write about them now but I have to go out on family errands.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Saturday afternoon and everyone was at home. None of us had any plans to go out. Bolonese was simmering one of the working hot plates. I am trying to be more active by going for walks, and of course taking my camera phone with me. I need to get some photos of all my boys together, a rare occurrence these days. I don't like posed photos so what better than a family outing.
Duck watching

Waiting for mum to cross the stepping stones



Friday, 7 August 2009


Sometimes it feels as though I must have been very wicked in a previous life to have such bad luck in this one.

On Tuesday I had a phone call at work to say that the internet at home wasn't working. Our connection was not even showing on the list of available networks. It had been getting steadily worse for sometime dropping in and out of connection. I had promised that I would call our internet provider on Thursday (I had booked the day off on Thursday). But now I had no choice.

When I got home from work I prepared the evening meal (corned beef hash) before making the call to talktalk. Following the instructions from the operative I reconnected to the internet. So that was another problem solved. Time to finish cooking the dinner, I put a tray of chips in the oven for ET.

Next thing I know ET is telling me we have got a power cut, but the lights were still on. I climbed into the cupboard under the stairs where the fuse box lives along with the gas and electricity meters. The trip switch was down and wouldn't stay up. I phoned LV for advice. We worked out that it was the cooker that had blown the circuit. By switching off the cooker at the wall I was able to switch the rest of the circuit back on. It was lucky that most of the dinner was already cooked. This was one of those moment when I wonder why me? Just how bad was I in a previous life.

On wednesday I was alright as I was going out for dinner with Plumber. I was wracking my brains trying to figure out what my boys could have for their dinner. We decided on some frozen meals that I usually oven cook but that can be done in the microwave. However it turns out that after I had gone out they decided to walk to the local chip shop, stopping on the way to buy a pizza to go with their chips. It wasn't until they returned home that they realised that they couldn't cook the pizza!

During our meal at a newly refurbished and reopened (after a year) pub beside a river in an area renown for its watercress beds, I explained to plumber what had happened with my cooker. I am hoping that it might be a simple inexpensive job that he can do for me, but then I am still waiting for him to fix my shower for me (2 months after he said he would). If I could afford it I would get someone else to do it for me.

The setting for our meal was lovely, the pub is very spacious but each area is very intimate and interesting. The food was delicious although the menu was very limited ie 4 starters and 4 main courses. I would say that this place is well worth a visit if you are in the area. It was the first time I had been there but I gather from friends that it was very popular years ago but it went downhill and had a bad reputation for several years. Hopefully now that it is under new management it will become popular again.

Thursday morning I was woken by a tremendous crash of thunder and heavy rain so that was the end of my hopes for a warm sunny day off. I had a headache all morning which tablets didn't touch. In the afternoon I went shopping for microwavable food then called round to see my mother. By then it was raining steadily with no sign of letting up, but at least my headache was easing. Mother was excited because she had something for me, a free gift that had arrived with some stationary she had ordered. She opened the parcel and handed me a flat oblong box. Inside this box was stainless steel precision scales, (I had been talking about getting some digital scales) but these are not designed for the purpose I had in mind. There were more for weighing letters and parcels than people. Only my mother could have made such a mistake bless her.

I ended my day off by driving 34 miles to visit Forest. As always we had a very relaxing time kissing, making love and chatting. We discussed the problems I am having with my cooker and my shower. He suggested that I should switch the cooker on at the wall while the cooker is completely turned off, then one at a time turn each part on to see which parts of the cooker if any worked without tripping the fuse again. He also suggested that the solution to my problems with my shower could be a magnetic descaler on the in pipe. I now know that my oven and one hot plate still work. But since then the microwave has begun sparking and flashing so I wont let anyone use that! Luckily I was chatting to a friend about this and he has very kindly bought me a new microwave oven. It is things like that which remind me I am lucky to have such lovely friends.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

me and my camera

The sun came and went a few times this morning but the rain stayed away. I couldn't just stay in doors the next dry day I shall be at work. This week there is the annual 'Cowes week' I have never really taken a great deal of notice but my brother always tried to be there until a few years ago (he remarried 5 yrs ago so its probably about 7 yrs since he went). Yesterday when I went down to the beach it was almost deserted.....not suprising really with the insistent rain (insisting on getting anyone brave or foolish enough to venture out soaked). But today as I would my way along the country lane skirting the nature reserve I turned the corner to discover that the parking spaces lining the road beside the beach were all filled. There were families with picnics, couples with cameras some with tripods and zoom lenses, others were armed with binoclars.

Passing the sailing club with its full car park, all the spaces lining the lane a it rose above the beach were also taken. Finally I found a space in the car park at the far end of the village. The one where I have stood to watch the fireworks at the end of cowes week several times in the recent past. The place was packed with dog walkers, families picnicing either on the pebble beach or on the grass between the car park and the beach. I followed the pavement to the end then followed the beach towards the west heading in the direction of the sailing club. Stoping to take a few photographs. Looking out across the water towards Isle of Wight I could see hundreds of yachts with colourful sails but thousands of white sailed yachts and dingies.
After I had walked along the beach and back the sun had reappeared, it was lunch time so I headed off up to my favourite hill for a much needed and very rare burger and cup of tea. More photos with my new camera phone. Here are a few of the photos I took today.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

New Direction

This has been a better week, not great but better. I have been in a better place, knowing that although my case has not yet been resolved, it is going to be looked into. I might yet have to pay back every penny that I have allegedly been over paid. I don't know how anyone can be certain about the final figure. It seems to me that the TCO are incapable of consistently calculating the correct figures. How else could they come up with different figures on two consecutive days using the same information. I have finally received the dispute form that I to complete. I have read the accompanying booklet which explains in detail both their responsibilies and those of u mere mortal who believe they are there to help us afford to work. It is my belief that I have always given the correct information within the reqired time scales. Whenever I have received paperwork that I either didn't agree with or understand I was straight on the phone that same day. Anyway I feel so much better simply because I am not accepting that I have to pay this money. In the meantime I have increased my personal loan to give me soe breathing space. I got confirmation on Thursday that the loan has gone through.

The new old romance with Oxo that started up again so suddenly, ended just as quickly. Less than 72 hrs in total. I was pissed off at the way it ended but not overly bothered. On the evening of the day that that particular relationship ended I was already due to go out with some of the girls from work. A chat with forest involved a request to visit him after my evening out. 7.30pm I set off with PB on the short walk to our local Tandoori restaurant. I was wearing jeans and my Purple top with black beads on the shoulders. I decided to wear my black beaded shoes (a favourite pair that I have worn many times). But day in and day out for months I have worn open sandals, wearing y shoes with bare feet was a mistake. By the time we joined our friends (6 of us in all) my heels were blistered. We had a lovely evening, but by 9.45 we were all ready to go home. My feet were very sore so I ended up walking 2/3 of the way home bare foot. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered just how badly injured my heels were. I text Forest to let him know that I wouldn't be visiting him. I told him that my evening had been nice as had been the rum, wine and baileys that I had drunk. He was disapointed but agreed that I should not try to drive.

When my colleagues saw my poor cut heels I soon gained a new nickname........scabby cow (ok it was me who said it first).

I am not entirely sure how my thoughts progressed as I was driving home from work but I know I started off thinking that adult education classes start again in september and I really should do something (even if it mean asking my mother to pay for it for me ..not something I like to do). I could go back to creative writing classes, that would force me to do more writing but isn't exactly very active. I revived my contemplation of whether Belly dancing could be the way for me to go.....perhaps I could try a weekend session. I began thinking about doing something which would get me out of the house and meeting new people. Somewhere along the line I came up with an idea, one that had never occurred to me before. An idea that most of you will find unexpected if not a little odd. But if you knew more about my life growing up in Kent you might be less suprised.

When I got home I went online to find local clubs, there are about 8 within a few miles. I checked out a few of the websites, read about training coures. What each club has to offer, membership fees, club houses. I gathered that the various club houses are open on saturday and sunday lunchtimes and evenings as well as weekday evenings. They all have regular social events. They all encourage people to visit them to find out more. So having done a bit of homework I made a choice, I didn't discuss it with anyone, choosing to keep it to myself until I had been there. At lunch time today I parked in the small carpark beside the clubhouse, climbed the stairs to the small bar where I was welcomed by a very friendly bearded man. I told him I had come to have a look at them. That my family are growing up and it is now time for me to find a new interest. He asked me if I had done this before.

Not since I was a child

Not very long ago then

He seemed friendly, there were not too many people there, so I couldn't really get a feel for what they are like but reading through the most recent issue of the club magazine I think it could be good for me. Later I called round to see my mother and after a while I told her about my idea, he thinks I should do it.

I am still thinking about it, I don't know if I will do this, I might have to be extra nice to my mum, not that I am ever anything else.

Watch this space