Monday, 27 February 2012

The Prom Diaries, Part 4 ... The Calm Before the Storm.

The latest in a series, please see herehere and here for earlier despairings.

It's been a bit quiet on the Prom front recently, too quiet. I might have been tempted towards complacency, but I know the TeenTwins too well and I know TeenTwin 2 better than she knows herself.

She has been biding her time, arming herself and this weekend she dropped the bombshell.

"Muuuuum," she said (the longer they stretch the syllable, the worst is the request to come) "Muuuuuuuum, I've made us an appointment next Saturday at two o'clock at a bridal shop to look at prom dresses."

*OOF* A heavy blow, but she wasn't done.

*KAPOW* "They've got a new delivery in this week and NO ONE at school will have seen them yet."

*BLAM* "And can you tell Grandma so she will come too."
(And you've got to hand it to Grandma because when she was informed her presence was required, she sighed and asked if she should bring her bank card.)

TeenTwin 2 had been to the bridal shop on Saturday and mooched through the racks on display and when, with some trepidation, I asked what kind of prices this particular bridal shop might be charging, she blithely replied: "They didn't have price tags on."

"I bet they didn't," I muttered and stomped off for more mutterings and grumblings. I don't want to be in a bridal shop with my daughter while she tries on fouffy dresses.... That's supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime champagne and tears experience when she's an actual bride, not something to do for the, well let's face it, end of term school disco.

But TeenTwin 2 is not one to let her mother's prejudices get in the way of a good excuse for a big dress, she has a Plan B if Plan A fails to work. She has discovered a dress-maker who will make her a dress of her own devising for a "reasonable remuneration" and all we have to do is supply the material.

This might sound tempting to those uninitiated in the way of TeenTwin 2 but I know that in her head she sees herself in something not entirely unlike the pink wedding dress as worn by Katie Price at her wedding to Peter Andre. *Puts head in hands*

Not my actual daughter

Meanwhile TeenTwin 1 is failing to exhibit any interest at all in what she might wear. I fully expect her to turn round three days before the Big Day and wonder why she hasn't got something black, lacy, decorated with skulls and barely there to wear.
And then she's going to blame me. *Sigh*

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Freedom Fighting

The Third Girl has a new cause to fight for, one that rouses her passions and fires her temper ..... or at least the ten-year-old's version which is mostly stamping her foot and sticking her lip out. She is fighting for freedom which is, I'm sure you'll agree, an excellent cause and one that usually I wholeheartedly approve of...
      ... Except The Third Girl wants her own freedom. So this time, I'm not that keen on it to be honest.

Ten years old and she wants to fly the nest. Not forever and only as far as the local shop to begin with though the local shop is about 750 yards away across one of the city's busiest intersections. She would have to cross eight roads and only four of them have pelican crossings.

Her friend goes to the local shop so The Third Girl wants to exercise what is clearly her God given right to go to the shop too. Doesn't matter that her friend lives 500 yards closer to the shop or she only has to cross one quiet suburban street: "SHE goes to the shop ON HER OWN so WHY can't I?" *Foot stamp.*

And, clearly there is no reason why The Third Girl can't actually go to the shop. She has two legs, two eyes and has had a thorough and relentless grounding in road safety ("WAIT FOR THE GREEN MAN, WAIT"). She has crossed all the roads, accompanied, times beyond measure.

But ALL that way ON HER OWN when she's TEN. *Wrings hands with worry*

And I do worry. I worry she might get lost. That she might not get to the shop. That she might get lost in the shop. That she might be unaccountably distracted by something shiny. That she might not find her own way back. That she might never come back. I worry about who she might meet and who might talk to her, even if she won't talk to them after hearing the Do Not Talk To Strangers mantra since, well, forever.
Which, while I think about it, might make it awkward in the shop anyway.

She's going to continue being ten until late August and, thanks to the education system, in September she'll be walking the mile or so to the local Academy at 7.30 in the morning five times a week crossing a ridiculously un-pelican-ed, busy main road on the way (DESPITE the complaints *scowls at Wakefield Council in passing.*) AND she won't let me walk with her .... I've been there and done that and five years later, still bear the scars of ridicule with the mocking laughter of the TeenTwins ec-ec-ec-hoing in my ears.

We are going to have to let her out into the world on her own. Soon. Just to try it out. Not for long. Just for a bit. And venturing to the local shop will do for a start. Though I might draw a map and Daddy might follow her the first couple of times or so. Just to see she's alright. And I'll only be stood in the kitchen doorway with the police on speed dial and looking anxious because, well, because I will.

We'll just wait until the weather gets a bit better, shall we?

This post features in Follow a Newbie Friday

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I'm Not Naming Names But ....

New research, conducted by parenting website, reveals that over 50 per cent of parents grow to regret the names they give their newborn children.

At first reading this made me feel quite smug that I don't regret any of the names I chose for my own offspring ...until I remembered that unless that name is used in anger (when it's the full first, middle and last names at full volume) they rarely get called by their given names at home AT ALL.

The Gallery; Landscape

I'm joining in with The Gallery, hosted by Sticky Fingers. This week, the theme is Landscapes and this is mine


It was taken from Whitby Abbey, at the top of the famous 199 steps, looking towards the North Yorkshire Moors on a day when you could see for miles and miles and miles.

And this one was taken from the bridge you can see in the first picture looking back towards Whitby Abbey.


I love Whitby, I do :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Listography - 5 Things That Make Me Happy.

I'm joining in with Kate Takes 5 Listography this week which is 5 Things That Make Me Happy.... After completing the Firsts and 12 is a Magic Number memes, doing a 5 Things thing too just seems fitting. Although I'm not sure that my chosen five things are actually, technically, things.. so basically I'm cheating a bit.

1 The Man makes me happy.
I call him The Man because he is THE only man for me and I've done a fair bit of  *cough* research in that area in times past. We met 21 years ago in a dressing room while I tried to talk his band into playing for free at a festival. I was wearing The Basque, as you do when you want to get men to do something for nothing. It worked because the band did indeed play at the festival under lights and through equipment also there through the magical powers of The Basque. And indeed The Man was so impressed (bored) he turned up the following year to help out.
But a combination of life, other people and The Man's incredible dimness meant that we didn't "get together" as anything other than friends until the millennium by which time I'd had twin girls and yet another bad relationship. The Man picked me up, dusted me down and by loving me, made me love myself again.(You may reach for the sick bucket at this point, but it's still true).
We had our daughter, the Third Girl, in 2001 when he asked me to marry him. I didn't actually say yes until 2005 and we had a utterly, lovely wedding the day before the festival and spent the night dancing barefoot in the park to AC/DC in front of the empty stage which was, well, oddly romantic.
And 9 months later I had our second child, The Small Boy.
But, still, The Man makes me happy.

2 Teen Twin1 makes me happy.
My first born, by 16 minutes, and the only child I've given birth to I named the minute she was born. Now 16 years old, she's beautiful, talented, confident and *shush* ever so slightly scary. 
She writes, draws, sings and acts and she does them all with such insouciance it's slightly worrying what she might achieve. She is a giving child who creates the most beautiful of handmade gifts with a heap of paper, her imagination and, sometimes, a teabag.

3 Teen Twin2 makes me happy. 
My teeny, tiny baby ... she was 4lb 4oz, a lb and an oz lighter than her sister. She is ALSO beautiful, talented and confident, but not quite so scary. She is a heart on legs, caring, loving and in some ways more grown up than I could ever hope to be. In others, not so *looks pointedly at Jedward posters*
She is frighteningly academically bright and could not give two hoots that she is. She could be anything but mostly she wants to be herself and who can argue with that. 

4 The Third Girl makes me happy. 
The Third Girl's middle name is Faith which is what The Man and I decided to have in each other, instead of getting married, when she was born. She is the butterfly about to spread her wings, ready to make the metamorphosis from junior to secondary school in September and several years of black eyeliner and attitude *sigh*. But just at the minute, she flaps around being the child she is ... which is no bad thing.

And last, but, in no way at all, least:

5 The Small Boy, the unexpected wedding present, makes me happy. 
He makes me very happy. It makes me happy that he had a thorough grounding in shoe-shopping for the discerning woman before he left the pushchair and that he'll always understand the importance of pretty shoes.
It makes me happy when we snuggle up on the sofa watching Dr Who AGAIN and he explains the complicated bits, sometimes with diagrams. And oddly enough, it makes me happy when at 3 o'clock or at 4 o'clock or at 5 o'clock, he inelegantly clambers into bed to tell me something that could wait until the morning, or the next day or just never.

Five Things

OK so none of them make me happy all the time (because that would be quite impossible) but they do make me happy always. Which will do.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

12 is a Magic Number - Meme

I have been tagged by the extraordinarily delightful @AlwaysARedhead, who blogs here, in a meme of 12 things so without further ado here are the rules:

The Rules
1) You must post the rules.
2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post
3) Answer the questions the tagger has set you in her post and then create 12 new questions for the fellow bloggers you plan to tag
4) Tag 12 people and link them to your blog
5) Let them know you've tagged them.

12 Fun Facts About Me

In 1991, I co-founded a free live music festival in my home city AND it's still an annual event .... though I just turn up and smile at people these days :)

As a student, I had a summer job selling ice-cream from a hard-cart outside York Railway Station and managed to give away more ice-cream than I sold .. for which I got fired :/

I played Johanna in "Sweeney Todd, The Musical" at school and the drama teacher removed all her songs from the show after hearing me sing.

I love Thomas the Tank Engine Brio trains more than is respectable for a grown woman. I've collected nearly all of them under the guise of mothering the Small Boy but, really, they're mine. All mine *maniacal laugh*

I have danced naked in the fountain outside York Art Gallery (but not recently).

I was an extra in the Hollywood (non) blockbuster movie "Bert Rigby, You're a Fool" starring Robert Lindsay but as I've never seen the film (like most of the known world apparently) I don't know if I was left on the cutting room floor.

I have (at varying times) kissed Bob Geldof, sat on Ian Gillan's knee, got Noddy Holder to give me a fiver and been in a dressing room with Take That (before they were famous).

Prince Charles once asked me if I was enjoying myself. I wasn't, but I said I was anyway.

I have been stood on by a horse.

I was third in a Little Miss Butlins competition in1968. I would have been first, according to my mum, but I had mumps.

I've read everything EVER written by all the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen, Charles Dickens AND Thomas Hardy. EVEN all the juvenilia and poems. So there.

I had a knife held to my throat on the ferry between Harwich and Rotterdam.

The 12 Questions Asked by @AlwaysARedhead

1. Favourite movie? I always say that my favourite film is It's A Wonderful Life," but, probably, - on the basis of watching it again and again and again - it should be something like a "Die Hard" starring Bruce Willis or "The Polar Express." *sigh*

2. What is the last thing you ate? Peanuts, salted ones. By the handful. I do that a lot.

3. Where was your first kiss? I WOULD like to say "on the lips" but it was more the "bottom half of my face." *fights off flashback to attack of the slobber*

4. If you could be any actor, who would that be? Elizabeth Taylor .. horse-riding, screaming drunkenly, being Cleopatra, Richard Burton AND diamonds? Really, who wouldn't want to be?

5. Twitter or Facebook? I love Twitter. I love Facebook. End of.

6. Do you prefer camping or a 5-star hotel? I went camping once when I was in the Girl Guides. It was cold, it rained and they burned the sausages. I assume it must have improved since then.

7. Your favourite sandwich? There isn't much in the world that can't be improved by the judicious application of bread. There really are too many excellent sandwiches to choose just one - chips, bacon, sausage, cheese and pickle, BLT, prawn mayonnaise, ham salad, cucumber, chicken salad, egg mayonnaise, crisps. I CANNOT decide. *wanders off to make a sandwich*

8. Would you like to travel in space? Only with Dr Who (David Tennant or Matt Smith. Doesn't really matter).

9. Ride on a roller coaster or watch? Don't do going up and down. Don't mind going round and round so I'll be over there on the Waltzer when you've finished.

10. Where would you like to visit? Everywhere I've never been and some of the places I already have.

11. What is your favourite television show? I can recite-a-long with all of "Blackadder" and every series of "Red Dwarf" but favourite ever show?  "Life On Mars" definitely (maybe).

12. When is the last time you handwrote a letter to someone? Rather unexcitingly that was probably the last time I had to do a "Dear Miss Sports Teacher, Please excuse... " letter. *shakes head sadly*

And these are the 12 Questions I want to ask those I tag.
1. What is your favourite book?
2. If you were a Muppet, which Muppet would you be?
3. What is your favourite joke?
4. What is your favourite form of transport?
5. If you were an instrument, which instrument would you be?
6. What was the first single/CD you bought?
7. Do you have a tattoo?
8. Where would you time-travel to?
9. What's your favourite flower?
10. What was your nickname at school?
11. What's your favourite euphemism for "parts that are private"?
12. What would you like your epitaph to be?

Phew *wipes brow* ... and now I tag (and not 12 because that really asking too much) ... @motherventing, @MarcisShadow @FrancesPringle @SnooandMe  @MinistryOfMum @madyline

*Shouts "You're it!"*
*Runs away.*

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Half Term. Half Cut.

If drowning your sorrows in drink were an Olympic sport, then half term is the intensive training session that makes you go that extra yard (of ale). *Sigh.*

And it's not just drowning sorrows, there's the aggravation, the annoyance, the need to drown out the voices in your head ... though they rather unfortunately turn out to belong to a real life child. Yes that one, the one tugging at your sleeve 307 TIMES A MINUTE and constantly repeating "Mummy, can I have..." "Mummy, can I have..." "Mummy, can I have..." And the inner scream....*whispers*... which is you.

And a week long half term in February is ABSOLUTELY the worst holidaying-for-pleasure idea in the entire world. Oh, it seems tempting enough... lurking, half-dressed, at the end of a six week slog of early mornings and uniform wrangling. But do not be deceived.

A week is just NOT enough time to even reclaim a child's mind from the school routine so they still get up irresponsibly early even while you're dribbling on your pillow hoarsely whispering "But it's the holidays..."

And they hang around making the house look untidy, creating endless washing while apparently never changing out of their pyjamas. HOW DO THEY DO THAT?

AND it's too cold to leave the house.... You know this because every time you try to take them somewhere in pursuit of a holiday adventure (because YOU NEVER LEARN) ...  they complain that they're cold. They're right, it's cold. No flies on them.

Actual seaside actually today

And while admiring the grey sky and the grey sea and the entirely grey buildings of an out-of-season beach side resort....  Just when you're wondering about being home, in the warm, with a HOT cup of tea (immediately followed by a very cold gin and tonic), there's a tug of the sleeve: "Are we going home yet?"

As if you WANTED to be at the seaside in the middle of the week in February.

I might at this point mention: Today we went to the seaside. Don't ask.

*Opens gin*

*Glugs gin*

Monday, 13 February 2012

Firsts - Meme

I have been tagged in this meme by the glorious Him Up North who is responsible for the equally glorious Blog Up North so without further ado or faffing about, here goes:

First Kiss? 
There must have been quite a lot of kisses because the game of choice at junior school was always Kiss Chase (or Run After The Boys Until They Give In). I can't remember ever catching anyone or any kissing, but I was the tallest in the school; perhaps they hid under something :(
But I do remember one kiss from when I was maybe 13 or so and that's because it was THE WORST KISS EVER .. wet, soggy, damp and quite the most unattractive thing one person can do to another without resorting to weapons. Sat on the hill at school at lunchtime and this boy, previously presumed by me to be attractive, lunged lipward.
It seemed to go on for hours and hours and HOURS. I think he may have mistaken my frantic wriggling to escape from the deluge of spittle as excitement because he would not give up. Eventually he came up for air and I escaped but he mistook that for maidenly winsomeness and followed me around for weeks possibly hoping for another session.
There never was one and, if he's reading this, THERE NEVER WILL BE.

First Guy I Slept With?
I've never slept with a Guy. Or a Brian or a Derek or a Rupert for that matter. *tuts*

First Time I Fainted?
I don't think I have EVER fainted. Is that unwomanly of me? Sorry, I think it something to do with being Made in Yorkshire, we can't be shocked and we never want to miss what happens next :)

First Time I Left Home?
The very first time I left home, I made it 200 yards from home and sat and sulked for a good 10 minutes then my parents came to find me and begged me to go back home. I was 9. 
The next time was probably when I went to college at 18. My parents didn't beg me to come home that time. They sold the house and moved.

First Video I Ever Rented?
This was more a collective effort when my Aunt and Uncle went away leaving my cousin home alone so OF COURSE we went and rented an array of unsuitable videos including The Exorcist and The Hills Have Eyes. I still have nightmares about the scene in The Hills Have Eyes where a man's stomach explodes and I've never watched a horror movie since unless you count "Toy Story 3" *cries behind sofa*

First Word I Spoke?
I have absolutely no idea though it's quite likely to have been "Pass me the gin" :)

And now in the grand tradition of memes, I tag YOU *points* - Go on, share yourself :)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Letting Go and Holding On

"All the art in living lies in a fine art of mingling letting go and holding on."
Havelock Ellis

It's a delicate juggling act bringing up teenagers. Juggling WHILE walking on a tightrope, WITH a blindfold on.

Teenagers have opinions and ideas. They are mostly of the opinion that they know everything and you, addled parent that you are, know nothing. And their idea is that they should be able to do anything they want to do particularly when they're 16 when it's legal to drive tractors and buy lottery tickets and get tattoos and/or married (with parental permission of course).

Happily the Teen Twins, although thoroughly infested with opinions and ideas, are not bad teenagers as teenagers go. I know this, because I say "but they're not bad teenagers as teenagers go" quite a lot. To The Man, to friends, to my mother.... Mostly because they are in no way as bad as the teenager that I used to be so it must be true.

I was (still am) a "protective" mother, some might say "over-protective" *scowls at anyone who would say that* but the definition of protective is: "Having or showing a strong wish to keep someone or something safe from harm." I don't think being protective is a bad thing or odd. It's what parents do, they protect their young. It's what we're for.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Rights of Grandparents (And The Wrongs)

This week the Government are encouraging separated families to take into account grandparents' access to grandchildren when couples divorce - See this article in The Daily Telegraph on Monday.

Which is all well and good, but will they give the right to children to maintain contact with their grandparents when it's the grandparents who won't maintain contact? Ha, I hear you say, is there such a thing as a disinterested grandparent.

Well, yes there is.

The twin's father and I separated and divorced when they were four years old. I wouldn't say it was a particularly acrimonious divorce as in we didn't fight over who got what or access to the girls and we've maintained a "reasonable" (i.e. I no longer call him a twat or a prick, at least not to his face) relationship for the sake of the girls.

And we've all muddled along these past 12 years fine enough. I KNOW I was right to get out of that marriage when I did and not one thing has happened since to do anything but reinforce what was, at the time, a momentous, frightening and life-changing decision that frankly not a lot of my family or friends understood.

All well and good. The twins see their father regularly, I never mention money and he pays the pitiful child support that was worked out in 1999, neither more nor less.

But since 1999, well 1998 to be more exact, the twins have seen their paternal grandfather and his wife once or twice and not at all in the past five years. Not once has he sent a birthday or Christmas card or present to either of them in the past 12 years.

The message has been clearly spelled out to the twins that they are of no interest to him at all and, now at 16, they are beginning to ask questions. Not least I suspect because they are aware he is really, rather rich and well, they ARE 16 year old girls with a university education to get through *sigh.*  But they're questions that I can't answer and their father, apparently, won't.

And what makes this all the more ironic, is that my former father-in-law was (and might still be for all I can discover) a Family Court judge ... just exactly that kind of judge who's supposed to encourage parents to consider grandparents taking a role in their children's lives.

And I would never had said no to him seeing the girls at all if he had made contact in the past 12 years, which he never has, though we still live at the same address. Not even if, as I believe, he has become estranged from his son. I was estranged from his son myself, so we'd even have something in common.

But don't go feeling sorry for us because we do have an abundance of grandparents .. my own mum and dad who worship the ground the twins have crawled across, toddled on and now stride along in unsuitable shoes. And my second husband's family with four grandparents who took the twins to their hearts on first meeting and have never let go.

So here's a message for His Honour the Judge, though I doubt he will ever read this or care if he did, YOU are the one that is missing out because your grandchildren are just perfect; beautiful, bright, straight A students - and NONE of that is down to you. *Sticks thumb on end of nose and waggles it.*

*And breathe*

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Strange Case of Dr Best Boy and Mr Other One

I have two sons it seems. Oh, they look the same and speak the same, they're the same age and they have the same name. They have the same weaknesses for white chocolate and Dr Who, but there IS clearly two of them.

The first one I like. He's ace, definitely the Best Boy. I don't see much of him though apart from bedtimes and special occasions and holidays. He's mostly at school where the teachers think of  him as a "poppet," ruffle his curly head and award him gold stars.

They must like the first one so much that they do some kind of sneaky exchange when I collect him because I definitely get to take the second-best one home with me.

The naughty Other One who -while waiting for his sister to come out of school - will lap the playground throwing mud or pebbles or, like today, hardened ice-balls of snow with gleeful in-discrimination of where they might land.

The Other One makes his best friend cry with a over-exuberant belly-bump and then sulkily - and untruthfully - claims: "But he did it first."

The Other One is up and down the stairs like a yo-yo for hours after going to bed and has to be surgically removed from the mattress in the morning.

The Other One argues and shouts and stamps when he doesn't get his own way and storms off to his (or is it their) bedroom to sulk under the duvet.

The Other One makes me wish the ground would open up and swallow me whole, sometimes out of sheer embarrassment. Sometimes, just to escape.

Spot the Difference

The Best Boy deals with the Other One in his own special way though, when I'm at the end of patience and he's at the edge of contrition.

"I'll just put the other me, the naughty me, in a cupboard now," says the Best Boy leaving the room. And though it is very, VERY hard to tell the difference from the outside, it's the Best Boy who returns for hugs and cuddles and an episode of Dr Who snuggled on the sofa.

He always tells me how sorry the Other One feels sat in his cupboard though because he's kind like that.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

It's Snow Joke, Becoming Brave

There has been an odd side effect to having The Small Boy, I have become brave ... really I have. Or at least braver than I was.

I famously DO NOT DO snow, I hate snow.. and frost and slush and anything that might be slippy and unpredictable under foot. Partially it's because I fell down a ski-run when I was a teenager (like you do) and because the fear of heights I've had since I was a child is, technically, also a fear of falling.

Heights are usually quite easy to avoid .. don't climb on chairs or up the Pont Du Gard (which I did once and ended up vomiting on a French teacher who will probably be a little bit more understanding next time a pupil says she has Vertigo).

Oh, and don't stand on the edge of anything .. like high curbstones, for example (yes really). Snow can also be avoided by the clever expedient of just not leaving the house.

Now it has snowed again, you might have noticed, but for the first time in, well, years I haven't spent the usual amount of hours uselessly panicking about it. In fact, I and The Small Boy dressed in our woollies and wellies and WENT FOR A WALK on our own in the snow, while it snowed. No, I'm not quite sure I believe it either.

Footpath to Mallyan Spout

And from where comes this new fearlessness? I'm putting it down to surviving the family's very own "127 Hours" moment, thankfully without loss of a limb, during our last holiday. North Yorkshire during an unseasonably sunny October and a trip to the renowned beauty spot, Mallyan Spout near Goathland. Totally unequipped we envisaged a pleasant stroll, a jolly look at a pretty waterfall and a happy wander home.

Ha, HA .... the walk started well right up until the point we realised to get to the pretty waterfall we had to clamber over wet slippy rocks. I didn't want to climb over those rocks and so an advance party of three pressed ahead leaving me, Teen Twin 1 and the Third Girl all absolutely sure the best course of action would be to turn right round and head back the way we'd come.

The path to Mallyan Spout North Yorkshire Moors
The advance party

The advance party came back and encouraged us to go on. The waterfall was spectacular they said, the rock clambering not too bad. It would be worth it. So on we went, even though I was apparently transporting half a dozen angry moths in my stomach as well as a huge cannonball in my throat. I managed by cunning dint of clinging on to The Man and shutting my eyes during the dangerous bits.

Mallyan Spout
Pretty waterfall
And we got to the waterfall, and lo, it was very pretty but frankly not worth the trauma of getting there and there wasn't ANYWAY that I was going to go back the way we'd come AT ALL. My legs were still like vibrating violin strings. We would just go on, along the river bank. It couldn't be ANY worse than we'd already endured, right?


Steep, muddy, slippy with lots of edges, and depths, and heights and improbable wooden steps leading further and further up sheer banks of tussocky grass and puddles of mud eventually, after literally hours of senseless wanderings, ending in an almost vertical climb up a hill on the most ridiculously inadequate steps ever. It was nightmare made real, the stuff of horror and terror and really bad things.

The path to Mallyan Spout

I clung on to The Small Boy ostensibly to take care of him, while daddy coaxed and clucked after the girls. But at some point in this journey through hell it soon became clear that The Small Boy was taking more care of me than the other way round. "You alright mummy?" he'd ask. "It's alright. I'll look after you," he'd say.
He was my little hero, utterly unfazed by a great adventure and positively joyous that he was looking after me for a change.

Eventually we reached civilisation again or at least an empty road and land flat enough to stand on without spiraling dizziness, lurching fear and suppressed screaming.

Phew and thank f*ck.

But having faced my most feared fears and survived, I don't feel quite so incapable of dealing with the little things - like a bit of snow - anymore. Hence striding out into the weather yesterday and of course I took The Small Boy .... because he makes me just that little bit braver than I really am.

Boy in snow

Though we won't be going back to Mallyan Spout anytime soon, thanks.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Prom Diaries, Part 3.

(The third in a series, you might like to see here and here for earlier despairings)

The Prom is five months away ... FIVE whole months away. But Teen Twin2 is already having a big what-to-wear panic only matched by my how-to-pay-for-what-she-wants-to-wear panic.

She's already been on lengthy shopping trips and tried on several (hundred) dresses. I can only be thankful that she is so hard to please that she has yet to find THE dress. There's been nearly dresses and some nearly-there dresses but they're either not sequinned enough or sparkly enough or have the right amount of 'zhush' in the skirt.

Twin in a failed Prom dress
A failed Prom Dress 

Everyone else has already got a dress apparently ... which is clearly untrue because Teen Twin1 hasn't got her's yet though she's got her eye on a short black number with a tasteful skull pattern *deep sigh.*

No, declares Teen Twin2, EVERYONE else has got a dress and some have had them for more than a year. Which just makes me think: "Well, that's going to be so last year" .... and then I have to go and reprove myself for unnecessary bitchiness towards 16 year old girls.

And tonight, on the phone, Grandma mentioned shoes. SHOES ... I hadn't even thought of shoes though Teen Twin2 assures me she would be perfectly happy to wear her slippers because she's going for a long dress so no-one will see them, right, AND she'll be comfy too. *Reaches for headache pills*

Teen Twin1 probably wants a brand new pair of Dr Martens. I do hope (don't) they make them with a tasteful skull pattern. *Knocks headache pills back with gin*

"And the good news is Mum," *deep breath* "Is the transport is sorted," *big smile* "And it's only going to cost £40," *moves quickly towards door* "Each."

Aaaaargh *glugs from bottle*

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Furthering Education

Two applications for the Academy Sixth Form completed and submitted. Well, I say submitted, they had to be sent on-line so they're probably lost for all eternity like most of the e-mails that I've sent to the place over the past few years that no-one EVER remembers receiving, reading or acting on.

I'm not going to let it worry me though because in the Teen Twins' Sixth Form interviews, the deputy vice principal definitely said "I wouldn't worry about getting in" when asked about what happened next. Though he may have genuinely meant HE really wouldn't worry about it if they didn't get in ... Mmm *nervously chews fingers.*

Students also  have to be adept at tackling origami
to get into the Quick Start Guide
We'd not been worried about it BEFORE he said that though. The Teen Twins never imagined they would be going anywhere else. They certainly have no plans or ambitions to leave just yet and for the past five years they've been going to the school, the idea that they would be going straight into that school's Sixth Form has just been what IS going to happen next.

It certainly never occurred to them that they might not get in. Now, of course, it's become a worry and will probably continue to be a worry until we get a letter saying that they ARE in. So, thanks for that Mr Vice Principal.

The application process to get into the Sixth Form has come as a bit of a shock to us all to be honest. I don't remember the process being so convoluted or as formal as it is now. As I remember it, my parents went and made some kind of bet with the Head of Upper School who said he'd let me into the Sixth Form if I passed the five O levels (O levels were what we had a long time ago when exam qualifications were real exam qualifications) that I was still sitting after a 5th year spent, er, not doing any schoolwork. I did and he did and that was it, basically.

But not any more. We've attended an Open Evening which involved trawling around all the departments that I'd trawled around five years earlier when choosing the damn school in the first place but there were some teachers to meet, which was a novelty. (The Academy mostly keep parents as far away from the teachers as possible apart from the once-a-term visit to their form tutor who has never taught your child anything but how to say "Here, Miss" when their name is called out).

Then there were the interviews... The interviews at 9.30am with the deputy vice principal. The interviews I was apprised of the night before, the night when we'd been on a rare night out to the pub with visiting family. The night when the visiting family had come back after the pub and carried on drinking because it's not often you get to catch up with family when it usually lives in America. That night when the Teen Twins said they REALLY wanted me to be at those interviews...

And the interviews went well I think ( I was concentrating on looking supportive without sliding off the chair) and I managed to laugh politely when he said how hard it must be to tell the Teen Twins apart. And I didn't point out that they were non-identical and one of them had green hair either *proud face.* And he DID say that thing about not worrying about getting in.

And last, but certainly not least, has been the completing of the on-line application form listing all previous exam results, predicted grades in current subjects, interests, hobbies, achievements, disabilities, abilities and subjects that they would LIKE to study at A level - Teen Twin1 going for English Literature, Maths, Art, and Psychology, Twin2 for English Literature, Maths, Acting, and Textiles - but are not necessarily guaranteed to end up studying anyway. I've filled in less thorough job applications.

So, now, we wait and I shall spend the intervening time idly wondering why they STILL call it Sixth Form when the current pupils know it as Years 12 and 13. Bit confusing for them don't you think?

*crosses arms, taps feet, waits*

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