Sunday, 26 December 2010

Is it over yet? How many more sleeps 'til normality resumes?

I have survived. Another Christmas done and dusted and not a turkey in sight in the LCM household. (We had lamb. Slow cooked on the bar-be-que with herbs and spices, just in case you thought I had turned vegetarian). 

I even managed a morning festive run, although it was more a case of 'Slip Sliding Away' than 'Chariots of Fire' given the amount of ice around. Certainly it was nothing like this:

Once upon a time in Spain, 'twas sweltering...

Presents opened, food eaten, wine drunk, Queen's speech avoided (I heard it was topical and she spoke of sport... Isn't that a bit like a teetotaller extolling the virtues of a hot toddie to cure flu?), children dispatched with an assortment of Zu Zu pets that have kept them entertained for hours. Yes, HOURS. Possibly, if not definitely, the best ever £7.50 spent on any single non-pet pet ever. Times the number of 'animals' by three, throw in a hamster funhouse - which I initially resisted as it cost a ridiculous sum for what is essentially nasty cheap plastic, possibly made from the left-overs of surgery gone wrong á la Felicity Kendal, Cher or Joan Rivers - and voilá, entertainment for the little people.

And no, this is not a sponsored post. Although if the makers of the cute little battery-operated pseudo-hamsters would like to send some additional gadgets, the cherubs would be most receptive. As would their mother.

So. Now just to deal with additional relatives flying in tonight, more food and cooking and cleaning and eating and drinking and everything else that comes with it (read: laundry), throw in a couple more parties, a child's birthday, a few more runs to clear the cobwebs and keep the calories under control, and then - and only then - I may be able to get back to the peace and quiet... of the office.


And you?


Sunday, 19 December 2010

How a week's worth of Xmas parties ended with some confusion. Not mine.

It would appear that I have seriously lapsed on the blog writing front. Well, not totally as the other one continues to pootle along nicely, complete with blessing from current employer ("don't go changing anything" to quote my new boss - I felt like breaking in to song, and not of the carol variety). What a change from previous circumstances.

Anyway, I digress. I have been very busy of course. Work first, laundry second, children somewhere in the midst and then that other calamity that befalls everyone this time of year.

The Christmas party.

Now I cannot make claims akin to those of other mothers who manage to drink, get drunk, fall over and then bounce back the following morning. Presumeably with make-up removed and dignity still intact.

I am a lightweight drinker, even more so since the arrival of the kids. One glass of wine and I am already regretting the imaginary hangover and reaching for the water jug. The upside (for OH) is that I am happy to be the designated driver - although with recent black ice and snowy conditions he was not quite as buoyed by the idea as usual - but the downside is that I turn into Mary Whitehouse and start to tut-tut at everything around me.

So. This past week saw LCM attending: a corporate drinks and canapés event at the Dorchester Hotel; a school mum's Secret Santa party with fifteen other mothers; the office Christmas lunch in west London; and last - but not least - my former rowing club's annual dinner.

The latter was the icing on the cake, if for no other reason than my lovely friend Lady P was also there. Guaranteed laughter (us) and ticking off (by our respective OHs) as she too is a pretty useless drinker and likewise attached to the water jug. If I am Mary Whitehouse when solo, the two of us together morph in to Trinny and Susannah, complete with inappropriate comments.

An addendum here: I do actually possess a photo of Lady P pre-children of her asleep under a restaurant table due to excessive alcohol consumption. She was carted off home over my OH's shoulder (who seemed to think he had morphed into a fireman for the night) and almost had a brutal awakening when he stumbled down a step. Fortunately she lived to (not) tell the tale. But has also forsaken alcohol since.

So just for the record can I state that we were very well behaved throughout the entire event? I even managed courteous conversation with the most tedious woman this side of, uhm, well, anywhere, I think. My facial muscles ached from all the smiling (and I will kill whoever did the seating plan though when I eventually hunt them down).


Until one of the coaches stood up to make a speech and my mouth dropped open. I looked alarmingly at Lady P.

"Has he been ill?" I asked.

"No," she replied.

"Does he need a Strepsil?" I queried.

"No, he always sounds like that," she answered, and promptly collapsed into a fit of giggles.

I was too stunned to comment any further. It bugged me for the rest of the evening, and when the poor fellow later cornered us in the bar area for a chat, I again was speechless. And then it struck me.

This was Marge Simpson on steroids.
Don't believe me? Listen here (and if you cannot, use your imagination, and no he is not using a voice-distorting microphone):

Now, if he were my coach I would be too distracted to focus on my rowing. Probably just as well I have retired from the competitive circuit.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, I was then approached by another (older) member of the club, all smiles and kisses.

"Marilyn! How are you?" 

Honestly. Never realised not drinking would see me morph into la Monroe.


Saturday, 11 December 2010

One more for the road

Today I finally capitulated.

After three months (probably more, I lose count) of nagging by my erstwhile training partner BB, I have actually purchased a turbo trainer.

A what? I hear you say.

A. Turbo. Trainer.

A thingy with grips and bolts and stuff that you stick the back wheel of your bike in to. Or something like that. Instant static bicycle transformation. Amazing. Who cares what the weather is doing?

Here's a photo for your delectation, just in case you thought I was going halves in another car.

Ooooh yeah baby! Where do I plug you in?
Whaddaya think? Good gadget? Useful entertainment? Justified substitute for hours otherwise spent watching crappy TV shows at night? *

Because, you see, being back in gainful employment once more means not only do I have less time to blog/tweet/write next chapter in the never-ending novel/read entertaining posts, but also, far more importantly, I have fallen w a a a a a a y y y behind with any training. Not good.

So a turbo trainer it is.

Be prepared now for the 'new' LCM approach to keeping things on track.

  • Laundry - watching machine gyrations can provide endless entertainment, especially whilst trying to keep in time with rotations as you aim for maximum pedal power
  • Homework - a radical new tactic for getting the kids to learn their timetables: "If mummy has a cadence of 90 for 5 minutes, how many kilometers has she ridden in an hour?" (Answer: does it matter, she will still feel like shit)
  • Conference calls - "LCM can you slow down please when you are talking? You are coming across rather breathless and it is a tad unnerving..." 
  • Online grocery shopping - WTF am I supposed to do with 55 courgettes? Damn, I knew typing and pedalling at the same time was a mistake
  • Cooking - you're kidding me, right?
And of course, in the best festive spirit I am disguising this new purchase and will be giving it to OH as his Xmas present.

At least if it does not get maximum usage I will not feel as guilty.

* aside from The Apprentice, of course. That is compulsive viewing and better than any comedy series of late.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

'Tis that time of year again for the ghastly circular letter, rehashed. Are you ready?

Last year I wrote this. It was so appropriate, I thought worthy of a re-hash. Only marginally edited.

Dear All,

What a year it has been, I barely know where to start. I am about to embark on a rant of tumultuous proportions and random one-up-manship, so look away now if you do not wish to feel inferior in any way.

The year started off with great flair. The darling children had settled in so well at school and were making excellent progress, showing great promise and receiving much praise from their teachers and peers. I am enduring round three, yes, THREE of Kipper and Chip and Biff in those bloody early reading books. I will personally throttle the author if I can ever figure out who it is. And the illustrator while I'm at it.

We took a much needed holiday in early spring to enjoy a new travel experience in the magnificent country of Brazil. The exotic location was glorious, the locals incredibly friendly, and our Portuguese language skills improved daily. The children made easy friendships on the beach and were utterly charming to all, endearing themselves to all who met them. How sweet is that considering their young age? Two words: ash cloud. And another two (swear words): British Airways. 

Work has been eventful and full of surprises. After redundancy and a lengthy spate of consulting work, I have found a fabulous position through networking close business links and am relishing the challenge of this amazing new job. The Paranoid Former Employer was a pain in the f*cking arse and good riddance to them. Am sure I am not the only person laughing as their share price tanks and other senior figures jump ship and dish the dirt. Bwah ha ha ha ha ha... *regains composure*

We returned to that delightful abode of years gone by in Spain during the summer months and spent endless days soaking up the atmosphere, watching the children play in the pool and relaxing in the glorious surroundings. It was indeed the epitomy of true bliss.  I shouted myself hoarse and spent far too much time doing laundry to ensure we all had some semblance of clean clothes to wear. I came home to have a proper rest.

We have had many wonderful visitors this year, regaling us with all their travel stories and making our weekends so plentiful as they filled our home with laughter and brought generous gifts from lands afar. We always look forward to receiving everyone when they are in town, no matter how brief a visit. What else are friends for? What else indeed? Flippin' bloody cooking and cleaning and endless tourist visits to places packed with people I cannot stand. What is wrong with you lot? Ever heard of a hotel? I am not a free guesthouse.Or restaurant for that matter.

So as the year draws to a close we reflect on our good fortune and hope that 2011 will see you all blessed as we have been. As ever, we will catch up with you in person once the festivities are over and we have had time to adjust to the start of a new year ahead. I am still here. So is the spouse. We are still talking, albeit not on a regular basis. Why the hell you should think we would want to see you now when we have managed to avoid you for the past year is beyond me. But hey, hope springs eternal. Plus mother always told me to be polite.

With much love and best wishes from us all, I wrote this, no-one else had any input, not that you would notice,



Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rehashing the oldies but goodies

I was thinking - as you do - about past posts and how much has changed over the last year or so in my (working) life. 
In light of developments at the time, I had to remove some posts from the blog under threat of libel and slander and heaven-knows-whatever-else from the Paranoid Former Employer (PFE). It is a long and very boring story... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry. Dozed off for a minute there.

What I will do however is re-publish this post as even given the context under which it was written, it is still amusing.

Even if I say so myself.

Et voilá. Enjoy.

A step-by-step guide as to how to interpret corporate communications that (may) have a direct impact on your livelihood.

1. Warning of possible redundancy

- official meaning (and I quote here): "In light of the current corporate climate, and in accordance with standards of good corporate governance and the more general legal responsibilities to the shareholders, a management review of B'Stard Company's product performance, structure, size and employees has been ongoing. On the basis of this general review, excessive staff capacity has been discovered (discovered? what the f*ck were they doing? crossing the desert on camels and running out of water? Ed.) within certain departments of B'Stard Company and certain positions have been identified as redundant."
- true meaning: hey sucker, guess what? We had a poll and you drew the short straw, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha lol (cue lots of high fives and slapping on backs by powers that be)

2. What has led to this situation

- official meaning (again, quoted): "As there have been structural changes within Whoopee, part of B'Stard Company, there have been positions within The Dept of Fun identified as being eliminated. We, therefore, are writing to warn you that your position has been identified as at risk of redundancy."
- true meaning: we cannot find a real reason to get rid of you so we are making one up

3. Our commitment to you

- official meaning: B'Stard Company is committed to avoiding terminating your employment by reason of redundancy if it can do so. To this end, we invite you to a consultation meeting on such-and-such date at such-and-such time in such-and-such place with Smurf Witch Legal Counsel.

- true meaning: "if it can do so", yeah right, read between the lines, in other words (to quote my Irish girlfriend) "cannot be ar*ed"

4. The consultation period (following first meeting)

- official meaning: a period, typically 2 weeks, during which Senior Management assesses whether you are suitable for alternative (read: non-existent) position within the organisation, whilst you take paid time off work to seek out job opportunities elsewhere
- true meaning: time off during which you variously look for another job, spend money you do not have, go on holiday, get your hair cut/colour done/manicure/pedicure, sleep in, watch too much daytime TV, eat all the wrong things, read endless blogs, all of the above (can you see which way I am heading?), etc etc etc, oh yes, and swing wildly between elation, despair and anger on an hourly basis

5. Next steps

- official meaning: if B'Stard Company is unable to identify a suitable alternative position they may proceed to terminate your employment by reason of redundancy (identify? is this a discovery programme? Ed.)
- true meaning: so long baby, it's been a wild time and you've given us all a lot of laughs, but now, seriously, you really need to... go on now go, walk out the door, just turn around now, 'cause you're not welcome anymore....


Monday, 22 November 2010

What the eye sees - the cobbled together version

It's been a while, I admit.
But nonetheless - new job, different commute and mode of transport notwithstanding - I have still been at it.

Snapping photos. What did you think? Tsk.

So, here are some of the offerings for your delectation. They are all from recent outings (including today as I had a convenient meeting in the City, my old stomping ground) and will have to suffice until the next edition... which given up-and-coming events that include client visits, may be sooner than you think.

Here we go.

So, what have we here? A rock fan? Hmmm... interesting. Dig the jewels, man.


Does Jon Bon Jovi know about this?

Now this next one was actually taken at the airport when I was recently collecting a very famous person.
Please note that there is actually only one individual who will find this photo hilarious (from the habit perspective), but I just wanted to point out the woman in the red coat giving me the look of death.

Actually I think it was because I was holding this sign up:


And whilst cavorting around with said famous person I came across this:

Yep. I would also put a sign on a bloke
in a poster whose t-shirt read "Big deek"
Then there was the opportunity to capture four shades of grey. So dazzling even the heavens shone through the window in ecclesiastical delight.

I am quite sure the middle woman was a living Spitting Image caricature

And this woman who was so taken with her suitcase, she got boots to match.

No expense spared dah-link in the name of coordinates

And finally, the woman who loved her cat so much, she decided to capture it for posterity. On her head.

Miaow. Get me outta here

Until next time.

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.


Friday, 19 November 2010

Vamos en Catalunya amigos!

Who would have thought it? Today I am guest posting over at that floozy's place, you know, the one who is regularly ranting and raving about ordering husbands on the internet, muttering about being an old git, and why she reckons she is a shit mum (she isn't, by any stretch of the imagination).

So com'on over and pay me a visit in España.

Hasta luego!

London? Where? You crazy or something?


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Kevin's comeuppance.

Another six weeks or so have passed since the last book club rendezvous. 
Kevin must have been feeling decidedly twitchy as we had one no-show, one late drop-out, and one "unable to make it due to family commitments".

What? We are family FFS! Tsk. Honestly, you just cannot get the staff these days.

No matter. We had a wonderful time, all four of us. 

Yes. Four. 

Cozied up in the kitchen whilst the extremely talented Botanical Artist cooked up some dinner, drinking more than was strictly necessary on a Monday night, discussing the pros and cons of the books we had read (and before you get cynical, I had managed one of them in full, and not the shorter of the two I might add, thus redeeming myself after the last performance) amidst other anecdotes about work, life, food and whatever else struck our fancy.

We were pretty tame, I thought. And very good conversationalists, of course.

And then this was slipped under the (closed) door. By the BA's six-year-old daughter.

Obviously our volume control, despite the reduced numbers, was not quite functioning properly.

Just as well I am hosting next time. We can piss off the neighbours as well while we're at it if everyone shows up.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Pondering the meaning of a working life. And rugby.

So. One week gone already. That was fast. And furious. And fulminatingly frenetic.

Did I just make that word up? Fulminatingly, not furious. I think it would be classified as an adverb, although I would have to look it up as I did not study such things at my (foreign) school and still get confused when asked to "preface the sentence with a noun/verb/adjective/adverb (delete as appropriate)". Wreaks havoc with the children's homework.
I usually go with common sense and leave it there, although this does make for some interesting interpretations. And comments from the teachers.
Note to self: consult dictionary.

I digress. For those of you who had the pleasure of laughing at my latest technology gaffe, let me regale you with a few other anecdotes. Some of these may be familiar to the working mums amongst us.

  1. Remembering your route to your new place of employment is a good idea. Brownie points if you get it right each time. Parking in the MD's spot though is not necessarily the best way to impress on your first day.
  2. If you drive to work in your 'casual' shoes, remember to take your heels with you. Business suit and scuffed trainers do not a good combo make.
  3. Taking a notebook with you to work so you always have something to write in is a good idea. Taking one that is replete with your daughter's drawings is not.
  4. Change the ring tone on your mobile phone. When you inadvertently leave it on your desk and the dulcet tones of the Hawaii 5-O theme tune start reverberating round the office, people might wonder how serious you really are.
  5. When descending stairs in full view of the company's open plan foyer, hold the bannister. It is there for a reason. 
  6. Fish pie with spinach is not the best thing to eat at your 'welcome lunch'. But if you insist, a) check your smile afterwards, and b) do this in the loo with a toothbrush to hand.
  7. Remember toothbrush.
  8. If you say your newly acquired car is a go-cart, your colleagues will take you at face value. If you say it was OH's idea to buy it, they will nod and vow silently never to accept a lift with you in the future.
  9. Taking photos on the tube is one thing. Taking photos from behind the wheel is a whole other ball game. One phrase: stationary traffic.
  10. The laundry fairy has not gone on holiday. She is just waiting to dump it all at your feet the moment you walk in the door.
Oh. And since I somehow found a little bit of spare time, I have decided to attend the 'Introduction to tag rubgy' course on Tuesday night at the boys' club. I have illusions of coaching and (heaven forbid) eventually refereeing rugby union matches. 

Personally I blame OH. He did it and says I should follow suit. 

I would much rather follow Gavin Henson. Or James Hook

Right, must concentrate now. Another week commencing tomorrow...


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Show me the funny but mind the CCTV

Week 33 of the Gallery. Already? Blimey that came round fast.

And so too did the latest get-together of the Vegemite Vixens, that very exclusive club.*

I think this photo (taken, I hasten to add, by Muddling Along and including our surprise guest Note from Lapland, along with Rachel, Vix and yours truly) speaks volumes of what happens when friends meet up and are let loose on the town Reading with no children in tow.

The topic for this week is: show me the funny. So if this photo does not make you laugh, then about time you went looking for your sense of humour. And that's from all of us.

A case of life imitating art?

p.s. no animals bloggers were harmed during the taking of this photo, promise.

* you can join, but bribery is compulsory and the going rate at present is our combined body weight in Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc


Sunday, 31 October 2010

What the eye sees - the Finnish version

So. The infamous series has struck a chord elsewhere. Not to be outdone, Note from Lapland's Heather has been inspired by her adopted country and is guest posting for me today. Enjoy.

The Finns are famous for lots of things; Nokia, alcoholism, that God awful rock band Lorde...umm...that's about it I think, perhaps a list of things they are not famous for would be more fitting? And given what I found in my in-flight magazine on the plane from Finland to London the other day, fashion design could well be another thing they can add to list of things they are not famous for.

Would you care to take a guess as to how much this monstrosity would set you back? This delightful woolen jumpsuit, guaranteed to have you dying not only of chronic embarrassment but also hypothermia given there was snow on the ground in Finland when I was reading this, is so expensive the wouldn't even print the price - price on request.

This well thought out and constructed white down jacket...cough splutter choke. White down jacket? It's a duvet, any fool can see that! A duvet with a couple of poppers stuck on it so you can wrap it around you! Seriously, how long do you think it took them to make this? Perhaps is was in a bid to stop the poor model above from contracting hypothermia. Anyway, this stylish piece will set you back...go on, how much do you reckon? What does a duvet cost, 40€? Add in the cost of a few poppers and mark up for 'design'. 100€, 150€? Ha ha ha, nowhere near. 438€. Yes. I know.

You know how cute your toddler looks when they try to put their head in the sleave of your jumper when attempting to dress up in mummy's clothes? Well now you can recreated that cute look in your man! For a measly 225€ your can have all the cute of the toddler without any of the banana smeared television screens or tantrums in the supermarket.

Please, people of Finland, stick to what you are good at - drinking, playing bad accordion music and making phones. The world really isn't ready (and I doubt it ever will be) for this level of clothing innovation.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Now remind me: what does an office look like?

Yes, it is official. Just in case you missed the other post, I can confirm the good news.
I am officially back on the pay roll as of next Tuesday. My year of consulting as an independent business advisor has (for now) concluded and I will be taking on a new senior role back in the corporate world.


Out come the suits and shoes and bags and accessories.
The briefcase gets dusted off, the make-up essentials replenished, the nails buffed and polished.
The hair blow-dried (alas I cannot get away with my vintage swimming cap, not quite the professional look they are expecting).
Tights checked for ladders, jackets for sticky finger prints, Oyster card topped up...

Except. Hang on. I won't be taking public transport to my new office abode. I will be - horror, shock - commuting by car. OH has already taken it upon himself to purchase one on my behalf ("we'll go halves and I am named as the main driver but you pay the insurance, that's okay, isn't it?") in his enthusiasm to buy a new toy see me get out of the house be helpful. I was all too happy to opt for a new motorbike but that's a whole other story.

And do you know what my biggest concern has been the past few days, since accepting the job offer?
Not what time I will have to leave home to avoid peak hour traffic.
Not how I am going to keep on top of the never-ending pile of laundry.
Not whether I will be able to keep up with reading blogs and sending out random (and often ridiculous) tweets.

It has been whether I can find a suitable route to get to my new place of work by bike so that I can keep up with BB and WW and the training plan for our next venture.

Bonkers? Yes, probably.

Bearing in mind that in my new role I am taking over a large team made up entirely of men, I intend to lead by example. So when I say "On your bike and get cracking!", they will know I am serious.

Or possibly seriously committed. To the job, of course.

Shit - where's the sat nav?


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Recipe for Mr Right that does not include Daniel Craig

If I were any older I would say "I don't believe it".
Any younger, I would throw a tantrum.
As it is, I can do neither as I am restricted by my wetsuit.

That woman has tagged me and told me in no uncertain terms that I cannot nominate my secret passion and be done with it.



So, I have to give her my recipe for Mr or Mrs Right. My top ten things I look for in a man or woman. She says "Think about it, this could be a golden opportunity. If you are single someone might read your post and get in touch because they tick all your boxes."

Err, hello? Last time I looked I was married. Well, either that or I have been misled for some time and have no idea who these small people are or why they keep referring to me as "Mummy".

Okay. So the male thing is pretty much done and dusted. And if you have doubts as to what I look for, feast your eyes again here.

Which leaves 'the woman'. Hmmm. Interesting. Let's put a different twist on this, yes?
The top ten things I look for in a woman (this is no guarantee of enduring friendship, you have been warned).

  1. Is capable of distinguishing left foot from right foot and putting shoes on correctly
  2. Can walk in them without falling over or resembling John Wayne recently dismounted from his horse
  3. Ability to read instructions
  4. Ability to then use knowledge gained under point 3 and apply to ridiculous gadget
  5. Ability to hand over said gadget to male counterpart with dignity and the words "I am sure you will enjoy this more than I ever could" without gritting teeth or forcing smile due to inability to comprehend what it is supposed to do in the first place
  6. Tidiness
  7. Regular employment of cleaner/housekeeper/laundry master to ensure compliance with point 6 if own skill set is lacking, or failing that a military drill that involves small children and bribes to put things back in their places
  8. Good dental hygiene
  9. Organisational skills (shopping, play dates, travel plans, after school care,  massage, cooking, financial planning, channel surfing, takeaway delivery ordering, nightwatch duties, team management, leadership by example, fitness training...)
  10. Does not snore*
  11. And one more (yes Emma, I know you said ten, but cut me some slack here, okay? Geez): a sense of humour. For further detail, see here.
So, think you have what it takes to be my NBF (next best friend)? Then grab my button if you're game and play along. In the meantime I am passing the buck to a few others, because I'm nice like that, I am.
and (drum roll please) Hot Cross Mum

Oh, and one last thing.

Daniel I will do your washing & ironing any time

* vital when sharing rooms on holidays or girls' nights out - LCM has been known to kick offenders violently at 2am who do not comply with this requirement and then deny all knowledge of bruising and/or shaven eyebrows the following morning


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Fame and fortune (albeit not mine)

Here's a thought.

Suppose you really liked one of the virtual bloggers who regularly leaves comments on your posts, sends you funny emails, eventually picks up the phone and calls, or - even better - Skypes you so you can see them in person. You feel like you truly know this individual and it is as if you had been friends forever. You share a sense of humour, a talent for writing, and a perception of reality that is laden with comedy.

Now, if this were me, I would have been running around shouting "Stalker!" soon after the Skype call.

Not so these two ladies. Despite living some distance apart (one in the US, one in Scotland), they have pulled off that amazing feat of actually writing a book together. And getting it published. In Australia, of all places. Without ever meeting in person. How mad is that?

And the end result is a highly entertaining, extremely tongue-in-cheek, look at early motherhood. A book that says exactly what you need to know in order to retain some sense of normality - I use the term loosely - after the term 'a good night's sleep' recedes forever from your memory.

Being an extremely serious blogger, I thought it only appropriate to ask some meaningful questions of the duo, ie ones that did not involve training, races or triathlons of any shape or size, in the hope that some of their fame might rub off on me. 

(Note to Gillian and Emma - cheque to the usual account, okay? And spell the amount right this time FFS, without writing 'point' or 'comma', geddit? Geez...)

LCM - ‘Sleb mummies are a pain in the arse – discuss (in 140 characters or less)*

Gillian: Well that’s the thing- if you’re a celeb Mum then you probably have nanny/au pair/personal assistant help which means you are not living in the real world. Most of us look like a big old bag of crap in those first months after having kids. We wouldn’t feel so much like a big old bag of crap if we weren’t subjected to airbrushed/personal trainerised, make upartisted and liposuctioned celeb Mums on the covers of magazines telling us how sexy they felt ten minutes after giving birth. Then again, we don’t want to mention names because we are total hypocrites and if any of those celeb mums we had in mind read our book and gave us a quote that we could stick on the back cover endorsing Cocktails at Naptime, we’d act like the fame hungry whores we really are and bite their manicured hands off.

Emma: I do rather enjoy reading about ‘sleb mums I have to say. Like I love reading their diet diary and when I read lunch: ‘lettuce, lemon juice, sometimes a bit of cottage cheese and half a pear,’ I do feel well, very sorry for them because their lives are so miserable. I mean what joy do they have in life? Excessive exercise, strict diet, having to be in movies which I have to say sounds pretty boring, having their nails and hair done every day and having to talk about whatever crappy film they are starring in. They also have to accept that unless they’re Sandra Bullock (and the less said about her homely looking husband’s fling with that tattoo model the better) you have to date only celebs with plastic smiles, permatans, nose jobs and narcissistic personality syndrome. Even if the ‘sleb mum falls off the wagon and raids the local confectionary store there’s no joy there as there will be a pap lurking outside ready to snap her stuffing Wagon Wheels down her gullet.

*(Further note here - you can see why the cheques bounce. Neither of these women can count.)

LCM - Organic home-made pureed food or off-the-shelf?

Gillian: I’m going to take the organic part of that first option and then the shelf part of the second. Why spend hours cooking and mushing carrots for your kid to spit out and screw their face up at when Mr Hipp and Mrs Cow and Gate have made it their lives’ work. In saying that with my first child I did the obligatory two months of all that mushing and fussing before I went back to work and realise it was either shop buy or die (from exhaustion).

Emma: I think I made the home made baby food once and it was a right pain so I’m afraid I’m not the posterchild for DIY pumpkin puree. Actually my kids didn’t like the off-the-shelf mush either and segued straight from breast to that finger food they throw around in restaurants that ends up in the parents’ hair.

LCM - Suggestions for enticing your other half to get up during the night to sort out kids

-          A tazer
-          A promise of something he was previously denied
-          Pretending you are dead

Emma: I don’t understand the question. The kids know that unless the house is burning down not to wake us. If they want something like having a bad dream and wanting to talk about it I just say ‘Oh go to sleep next to me we’ll talk about it in the morning.’ Luckily they forget their ‘problem’ the moment their head hits the pillow.

LCM - Is your supermarket shop quicker when you have the kids in tow or do you just abandon the trolley mid-excursion, say “Sod this for a game of soldiers”, and resort to doing it online (the shop, not the soldiers)?

Emma: Actually I don’t like to boast about this too much or I might find myself lynched by the local housewives wielding hot hair tongs but I’m actually living the feminist dream in this regard. Not only do I rarely go grocery shopping with the kids but my husband actually does 90% of it due to the fact that he told me ‘you can’t keep to a budget,’ and ‘you’ll buy anything in a pretty package.’ So that particularly nightmare is no longer my domain much to my relief. Also for those of you outside the US have you any idea what temptations lurk in US supermarkets, for example there are Starbucks actually inside the supermarket and I challenge anyone not to buy a donut and a Venti double chocolate swirl pumpkin latte on their way into the supermarket. Also there is a lot of litigation in supermarkets here, like in Whole Foods if you so much as swipe one olive from the olive bar you can find yourself banned from using the supermarket and they also take a Polaroid of you which is put in a special room that the security guards use to make sure no olive thieves or naughty housewives who once ate a cherry tomato from the salad bar ever darken the store again. Life’s too short to be scared about eating a cherry tomato so I leave the groceries to my husband.

Gillian: No I used to like to subject the public to me and my entourage. I find that if I don’t then the older women of this world are deprived of their afternoon’s entertainment in tutting and shaking their heads in disgust at the way modern mothers bring up their kids. I only like to think of my own Gran and how her hobby of openly and loudly discussing the failures of young mums in supermarkets kept that woman going for so many years. I particularly felt I was bringing a ray of sunshine to an obviously hard of hearing older lady in Asda cafe one day when she was able to give vent to her opinions about my 9 month old daughter’s physical proportions. As I handed my little pudding a big soggy chip to chew on and mash into a  pulp while I ate my lunch I was delighted when the elderly sage shouted loudly to her friend “Look, she feeds the bairn chips! Nae wonder she’s FAT!” I feel I give something back to the community when I give these ladies a different option other than minding their own bloody business. I’m a giver you see.

LCM - Tips for travelling with small children, especially on airplanes? (Mine is “Let them wander, where the hell are they going to go anyway? And payback time for other misery-gut childless fliers”)

Gillian: In all seriousness the one of my kids, the youngest, that I thought would be an absolute nightmare on a long haul flight lay down on the floor of the plane and slept for eleven hours. This gave me the opportunity to snort with derision at other families who weren’t having as much luck. However my eldest did puke all over me and his Gran when we took him to Spain when he was just a year old. But in fact this episode gave me a tactic that I would recommend for all parent globetrotters. Feed your kid something that you find normally disagrees with him. That way when he throws up, people surrounding you get up and find other seats giving you all the leg room you need for a comfortable flight. It’s a lot cheaper than paying for first class. And it is also good if you are worried about deep vein thrombosis.

Emma: We have been on dozens of long haul flights and I have been a selfish sod on as many as possible. I usually try to sit somewhere as far away from the kids as possible by swapping with someone. Why? Because they are both vomiters. Then I take a Tylenol PM (quite a hard core sleeping pill available over the counter) cover my head with a blanket and try to drown out anyone prodding me and asking “Excuse me, are you the mother? Your kid just barfed on me.” If forced to answer I just pretend I am Turkish and don’t understand.

Gillian: yes! I love Tylenol PM. I practically rattle from the stocks of them secreted about my person when I come back from the US.

LCM - How much is too much? (your call as to interpretation of question)

Gillian: Too much is when the kids outnumber the parents. You’ve got to have each one marked like in a game of netball. I speak with experience; I was one of three children. There was always one of us in “loose cannon” position. If you see that situation from the other side, you don’t make that mistake yourself later on in life.

Emma: Yeah I honestly have no idea how anyone has more kids than two. I know that I would have a huge problem remembering where they all were at any given time. I barely remember who has Brownies or ballet on what day and so the idea that you’d remember that sort of tedious information for more than two kids makes me think that mums who have many kids simply have an extra brain built in because it is literally something as difficult for me to get my head around as particle physics.

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

This is what happens when your training partners are sadists

Remember this? And this? Of course, how could you forget?
And this? Yes, the beginning of the end of whatever decency was left.

Anyway. Brazilian Babe and I get an email through last week from the Wine Writer.
She writes (I quote, I am not making this up, promise):

"OK this might be bananas, but how about three Triathlons in three weekends...? Blenheim 5th June, Windsor 11th June, Henley 19th June.
I'd quite like to try each of these, but they just happen to be consecutive weekends next year...
OK, just ignore me if you think I'm nuts."

Her view was that she "kind of liked the idea of Tri girls, trying hard to do tri triathlons. I thought it might have some fund-raising mileage."


BB and I looked at each other. We consulted with a professional triathlete (whose wise words were "You need to have at least two weeks between competitions"). We did some calculations. We sent an avalanche of text messages amongst ourselves. We scoured the websites. We did some more calculations. We mused over calendars. We - thoughtfully - checked school half term and holiday dates. We also - even more thoughtfully - sought approval from our other halves.

End result? 

We are now all enrolled in the Windsor Triathlon on June 12th 2011.
Brilliant. Eight months of (mostly winter) training to look forward to. Rain, snow, cold, wind... mmmmm.

OMG I am going to drown, forget sense of humour failure

Oh. And did I mention that BB and WW got their way, sort of?

It is Olympic distance.



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