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,



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