Yesterday was dedicated to finally sourcing every single item on about 32 pages of A4 lists and cramming the ensuing mountains of stuff into suitcases - the bots are both going away this week on 'educational' trips. I bloody well hate packing. The thought of clambering into the attic to find suitcases leaves me longing for a lie-down. Everything they want to take is in the wash or at Dad's house. Everything I try and pack is sad, nerdy or itchy. The lists are seriously winding me up. Sunglasses. Have you looked outside? Stout shoes. What are they, WI members? My blood pressure ratches up another notch when I find them both downstairs checking X-Factor results on my laptop.
Lots of un-Sabbath-like shouting. Several ridiculous threats that we all know would land me in court if I had the balls to follow through. They wonder why can't I be a Nice Mummy then slink upstairs while I google 'Louis Walsh boyfriend.'
My son announces he can't find his hat. I am quite pleased because it's a chavtastic Chelsea beanie. I know he also has another, navy and white stripes, from the chandlery, which announces 'I live in a seaside town, have some links to sailing and a mother with impeccable taste.' Naturally, that one is missing too. After transmogrifying into my own mother ('if I come up there and find them myself, I'll be giving you something to think about') and banging fruitlessly about in his cupboard, I grab dog and bots and shoot down the hill to buy another, lest he be expelled or develop Frozen Skull Syndrome.
I am not a target customer for the retro-ironic yah yah Britannia shop we end up in. I know that because I have never:
- gone to Cornwall in a pale blue VW van
- strummed a guitar wearing bits of leather on my wrists
- knocked up a full English breakfast on a beach in a bikini and granny cardigan
- surfed in England
- worn anything made of crochet
- enjoyed burgers round a camp fire with Jamie Oliver
- done all or any of the above in a montage to a Toploader soundtrack
We find a hat. It is hideous. My son loves it. It comes with Dickensian fingerless gloves that convert to mittens, and have a suede patch on the palm. Presumably so the wearer can high-five fellow campers with exquisite tenderness. Braless Ali MacGraw behind the counter confirms we cannot buy the hat separately. I grumblingly fork over a fortune. The bots are given postcards to fill in to send to a garden gnome. The tweeness is starting to get on my tits. They pretend to have forgotten how to write so Ms MacGraw is forced to bend over and help them. They boggle down her shirt. I pretend they belong to somebody else.
When we get home, I find the two lost hats in the attic in a box labelled 'Bots. Winter'. I pack all three. Later, when he is asleep, I write my son a soppy note and hide it in his suitcase. I think about it for a minute. Then I replace the note with a catering size pack of Haribos. I am a Very Nice Mummy.