Spells for Skivers

Monday, 26 April 2010

'Freddie, love, Mummy's just landed in the playgound; she says have you got your ESB speech stuff with you?'
'Fuck, someone cover my arse while I dig my way to Australia with a ruler. Pete, can your parents adopt me? Anyone got the Childline number? Quick, over the the woodwork room and I'll saw my leg off for sympathy.'

The minefield of choosing a Godparent is, unless some crass cosmic joke occurs, firmly behind me. In my Schiaparelli-pink-tinted retro-vision, I gaze fragrantly into the cot at the sleeping bots and bestow gifts in human form. A children's book editor (imagine the presents). A brace of titled/well-connected good souls (one eye on the Gap Year). A drummer in a rock band (swallow the feminist cant - son, meet the groupies). A French rugby player (no justification necessary). A staunch Catholic (hedge those bets). In the Pampers-panicky reality that was my life all those years ago, I provided exactly this because they were all people I knew would say 'yes', could be counted on to turn up at the church on the right day, fuel me with champagne at the party afterwards and exchange delightful conversation with the assembled starchy grown ups.

The ensuing decade has proved an interesting one. Almost all of the above are still in birthday-remembering play. But they have been joined, incrementally, by several others. Official and Unofficial Gods who bring gifts I never thought of. Cricket obsession. Adoration of velvet. The love of spending hours cooking an Indian feast from scratch. The art of lolling about on a bed disecting one's wardrobe and sneakily adding unsuitable items to it behind mummy's back. The talent for inapropriate smells during a private tour of Tennyson's library.

Rose's Godmother is dropping in this weekend to share her love of historical novels, gossip magazines and Petit Bateau. I will send them out together to wander the sunny harbour and drink hot chocolate. Freddie, the Colonel and I will be at home. Working on the speech-with-visuals he is giving to the English Speaking Board examiners next week. That he has NOT been 'working on' since before Easter. That he didn't even get out of his bag when he was at Edward's last week. That remained untouched this past weekend when he was winning a football tournament. He will be somewhat surprised when I get him after school today as he thinks he's at a cricket game.

Might need a silent spell for my gob.

Munters in Hunters

Friday, 23 April 2010

Just cock off, I'm not bloody well coming back. She's got every episode of Pineapple Dance Studios on SkyPlus, she's bought me bloody legwarmers and body glitter AND she's replaced my Eminem CDs with the Cabaret soundtrack. Jesus, Rose, get the mad bitch to start drinking again. I'll call you from Australia.

The bots had an Easter week in Wales at Edward's family farm. They rang me where I was battling elements of all types up in the Lake District: 'It's fab, we saw loads of these small lambs.' 'Oh, darlings, how wonderful, there are masses here too, aren't they adorable when they leap into the air?' 'Not these ones, a fox ate their brains and all their livers have come out.' 'Oh, and we went on quad bikes. With no helmets.'

Meanwhile, ignoring rising panic, I revisited the lovely house I grew up in on a cliff, climbed the wall I have scaled in my dreams for over 30 years, spied on the children who live there now and discovered that a middle-aged heap of sobbing nostalgia stuck on a very high wall is statistically more likely to frighten than enchant.

Like a Hobbit, I stumped about the fells and cliffs in attractive waterproof trousers, fuelling up on heavenly coffee and walnut cake from the WI in Cockermouth (which name still, pathetically, makes me snigger), being uplifted by and warbling tunelessly along to this and working through the first series of this on my laptop each night. I walked and climbed for miles and my poor old wellies have finally given up the ghost. So, in time for summer, I have discovered this amazing website and my new-dead-cheap-technically-I-have-saved-money Graphite Gloss Hunters arrived this morning. I'm rather pleased with them, but suspect I am rocking less of a Kate-Moss-British-summer-festival vibe than a Lego Lady Policeman.

Either way, they are hideously shiny, so I am taking the dog into the fields now to get them covered in lamb's brains.

Me an' Jem

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

So, other than the obvious - thick, tawny hair, endless elegant limbs, eye-watering personal trust fund and the fact we've both kicked Hugh Grant out of bed more times than we'd care to remember*, it would appear that Jemima Khan and I have even more in common than ever. Her offspring too have eschewed Mini Boden for Top Man (though Freddie wouldn't dare describe it as 'gay'. Yet.).  See this month's English Vogue for the full story if you can be arsed.

Which is how I found myself in Tweenieland in London over half-term. The bots smirked and did slidy eyes when I suggested Hamleys and ice-cream. They had checked out the website and press releases and were set on Oxford Circus Top Shop, where we haggled in hisses over the suitability of denim shorts that wouldn't cover Barbie's plastic arse and a T-shirt saying 'Screw You.' I told them that people who needed to show their bottoms and swear in public were losers, not amusing hip young folk and that I was not very impressed with their choices so far.

We agreed after what felt like several strip-lit thumpy-music hours on some bright stuff for Freddie and some pearl-encrusted stuff for Rose and then I played my trump card - the theatre! I had returns for Legally Blonde, knowing Rose would adore it and Freddie would be super-excited at just the whole Savoy-theatre-London-treat experience. Well apparently not. He took one look at the huge pink billboard, gaggles of schoolgirls also in pink and a blow-up chihuahua and rolled his eyes backwards in his skull. His shoulders went down and he was incapable of speech. It wasn't helped by the mincing torch-bearer who showed us to our seats asking him why he wasn't going to see Kick-Ass instead.

Rose and I had a great time. The court-room number 'Gay or European' is one of the wittiest things I have ever heard, marred only a tiny bit by my clearly wildly heterosexual nine-year old son slumped as far down in his seat as he could looking everywhere but at the stage and shooting off for the exit before the curtain calls had started.

We had what the bots have started calling one of Mummy's Awkward Conversations in the taxi about being grateful and not spoiling everyone's treat by being unimpressed and cynical. 'Like you were in Topshop?' wondered Freddie, all huge-eyed and over-the-top-interested in what I was saying.

Wonder how Jemima would have handled that one.

*Some of this might just be bollocks.

Hello from up my own backside

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Thanks for the lovely messages and amusing speculations...

Sorry to be MIA for so long, am a little preoccupied with some stuff but we are all OK here and will be back to resume normal service as soon as I can.

Happy, peaceful and daffodil-filled Easters to you all.