You’d never think that I came back from Europe with great grand plans: start a large writing project; try new recipes; work out every day; update my blog every other day. STOP WASTING SO MUCH TIME DOING NOTHING.
But, as it turns out, I don’t in fact do nothing; I do a LOT of driving hither and thither, almost exclusively for child-related purposes. Which, of course, is the first cousin of nothing – but not a relative I can avoid at the moment. It really is very time consuming – the older 2 to school, the Baby to nursery (24 kms round trip, with the morning traffic and the crap Singaporean drivers to content with), the Baby from nursery about 20 minutes after I’ve left her, the older two from school about 20 minutes after that - and set to become more so, if the Girl changes school this year. Then I’ll have 3 offspring in 3 schools triangulated such that my commute will cover more or less the entire surface area of Singapore. (“Put them on the bus!” everyone cries, and I usually do, for the older ones, for the afternoon ride. But I had my suspicions about the morning journeys – we’re the first pick-up-point of an almost hour-long trip - which were confirmed when the Boy told me - gleefully – that the bus auntie gave him a bowl – a BOWL! – to pee in when he just couldn’t hold it in any more. (And who then held the bowl? I wanted to ask.)
Anyway. This is a very long and convoluted excuse for my absence. I was going to talk about the summer, wasn’t I? God, it feels like a hundred years ago. It was great. Especially the bit where I packed my husband and children and their hired mother off to Sweden and skipped off to London ALONE for A WEEK. Looking back on it, it feels quite unreal. Did I really get to leave my family for a whole week? Did I actually go to museums and the theatre and art exhibitions, and pound the banks of the Thames and have uninterrupted coffees and lunches and drinks with best friends, and cycle all over and feel like I was 30 again? Why yes! I did! Isn’t London fabulous? (WITHOUT KIDS, obviously. With kids it’s just one endless day after the next of expense and obstacles and whining and dragging.)
Before that, we had almost two weeks in Mallorca en famille, which was also great (but really, can anything top a week in one of the world’s top cities, alone?) although I overestimated my capacity to embrace the Spanish laid-backness, and after ten days of shit service and literally waiting for hours for menus or a coffee or PLEASEGODJUSTGIVETHEMSOMETHINGTOEAT (don’t these people have children? Don’t they know what happens when they’re hungry? GIVE THEM A BREADSTICK FOR FUCK’S SAKE) I decided that I probably won’t be realising one of my many unfeasible dreams and retiring to a Balearic rural idyll. “Foreigner dies of irritation and thirst in local cafe”.
Before that, we finished off our stay in Ireland which, despite the best efforts of the weather, was marvellous. Helped largely by stumbling upon a DIY sangria recipe which saved my life in the pubs (I hate beer, and UGGGH, Guinness, and so I spend my time in Irish pubs saying “Ummmmm.... Ummmmm... A gin & tonic?” and then they take down some manky old gin which their dead neighbour’s great-aunt made in 1979 to celebrate the Pope’s visit, and I panic and end up with a pint of Heineken, or GOD, Smithwicks, because I can’t think quickly enough. Here it is: Order a mini bottle of red wine (it’ll be shit, that’s fine); a brandy, no ice; a bottle of 7up; and a glass with ice. Pour half the contents of each into the glass of ice. Drink. Pour again. Drink again. Fall home, holding on to your octogenarian father, who did not sign up for this longevity of child-care. [Warning: it being Ireland, it’ll set you back about E47, but better than a pint of Smithwicks, no?])
Then Sweden, where I was tearfully (truly! But not the good ones) reunited with my bairn, and rewarded for my absence by the Boy telling me that sometimes I’m nicer than Daddy. (Daddy had ground his teeth down to stumps by that stage and declared that he was never minding them ever again. Poor Daddy.)
And so we’re home. Where I have amazed myself by cooking a few things beyond the normal pasta/cous-cous/baked fish repertoire, including the most AMAZING noodle/salad sauce thing, but I’m beginning to bore myself, so you’ll have to wait. (Hopefully not two weeks, but never say never.) In the meantime, I leave you with my favourite image from the summer. The Girl had her 5th birthday, and included in the gamut of cack received was this little piece of plastic wonderousness: Pregnant Barbie! (Actually, the full effect of said wonderousness calls for three photos.) It should come as no surprise that Barbie is Too Posh To Push:
Alas, later, there were complications when the under-age ObGyn placed the baby back in, breach, and the baby got totally stuck, as did the revolving stomach, and so now Barbie is forever mid-delivery – which is not a good look on a child’s toy AT ALL. Although if it’s a deterrent to pregnancy you’re after for your child, I highly recommend it.