And all I want is a cup of tea in bed….

Back when I was but a mere snip of a thing, I would make my parents a cup of tea most mornings. It probably tasted vile, but this, for me, was an early way of helping out. For my mum had a brood of five, which must have been mind-bending. I have two and my mind is well and truly bent out of shape all of the time.

I suspect my desire to be useful started during my stint in the Brownies. Even though I never made ‘Sixer’ (I was robbed). I don’t know which part of ‘Brownying’ put it into my head that helping my mum out would be A GOOD THING. Whether she liked it or not.

I was, for a time, the household ironer. I’d iron anything, from sheets and pillowcases to my dad’s handkerchiefs. I think I ironed his Y-fronts once or twice, too. I made puddings for our Sunday roast (my eclairs were legendary) and Vesta Beef Curry for tea if mum was too busy to whip up her usual, liver and bacon. I made perfume out of rose petals in a plastic washing up bowl, and tried to raise household funds by selling this to our neighbours. I was very useful.

I peaked one Christmas when my brother Malc and I decided to take the load off mum for Christmas dinner. She was sceptical, but we proudly managed to get it all done and served up on time. And the Brussels sprouts weren’t cooked all to mush. However, halfway through the dinner, Malc went to the kitchen to get the peas, which we’d forgotten. He came back and asked if I wouldn’t mind checking something. In fact, the kitchen was filled with black smoke. Malc, I’ll blame him, had left the bone-handled fork in the turkey when he’d put it back into the gas oven, and it had caught on fire. Suddenly there was mum, stood in the doorway, arms crossed, a smug ‘I-knew-you-wouldn’t-manage-it’ look on her face. Well, at least we tried.

I’m wondering where I have gone wrong with my own children. If I ask them to help, it’s big deal. Even though the chores are minimal – emptying the dishwasher, sorting the plastics for recycling, stripping their beds, remembering to bring the bins in. Walking the dogs seems to be a demand beyond belief. Hey, that used to be the ultimate pleasure for me, escaping the madhouse of my four brothers for a walk with Hawker Siddeley Vicious Smith (also known as Syd) along a stinky stream that often had shopping trolleys living in it.

And I can’t remember the last time one of the kids brought me a cuppa in bed.
Kids these days. They don’t know they’re born.

tea

Underlay

Underlay 2Over the summer we’ve been ‘doing some work on the house’. Hey, we’ve all been there. I decided this would be a good time to update the carpets on the stairs and landing. After all, I could feel (and hear) the perished underside of the old carpet crunching beneath my feet every time I went up or down the stairs. And there has been a massive rip in the carpet at the top of the stairs for about 10 years, after our old cat Ollie (RIP) decided to attack it. That’s not the reason he’s RIP, of course.
Carpets. I’ve never understood them. And I’ve never really understood what underlay was all about. I remember asking the chap who came to measure up last time if it helped noise levels. He said ‘not really’. I replied ‘then I’m not paying for it, thank you very much.’ So none of our carpets have underlay.
This time round, I thought I’d splash out. In the great scheme of things, it didn’t seem that much more to get the underlay. I was going to be broke afterwards, so I decided I’d be broke in style.
Well, what a difference. The carpet is bouncy and soft to walk on. I don’t have to wear my Moshulu slippers when I tread on it. My toes are toasty. A bit of my house is actually quite luscious. As long as you keep your eyes on the carpet and no further.
So now my life is over. The football chant that sounds like ‘underlay, underlay, underlay underlay underlay’ goes round and round in my head. I have learned to appreciate underlay and figure that the end must be nigh. At least when I keel over, I’ll have a soft landing.

Hormonal Armageddon

Everyone knows that teenage children are hard work. Moods, spots, lethargy. Locked bathroom doors and grunting. Screaming heebeejeebee demands for a new pair of bleached jeans at 10pm on a Wednesday BECAUSE IT’S MUFTI ON FRIDAY! (Thank goodness for Next’s next day delivery).

Try coping with all of this when you’re fighting with hormonal hysteria at the other end of life. This is what we ‘older mums’ are having to tussle with.Trying to hold it all together while our own brains do their best to turn to mush.

Not so many years ago a mum would have waved her kids out of the door by the time the menopause struck – to uni, work or married life. Now we have hormones going barmy in sync. My daughter is 15, my son 13. When we get hormonal at the same time it’s like Armageddon.

I’m not surprised the man of the house is now the man of the shed.

Welcome to my middle-life ramblings!

So, how did I get here, to this middle life? Well mainly through the usual channels: being born, having fun, getting hormonal, getting drunk, having children, becoming sober, getting hormonal (again), reinventing myself. Is this usual? Who knows? We are individuals, unique and lovely or unlovely in our own ways. There aren’t two of me, although people say I look a little like Linda Hamilton who played Sarah Connor in Terminator (I think I look more like her dog).Blog image 1This blog is simply a way of recording some of the many thoughts that pop into my head on a daily basis. At this time of my life, this includes reminiscing about my past, gritting my teeth about my present, and worrying about my future. If that sounds grim, it isn’t. And if you’re lucky I’ll record a few of ‘those’ moments experienced by myself and my friends. If you’re a similar age, you’ll know what I mean.