Tuesday, 10 April 2007


Ever the optimist that a family holiday will for once be an unprecedented success, I am mid-cycle, not menstrually speaking but waiting for the last load of laundry to emerge that I may then chuck it in the tumble dryer from whence it will be thrown into a waiting suitcase. Were my mother still here she would be aghast. Anything not aired for at least three days after drying could only lead to certain death. I have not the time for airing though as I am determined to be on that 8am ferry tomorrow morning. Don’t get excited, I don’t mean the Brittany Ferry – Hubby hasn’t suddenly become munificent and hired a gite in the Dordogne, no, no, no. We need to be on the Torpoint Ferry at 8am to be in time for brunch with friends in Bridgend, South Wales. From there we go further West to Pembrokeshire, where for the next few days we will be camping in the sitting room of yet more friends. My son as you can imagine, is overwhelmed with excitement.
“What are we going to do there then mum?”
“Enjoy the fresh air”.
“It doesn’t come fresher than Cornwall”.
“Well, go for country walks then”
“Ditto Cornwall”.
“Well walk on the bloody beach then”.
“Tut, tut, language mother – but once again may I remind you that we live on the Rame Peninsula. Famed for its glorious walks and white, sandy beaches.”
“You must have some SATS homework to do”. That shut him up, but not for long. Soon, I was able to hear him on his mobile phone complaining that his “ rents (presumably an abbreviation of parents) were gay” and adamant on dragging him away to some well dodgy holiday in Wales, with, worse still his - and this is were he yawned and I stifled the urge to run upstairs and clip his ear – his sisters.
The sisters in question have themselves been a handful. The youngest is a smiling assassin – her red curls and beautiful smile belie an easy capacity for complete and utter destruction. Last week, looking around TK Maxx in Plymouth I lost sight of her for a nano second only to discover her in ‘Body Products’, having liberally applied herself in mango and jojoba bubble bath. It was dripping from the fore mentioned curls and sliming off her hands. Presenting her to one of the staff with a request for a tissue, the young man in question threw his hands up in horror, before very kindly escorting us up several flights of stairs to the staff quarters where he directed us to a loo and sink. Wiping her down was a tricky and slippery job and one that could not be resolved effectively without Swarfega and a hot bath but she did at least smell delicious.
That evening, after the much threatened bath I wrapped her in a big towel then snuggled her up in her floral nightgown; with her hair shining and teeth sparkling she was a sight to behold. She and I cuddled up in her bed, her big sister a foot away and we read a story together. She put her arm around my neck and kissed my cheek, repeatedly. Tucking them in, I bade them goodnight and blew them both a kiss. I left their room on a cloud of euphoric maternal love.
With a light heart I skipped down the stairs to find Mags in the kitchen brandishing a corkscrew and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. “It’s a lovely evening Alice, let’s go and sit in the garden”. For twenty minutes we enjoyed peace and quiet until the figure of a five year old ran out, “Mummy, come quickly, there is a big mess on the carpet.” Mags got there before me, “Alice, it’s an insurance job”, she yelled down the stairs but I was fast behind her and found, to my utter dismay, a two year old who looked as though she been slaughtered, so abundantly was she and my bedroom carpet covered in Chanel’s Rouge Noir nail polish. Mags took her back to the bathroom to scrub her whilst I attempted the same with my carpet. No chance, the more I rubbed, the more it bled and thus is how it remains. Once more I put them to bed (more sternly) and once more I returned to the garden. Mags and I discussed the youngest’s capacity for mischief, winced at the idea of Hubby’s reaction to the nail polish and polished off a glass of wine. For thirty minutes all was quiet until once more, the 5 year old appeared, “Mummy, come quickly, she’s done a poo on the carpet now”. Hurdling the garden wall, Mags ran through the kitchen, grabbed the Marigolds and hurtled upstairs; I was close behind her as we confronted the steaming pile. “Bloody hell”, said Mags, “It looks like a Doberman’s”. Mags picked up and discarded whilst I bathed the youngest once more. Again I tucked them in, consecutively less affectionate than the time before. The following morning, buoyed by a good night’s sleep, the youngest ‘painted’ the cream kitchen wall in black boot polish.
I was extremely glad when Hubby returned for a fortnight’s leave, although most of it so far has been an endurance test. Can there be a greater pain in the neck than a husband with one? I have no doubt that it hurts – did I not recently return from London with a cricked neck? But, if I see him once more walk to the ‘drug drawer’, melodramatically open a packet of extra strong Nurofen, wince on swallowing them, and hold onto his neck forlornly, I swear I will wring it for him. Consequently, I’m packing the car with four kids in various emotional states – two eldest ones moody and belligerent, the youngest overexcited and noisy, and a Husband flinching every time he attempts to pick up a sock. Holiday? I don’t think so.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your having such a wonderful time with my gorgeous niece! Hope Wales was good and we hope to see you real soon.


Sally Lomax said...

Hi Alice

Thanks for visiting me!!

I will read you more alter, but have got a rare job as a voice over today, so have to go now........

But will definitly come back and visit you very soon! How did you get your column in the WDP? Very impressed!!

Sally Lomax said...

p.s. should have read "later" not alter"

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Alice again!

Am now back from the "big smoke" and have had a proper "read".

I love your blog!! And you are right, we have a lot in common. My children are now 6 (girl),8 (girl), 12 (girl), 14 (boy) and 16 (girl). How old are yours?

My hubby was in the Navy too. Hje was an Engineer officer on Submarines. He left in 1992 when our second child was born. I think he still misses bits of it though!

I did actually used to write a column in the paper too. I wrote for theeh same group ironically - in The Citizen. I did a number of columns, including a family day out, a family meal, a shopping column and finally an interview one.

Sadly my stunning career came to a temporary close when the editor changed and the new one had different ideas as to what sells a newspaper!!

For some reason I haven't publicised on my blog that I used to be "paid" to write. Maybe I should!

I am hoping though that one day, not too long hence, I will be back there.

Gosh I felt for your with your daughter's results. Nice of the consultant to call you on the day. I had less success with my trip to orthopaedics! (See blog on Consultant!)

I will now go back to my blog and add you to my links and read you regularly.


Sarah said...

I came through to your blog via Petite Anglaise. I really love your writing style. Sorry I can't reciprocate - I don't have a blog, but I hope you don't mind if I read yours on a regular basis!

Alice Band said...

Thankyou so much for your kind comments. Please visit as often as you can, it's lovely to know you are out there!