Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Grunge.

Here, we are then, two days into the school summer hols and I am already frothing at the mouth. Hubby is yet to go on leave and so I am left, now that Mags has moved out, to clean, change the sheets, make my house sparkle, shop, cook and basically prepare for an onslaught of summer visitors, whilst trying desperately to keep my temper and four children at bay.
I do not find this an easy feat. I am staggered by the amount of penicillin teenagers manage to grow in their bedrooms and the fact that normally, so self conscious regarding a zit or blemish or greasy hair they care not a jot where their knickers land once they have flung them off the night before. I am constantly staggered by what I find on the bedroom floor, shelf or behind the door – the fact that all of them possess a laundry basket accounts for nothing.
My son’s desk, now that he has dispensed with Year 9, is awash with papers, old homework, handouts, leaflets and God knows what, on top of all that sits several chocolate wrappers (the crisps packets are under his pillow), the aforementioned penicillin furred coffee cups, a guitar, a computer, two pairs of rugby socks, a little black book and various shirts, previously beautifully and lovingly pressed and now in crumpled balls. My eldest daughter is no different. When out she is the picture of youthful beauty, her hair and skin plastered in every product the Body Shop produces and can, at any given moment smell simultaneously of mango, strawberry, coconut, tea tree, lemon and cranberry. Her clothes are considered for hours before wearing and even earrings and a necklace are given careful contemplation before they hit her lobes and neck. I am left speechless then, when on entering her bedroom I have to heave the door open before whatever lying behind it surrenders and lets me in. It is all I can do not to sink onto her bed, my head in my hands as I take in the devastation around me. Mountains of books lie on every surface, mingled with glittery lip gloss, the cap left off and thus having bled into the books. Bras and knicks dangle from door handles, bedposts, backs of chairs and light fittings and scrap-booking paraphernalia is literally littered on the desk, carpet and duvet. Not to mention the tangled mess of wires from phone chargers, Walkmans and hair dryer/straightener standing by to trip you up as you endeavour to put away the previous offending list.
No sooner have I sorted out these two rooms than I cautiously peer around the bedroom door of the youngest delinquents. This is indescribable; Barbies of every colour and creed lie naked and matted of hair on the carpet. Books, too numerous to catalogue are in, on or under the beds. Clothes and wet nappies mingle nastily outside the wastepaper basket and wet wipes, pulled indiscriminately from the dispenser, now lie dry and useless on every surface. Felt tip pens, tops lost many months ago have been sucked on and either the child or her clothes are covered in forensic amounts of pink, yellow and blue.
It is enough to make any woman despair and I envy my friends whose jobs remove them from the endless hours during the summer holidays spent nagging their children to turn off the tv, get on their bikes and go and do something less boring instead, like tidy their bedrooms. With their childcare sorted they can enjoy two weeks ‘quality time’ on a family holiday courtesy of a Greek island, whilst we, en masse, can be observed in a weeks time bickering over the assembly of a large tent; two children, faces like the proverbial slapped arse, two others running around maniacally, the highlight of which will be peeing in a bucket in the early hours of the morning.
Hubby of course is looking forward to his leave although has already put dampers on things by coolly announcing that apart from a few days in Polzeath we “will have to take it easy this summer and pull our belts in – financially, so to speak”.
“That’s going to be fun then with our American visitors”.
“Well, we’ll just have to entertain them on the cheap. She likes churches and walled gardens - so that’s a couple of days visiting Rame and Maker church and we can throw in a picnic at Mount Edgcumbe for good measure. Job done”. Hubby looked very pleased with himself and his tour guide skills.
“What if the weather is bad? We can hardly set off with a knapsack on our backs, fal-da-ree if it’s persisting down can we? Can’t we manage a couple of Stately homes and Eden?”
“Nope”.
“Fish and Chips at Rick Stein’s?”
“You’ve got to be kidding although we could take our bikes on the Camel Trail”. Now it was my turn,
“You’ve got to be kidding?”And so, I have been left to devise an itinerary suitable to fulfil the needs of a spectrum of people from a 2 year old to a 50 year old American and her teenage son with the caveat of not spending any money – a challenge by anyone’s standards. Kingsand and Cawsand are obviously looking good but as the weather isn’t, I know not what to do. A cultured Anglophile, she would love to visit all the National Trust properties and go to the theatre, however as she took $400 to the bank two days ago and got £185 in return I am sure that she will settle for the delights of going to and fro on top of the Torpoint Ferry, a drive along Whitsand Bay, a bag of chips in Looe and a quick snifter in a country pub. In fact if anyone knows of anything to do with a large family with a limited budget in South East Cornwall in the rain, don’t be shy, get in touch…

9 comments:

enidd said...

glerp, sounds worse than two black russian terriers. although their personal hygiene is more lacking too - boris's beard would be of interest of many archaeologists.

Lisa said...

Sounds like my bedroom when I was a teen!
Also, sounds like my husband. "Oh, yes, let's have any visitor who wants to come. Wait, we have to FEED them?!"

Alice Band said...

enidd- infinitely worse!

lisa - my American friend doesn't seem to eat much!

sally's hubby said...

Are you SURE you've not been peeking into our lives, up here in deepest Gloucestershire? Because you've just described our lot in impeccable detail (except for the nappies - thank Goodness!). Spooky or what!

Mary Alice said...

Ewww....your son's room sounds rather suspiciously like MY son's room. Frightening. However, my girls have been possessed by some strange OCD angels and have cleaned, rearranged and PAINTED their room all by themselves. I am unnerved to say the least!

Sally Lomax said...

Oh God........can SO relate to this...

GROAN..................

Sally Lomax said...

In reply to Enidd, why DO dogs have a riciulous fascination with poo??!! And how do they manage to find the most disugsting smelling version to roll in? Not that any of it smells pleasant you understand. But if our dog is anything to go by, they are passed masters at poo aromatherapy.

Alice Band said...

Sally's Hubby - Good to hear it's not just our house!

Mary Alice - lovely to have you back. Good vacation? No OCD angels in my house!

Sally - Even more mess now it's the hols!

Alice's Son said...

Oi, just because i couldn't be asked to pick up my jeans, I'd been working all day and I was going back the following morning, you failed to mention the fact your son actually got a job and was working at a festival, only highlight on the bad things do we?
ahwell, americans gone now, bring on Dads sister...