Tuesday, 10 February 2009


My nose, just about recovered after its invasive ordeal, was just about to be taken for an outing to the supermarket last Saturday when Pia emerged from her pit, closely followed by her boyfriend Jamie.
“Hey”, she said, rubbing her eyes sleepily, her hair very much bed-hair, a style that would cost thousands were she in a fashion shoot. As it was she was in mis-matching pyjamas and a short dressing gown and a pair of equally peculiar, mis-matching socks kept her tootsies warm. Even David Bailey would have been hard pushed to make her look “fashion” as the Red-Head would say when wearing little more than a ballet skirt as a top, a hair-band, my pop-socks and some high heels. When asked in a tone of exasperation, “What do you look like?”, she looks back at you as though you have absolutely no style whatsoever and says, “Fashion”. If I try and put her in a sweet little dress, wholly appropriate for a four year old she again looks at me as though I’ve just crawled from under a rock and says, “I don’t want to wear that, I want to be fashion”. It makes no odds how many times you add, “able” as a suffix, she won’t have any of it, she’s fashion and that’s that.
“Oh great”, said Jamie, tucking into a basket of warm pains aux chocolate, “I’m starving”. They drained our once a week, 2 litre carton of Tropicana orange juice and started snogging over the newspapers. Hubby looked up at me and I shrugged my shoulders, in a kind of, ‘Oh don’t ask me’ way.
Before Hubby had a chance to make things awkward and ask Jamie when he was thinking of paying board and lodgings, I quickly started some small talk.
“It’s only 9am. Most unlike you two to be up before lunch time on a Saturday? Are you going out shopping again?”
I hadn’t quite got over her previous retail splurge fairly recently. She’d dragged Jamie to Drake Circus and boy, Plymouth must be delighted that an affluent Norwegian is in their midst, because no other bloody bugger is - affluent that is. She had returned home with several pairs of designer trainers, more books than a rural mobile library, a few tops and a couple of pairs of jeans. The following week they got ready for a repeat run.
“Oh that’s just great”, I said to her, pulling her leg, as I pulled out the wand of my Dyson, “You just carry on. Go and spend all your money then and spare not a thought for little old me who only provides you with every home comfort and attends to your every need”. We have a very laid back relationship, so I didn’t turn a hair when she replied,
“Okay, okay Alice. What do you want that’ll get you to shut up?”
“Something nice”, I called after them, “But no chocolate”.
I was preparing dinner when they arrived home. My teenagers mercifully, were out and the youngest happily engrossed in colouring in. “Here”, said Pia, handing me a nice bag, “Have fun”, and with a naughty glint in her eye she and Jamie dissolved into giggles.
The bag revealed a new bra, Pina Colada flavoured lubricant and how shall I put this delicately. Whisper it. A marital aid that requires AA batteries. Let it be said that I am nothing if not liberal.
I think they expected me to blush and hurriedly squirrel everything away, but the best tactic in my 43 years’ experience is, when unsure, to brazen things out. So I admired the gifts but added, “Thing is Pia, this”, waving aforementioned item at them, “Is somewhat small and I’ve had four children. I’d never find it again”. Horrified they ran away screaming, “That’s just sick”.
I chuckled. The ‘gifts’ will come in handy for a fun raffle prize.
I digress. So, were they about to go out and spend even more of her father’s hard earned Krone?
“Yes”, she replied, “But he will be with me”.
“Who? Jamie?” I asked absently, looking for my shopping list.
“No, my father. He and my step-mother and brother are here in Plymouth. They are coming over on the Torpoint Ferry at eleven o’clock”.
Was she out of her tiny mind I asked? I hadn’t prepared anything, hadn’t made any cakes, hadn’t cleaned. The list of hadn’ts went on and on. Within minutes I was a whirling dervish of domesticity, delegating jobs and tasks even to the smallest family members. With a feather boa around her neck, and my sequined scarf around her waist as a skirt, the Red-Head got busy with a duster as her bigger sister sprayed the Mr Sheen. Our son, most indignant at being made to get up before the sun went down was in the bathroom with the Cif and a scourer and our eldest daughter, thunderous, vacuumed. Hubby was sent in my stead to the supermarket for luncheon provisions, Pia and Jamie were kicked downstairs in an attempt to make habitable a habitat that only she and Shrek would find tolerable and I donned a pinny and opened Nigella’s tome of domestic bliss and knocked out a dozen white chocolate and cherry muffins. With the music from Changing Rooms – the bit where they finished everything in the nick of time – playing in my head, I coated the muffins with a dusting of icing sugar, made a pot of coffee and whipped my pinny off as they rang the bell. Phew.
The visit was a great success. As they left the following day, Pia’s father shook my hand and thanked me. “She is very happy here. I was so very worried about her. To be so far away from me. She is an intense girl and so very innocent”. You what? Maybe it means something else in Norwegian.


Mary Alice said...

"Is somewhat small and I’ve had four children. I’d never find it again”. Horrified they ran away screaming, “That’s just sick”.

ohhhh ohhhhh ohhhhhh gawd I have laughed so hard that I have peed myself. Thanks Alice! That was the funniest thing I have read all week. You and I are so alike. Out shock the little "too cool for school" shockers.

beck said...

You really crack me up Alice, loved every minute of this post! Thanks for the much needed laughs on a crappy day, x

Sally said...


Innocence is a seriously relative word. And her version of it is definitely not the British version!

Poor you having visitors at such short notice!

Alice Band said...

Don't tell me you are all to embarrassed to comment because of a little vibrator?

Sally said...

No - they are just all trying to think of something suitably pithy to say. You might relate to my most recent one btw. it may strike a chord.... You, I think, if you lived nearer would I am certain be one of my friends in the kitchen putting the world to rights...