Wednesday 31 March 2010

Mothering Sunday

Is Mother's Day time for a mother to smother herself in all the love of her children or relish a day without the children? Is it a day to appreciate your mother or be appreciated for the mother you have become? Perhaps a little bit of all....but it is extremely difficult to fit all that into one Sunday. I love a good challenge.

My special day started with my husband delivering my favourite breakfast, eggs benedict, to me in bed. The children delivered their handmade pressies and cards and my husband provided a bit of ooomph with his exquisitely store wrapped package. In fact his gift was so well packed he said he had a "Love Actually gift wrap" moment (minus the mistress). If you haven't seent the film, go see it. The scene where Alan Rickman is waiting for a gift to be wrapped in Selfridges is hysterical.

I unwrapped my goodies and displayed sufficiently praise on the clay hearts and hand coloured cards. I oohed and aahed as I placed my new silver hoops in my ears. And then they all left me alone to enjoy my breakfast with coffee and the paper.

We then set off for the Isle of Wight to take Marc's mother to a late lunch. I had read about The Hambrough, the island's very first Michelin starred restaurant, in a magazine and we were dying to try it. I've been to loads of restaurants on the island and in my humble opinion, it is not the height of culinary experience. The Hambrough was exquisite. The food looked and tasted like works of art. Our children were immaculately dressed and no one spilt anything on anyone or anything. No dishes got broken. They even ate the food. Oh and don't tell anyone but they didn't even charge us for the children's main meals!

It was a beautiful day and the restaurant sits on a cliff over looking the English Channel towards France. We had sailed right past it last summer when we sailed across the channel. On this day we sat and enjoyed every luxurious moment and watched the boats pass us by.....

The restaurateur is just 23 years old. I cannot believe that a person this young would even be able to make something so wonderful. But he has. I hope the island supports this amazing endeavour and we hope to return and actually stay there as rumour has it that the rooms are just as luxurious as the lunch!

And I managed to give and get a little bit for me, a little bit for my children, a little bit for my mother-in-law. Luckily for me, Mother's Day is in May in America. Don't think I could have fit my mom in on this......although I'm sure she would have loved to give it a go!

Comment Settings

Regular visitors and commenters to this blog (that would be my mother) will notice that I've had to change the comment settings requiring you to enter some letters as they appear on the screen if you wish to leave a comment. I've had to do this in an attempt to reduce the amount of spam that I am receiving. Oddly, this spam is directed at one post which is actually quite old. Not sure how or why this is happening but as the comments appear to be in Cyrillic meaning I can't read them I am playing it safe and trying to prevent them. Deleting them one by one is simply taking too long.

I apologise if this is a pain in the back side but quite frankly deleting the odd comments is a pain in my back side. Don't stop reading though!

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Tap, Ballet, & Charlie

The last weeks before the end of term culminates in the children displaying much of what they have learned in the term just gone.

A few weeks ago I was treated to seeing everything (such as it was) that Sebastian has created in Art, Design Technology (DT), ICT (Information Computer Technology), and Games/Physical Education. Not a single Art project was complete as there appears to be a problem with Sebastian finishing his choir practice and getting to art class but he manages to get a B for all the effort he puts into it. DT displayed a lovely bridge which was capable of holding 36 tins of baked beans which sounded like an awful lot but it was clear that he had once again run out of time to complete the centre support due to instrument lessons and his 36 was far short of the record of 116 tins. Sebastian continues his challenge with sport (literally). He is so much smaller than everyone else he quite simply keep up and no one understands this better than his mother. His attitude though had suffered and he seemed to just throw in the towel. Luckily that seems to have ceased and he gives it a bit more effort this term. Shame he can't get his clothes changed in under 15 minutes as he tends to miss most of the lesson by taking his sweet time changing clothes. I reckon its all a cunning plan. Sebastian is a geek just like his good ole mum and dad. He excels at ICT. What else would one expect? He can show me a thing or two about using a computer.

Sebastian also had two instrument exams this term on successive days. First was his violin exam on a Monday and then his piano exam on the Tuesday. I was a bundle of nerves. He, on the other hand, took his 1 hour cram violin lessons at Eton College which left his arms like jelly, just the day before the exam. He reported back to us that he feels he did "pretty ok". Not sure what that means or what the results are for either exam as the results don't come back for a few more weeks here. I am sure he did very well on his piano exam as he finds that much easier. Neither Marc nor I play a musical instrument so his prowess surprises us every day.

I was honoured to attend Abigail's tap and ballet performances. This is her first year doing tap and let's just say she ain't got much natural tapping rhythm. Lucky for her we don't currently have a video camera and I had broken the photo camera just before the tap performance. On the other hand, this is the 4th year she has been doing ballet and she has gotten quite good at it. She had beautiful posture. Her hands are delicate and she seems to have lovely expression in her free dancing. She seems so confident. It has to be said though that her best moves are clearly to MTV or the radio when she'll just start dancing madly around the house. Wonder where she gets that from? And we got the camera repaired and I have lots of beautiful photos of her exquisite poses.

The pinnacle of the excitement of the last week was the "Evening with Roald Dahl" performance where Sebastian had the honour to have a part as one of the leads as Charlie (from Chocolate Factory fame). We had practised his lines over and over but at the dress rehearsal Sebastian hadn't done well and needed to be prompted with every line.

His final performance displayed none of those missteps. He didn't miss a single line. After the show he confided that before going on stage he was very nervous but that once he was there "it felt like I was a different person and I just became very confident". I did point out to him that being a different person was exactly what acting was all about. I don't think he quite got it but his performance was fab with some impeccable comic timing. He is clearly very talented at acting. Wonder where he gets that from?

After all that excitement, we need a back!

Monday 29 March 2010


The year hasn't started out so well for me. Actually the battle with my health has been fought for quite some time.

I had swine flu in the June of last year. Then I was strung my two wasps whilst on holiday in August. In November I fought an upper respiratory infection which left me battling an wicked ear infection and felt like someone was picking sticks in my ear. I seemed to rally in time for Christmas and then came the damp wet grey cold holiday in Spain for the New Year and that just tipped me over the edge.

I was powerless against the pneumonia which left me bound to the house and completely helpless. I had no energy. My temperature soared to over 102 for 12 days solid. I ate nothing for 3 days when my husband finally force fed me toast. A work colleague visited me and I still have no recollection of his visit. I couldn't sleep due to the excessive coughing. I couldn't breath. It felt like a herd of elephants were sitting on my chest.

I took all the drugs and had a reaction to the third course of antibiotics which left me in a worse state than I had been in when I started taking them. I followed all the doctor's orders and still I didn't get better.

I became depressed when nothing seemed to help and I didn't' get better for weeks and weeks. After nearly 5 weeks I began to recover. I returned to work but couldn't manage more than 2 hours. Even during those few hours my brain felt like mush. People would speak to me but I couldn't' for the life of me make sense of what they were saying. And when I did make sense of it I certainly couldn't do any critical analytical thinking about what they were saying. I would come home before midday and collapse into bed.

After a few weeks of this I stated to feel my mojo return. I was making sense of things. I could sustain my attention for more than 10 minutes.

And then I went on a training course and sat in some of the worse chairs ever for 8 hours 3 days in a row with only a few breaks.

I ignored the pain for weeks hoping it would just go away. Finally after 2 weeks, the pain won and seized in the middle of dinner out with my daughter. I made it home through tears with my daughter completely terrified. My husband wasn't home. The doctor couldn't come to the house until after hours. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. I couldn't lie down. I couldn't move.

The hospital gave me some serious pain killers and sent me into gagaland which is beautiful place to go. I spent 2 days in a complete fog.

I now have a physiotherapist and am working on the back pain. I don't need the pain killers more than once/day (usually at the end of the day). I have no cough, no cold, no infection. I am not taking any antibiotics.

Health is a funny old thing. You take it for granted when you've got it. And when you don't there is little you can do about it. In the depths of the pneumonia and at the height of the back pain I felt completely powerless. It scared the living daylights out of me.

I know I run at mach 10 with my hair on fire. I have a high stress job. I work full time and have 2 children under the age of 9. I do not have a nanny or an au pair. The only help I have at home is a cleaner who visits for 4 hours once/week (which to be fair is more than some have). My husband is sometimes more of another child than a help (aren't they all?). I do the school run every day. I help with Rainbows. I am a member of the school parent group.

I don't take enough time for myself but I don't know a mother who works outside the home who does. When we are not with our children we feel guilty for working. And when we are with our children we feel guilty for not working.

Now that I am better long may it continue. But I gotta take care of myself. I'm just not sure when I might be able to fit that in........