I have just been into Waitrose very quickly, mainly to get bread because my husband has expressed his consternation that sometimes there is no bread in the whole house, and it makes him despair and weep a little on the inside, and so we raced in, all five of us, after a long and productive Monday morning at the Pirate Park annoying no one and actually behaving quite well, to get the bread that keeps Dad from Carb-Related-Sadness. But the boys were a bit shrieky when we went into the supermarket, because they HATE shopping, even for crusty posh Gail’s bread, and they were tired, and so all of them were making loud noises in which to ricochet around the tiled cold supermarket walls. And I knew we had to hurry because the noises were not going to get much quieter any time soon. So we go down the first aisle (THE FIRST AISLE) and some AWFUL DREADFUL HORRIBLE old cow of a woman marches straight up to me and says:
“Please do something about the noise that your children are making. It is a supermarket; CONTROL them for goodness sake!”
And I just do an inward sigh and I hold my tongue and I crouch down to them and ask them to be quiet because “THAT WOMAN” pointing and talking loudly “is very mad at you” and then we walk around and we most unserendipidously happen to tail her aisle for aisle and she is really mad and I am really embarrassed and then Barnaby starts to fling his scooter around and she marches up again and tells him to stop and that it is dangerous and that there are other people in the supermarket and he must behave and all the while I just blank her. Really, awesomely. Like she is imaginary. Or she is just a small insignificant irritant like a persistent fruit midge. And I walked around and kept bloody well passing her or finding myself in the exactly the same part of the cheese aisle, reaching for the same packet of halloumi. It was all deeply uncomfortable for everyone involved, except for the troublemaking children who persisted in being LOUD, aisle after long echoing aisle.
We continued the awkward tailing of each other even at the checkout, but it all became simply too much for her to bear and so she took her self-righteousness and her trolley and her air of disgust and hid in the wine department. I then loudly told the checkout staff (who LOVE me and the boys, I promise, probably because we startle them awake and our charming antics involving the tossing of blueberry punnets and the squashing of yoghurt pots are endlessly amusing) all about her mean comments and the various sisterhood behind me were all wide-eyed with empathy when I explained what she said. We then (of course) found ourselves at the same traffic light outside. But we each looked into middle distance and I refrained from telling her to have a lovely day in my most sarky voice. Then I followed her home.
Nutty? Yes! The actions of the unhinged? For SHO’! But she was mean, and you can’t cross me. Or you will get shrieking children follow you to your door.
A (Less-Mental) List Of Week 2, School Holidays Of No Plans And Bravely Winging It
1. We have been to the Lido, we have played with the hose in the garden, we have been yelled out twice by another old cow in the third story who leans out of the window screeching at the oblivious children who were variously watering some steps/touching dead leaves lying unloved on the grass to “STOP! STOP doing that! Get Your MOTHER here NOW!” while I cower behind the picnic tables waiting for her to stop.
2. We have been out to the Kensington Roof Gardens where they do actually have pink flamingoes living seven stories above Kensington High Street in a garden which has uneven paths and odd little bridges over strange little streams. How do I know the bit about the uneven paths? It is because I wore these:
Lovely new Stella McCartney wedges. Impossible to walk in, and very possible to make you fall over, twice. In the gardens, seven stories up in the air, on a still Tuesday summer night in the capital. The Wither Hills Estate marathon didn’t help much. Anyhoo. I hardy felt the gouged knee at the time.
3. Susan and I have progressed rather nicely with our Secret Genius Project and we are through to the semifinalist round of an industry competition. We are pitching to some safety experts in a ten minute prototype-less-but-heavy-on-the-powerpoint-presentation in three weeks. A bit like Dragon’s Den, but without the making-us-weep part. Probably. WHAT will I do with my HAIR???
4.I have branched out in my vegetable baking cannon to include Beetroot Brownie. It was a little bit like someone had made a perfectly normal and delicious brownie, promptly buried it unwrapped in the garden, only to retrieve it weeks later, brushing off the obvious clumps of mud, presenting it with a loving flourish. Unexpectedly, the children loved it. MORE CHOCOLATEY SOIL! MORE CHOCOLATEY SOIL! they clamoured. It was a win, more or less.
5. Noah has relinquished his cuddle blanket. It started off as a very intricate, lovingly woven blanket for the Baby Barnaby, was claimed by Noah, and was taken to bed for years. It looked like this: