Halfway through the holidays, no homework done.

There has only really been pyjamas til midday and a smattering of brotherly suffocation. All in all, a very elegantly spent summer holiday, thank you very much, even if we have not been to the continent like every other self-respecting Londoner.

Of course, there were the riots last week, which initially seemed to be happening Somewhere Else, like south of the river or somewhere indistinctly north in some place that I have never been to, on account of being spoilt in my rich-person’s enclave of W2, where the most damage that may befall you happens to your credit card and just perhaps some old lady will yell at you, but not real damage damage.

But then the riots happened in Queensway! Like, two streets away! Look:

Aaaaand so that was a little bit too close for comfort. Now there are police everywhere, and in the days that followed the Notting Hill smash-n-grab there were cops dramatically arresting the local hoodies, and sirens going all the time. And everyone kept inside. Very apocalyptic, although also very short-lived. The shop windows had been boarded up, but the last few are now being replaced, and the show has gone on.

We were never really in any real danger at all – shopkeepers and small businesses were the ones who have been hurt, although patrons at The Ledbury were apparently robbed of their wallets and jewellery. PHEW lucky we weren’t there, spending a fortune on small but delicious puffs of parsley-flavoured souffles and tiny terrines.  We ate all that stuff at Maze on Saturday night instead, and had the kitchen tour, which was extremely awkward.

“Hello! How has your evening been? Please come over here (mind the boiling hotplate even though you are on your seventh small glass of perfectly matched Greek/South African/Austrian wine) and look at these sweating chefs who would really rather you moved out of the way so they could do their work, and LOOK! a bit of meat and another HOTPLATE! Thanks and byebye.”

Gordon was of course not there. And Neradah says I choose the wrong dessert, and she may well be right. The hazelnut parfait, NOT the lemongrass panna cotta! I am a pudding FOOL. Lessons learnt.

Anyway, the holidays are rapidly whittling away, week by non-productive week, and we have yet to go Camping. Mark thinks that it would be lovely. I disagree, but who am I to say that rain, three small violent boys, a hot gas cooker with a flame, thin nylon walls and a violent baby don’t bode well?  So we wait for a break in the weather and a lapse in the loft-conversion-industry to drive to Wales/Isle of Wight. We wait. We hope.


Casper had his booster shot yesterday, and he hardly whimpered, but shed silent, brave tears. When he got out of the nurse’s office, he turned to Barnaby, Noah and Ned and declared

“I nearly DIED”.

It was sweet. They are funny, when they are not garrotting each other with bits of string, which unfortunately happened in front of alarmed and vociferous teens in the garden while the babysitter was soothing a screaming Ned. We were trying to go out to Maze, trying to find dresses that would fit the upper arms without sleeves splitting at the seam, etc etc, and so sent them all out to the garden while we got dressed. Three minutes later they all came trooping back in, with a very shaken babysitter, a cross Barnaby and a red-eyed ashen-faced Noah. Barnaby had him pinned down on the ground and had a string around his neck. There was choking, there were strangers intercepting, there was yelling, there was another episode of PARENTAL SHAME. I get a bit sick of being known as the neighbourhood freakshow.

BUT. They did behave very nicely on Friday when we went to Southend-On-Sea for the day. Casper unfortunately tumbled headfirst down the escalator at Liverpool Street station, and there was some blood and some interaction with the First Aid team, and it was all before 9am, but then we decided that his head injury was quite mild and so a trip to the seaside would be the best thing for him. They swam and played in the fountains and ate fish and chips and had ice creams and I refused to let them play at the funfair.

“PLAY WITH THE SEAWEED! BACK TO THE WATER! NOW! No, we did not spent two hours on the tube and train for you to play arcade games and go on small and very average rollercoaster rides! Get back in the sea for a bit, and put a jumper on if you are cold!”

We are New Zealanders, after all. We are totally FINE about feeling cold and wet. We don’t need shoes. We are HARD. And we do not spend money on arcades and funfairs at the beach, because that is MENTAL.

Anyway, it was awesome, and I got to read about seven pages of my magazine. The rest of the time was taken up with Casper’s frequent trips to the public toilets. He kept telling me he needed to do a poo IMMEDIATELY and so we would wait in the queue, nervous, willing the people in front of us to be fast and not part of a huge and complicated extended family with weak and synchronised bladders only for Cas to sit on the toilet and fart. Small waste-of-time-and-emotional-energy farts. Again and again.

Enough bottom-talk. I have to go and clean the floor because the boys have been playing “Watermelon ShopKeeping”. It involves knives, watermelons, and shot glasses.

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2 Responses to Halfway through the holidays, no homework done.

  1. Kerry says:

    Ah I meant to ask you how your seaside trip went! Poor Caspar falling down the escalator. And how I laughed at “I nearly DIED”!

  2. alison cross says:

    Was thinking about you during the riots – glad to hear that you were all OK.

    Your brood sound like they had a GREAT day out – despite the war-wound. Oh the joy of those trips to the toilet. The endless trips to the toilet. Worse is the mess caused by someone THINKING they might just slip out a wee fart….only for there to be, erm, follow-through.

    I like the sound of watermelon shopkeeping.

    Ali x

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