One bad raspberry


Ok. So here is an extremely annoying thing that happened to me today.

Barnaby, who is my Type A seven year old, needs grommets put into his ears because of recurrent glue ear and intermittent deafness. He mishears everything and says ‘huh?” a lot, which is boring for him and me and everyone else. Grommets, doncha know, are small little round plastic donuts that get put into eardrums to equalise the ears properly and help drain fluid from behind the eardrum. Noah had the operation last year and it was Barnaby’s turn on the NHS free-health-providing-fairy-godmotheryness today. It’s school holidays, so there are four kids at home, and the operation has meant dramatic and extended childcare arrangements for the pre-operative assessments and the operation.

The hospital first asked us to come on the wrong day, when there were no ENT specialists working, then asked us to come two days later but an hour before ENT opened, so sent us away again. We walked back and forth to the hospital, navigating the Olympic chaos and road closures and heaving tourists and once we got there, took seven flights of stairs up and down as we got redirected from ward to ward because the elevators are slower than walking up a massive building.

But anyway, today arrived, the day of the operation, and it was made very clear that Barnaby couldn’t eat anything after 7am this morning until after his operation or the operation would be cancelled. Type A Barnaby was totally cool about this, and used his watch to make sure he ate well before 7am, and made big dramatic announcements about how he couldn’t eat, and how his stomach was so EMPTY. We packed his bag full of essential kit, such as 18 bakugan plastic balls and a fake velociraptor claw necklace and spare clothes and a book on The Simpsons, and endured a painful special trip to the supermarket with Ned and Casper on scooters, one of whom had wet his pants and the other behaving psychopathically, in order to fill his bag with his favourite food post the operation, as the hospital had ordered. (Favourite food, when you are seven, apparently consists of San Pelegrino limonata, a scotch egg and a packet of blueberries).

Anyway, while we were at the supermarket, getting stuff for later, Casper and Ned in the supermarket trolley ripping the top off a packet of raspberries and scarfing them, Barnaby turned to me and said, sort of surprised, “I just ate a raspberry.”

Which was uncharacteristic for him because it went against the rules which he likes to know and adhere to. And of course, it meant that when we arrived at the hospital for admission, I had to sheepishly tell the nurses, who told the doctors who told the anaesthetist, who told me, after an hour of sitting alongside Barnaby in the hospital bed, numbing cream daubed on his little boy-hands, after his weigh-in and his blood pressure being taken and the play specialist going through the operation with him, that the operation was cancelled. Because of the bloody raspberry. Tiny, squishy, full of about 10 seeds and some juice. Aaargh. I tried to be nice to Barnaby about it, because he is seven and a bit of a doofus, but it was hard. Really hard.

Other Things That Have Annoyed Me:

1. Not being able to watch the Olympics all day long. I watch them NEARLY all day long, but that’s not quite enough. Who knew I would turn all Justin Singleton about them? They are my new crush. All thoughts of Walter White and the blue meth have (mostly) dissipated.

2. Waitrose has employed a big security guard who came up to me this week expressly to tell me that no scooters were allowed in the shop, which I knew anyway, and then today, on the same ill-fated raspberry shopping jaunt, told me that Casper wasn’t allowed to sit in the trolley because of HYGIENE reasons. HYGIENE. What? Every kid since the dawning of time has sat in a grocery shop trolley. It is against the law of nature to make this an issue of hygiene. I say we reclaim the shopping trolleys for the children of the world. It’s so much better than them pulling stuff off the shelves and stealing the grapes, is it not?

3. The excellent, clever Serpentine Summer Pavilion, built by Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron has, until yesterday, been a lovely place to go to. But yesterday, we were told off by the security guard for playing on the irresistible soft and bouncy uneven cork surfaces. Like we have done for weeks. With no one telling us off.

PHEW For The Olympics

They are so lovely and good and make me cry every evening when we watch the same footage over and over again of British athletes being humble and marvellous. I love it. The weather is lovely, the roads are quiet, there are free things happening in the park, we get to feel patriotic for two countries, we get to see Olympians on our morning run, even! Well, today I did, through Hyde Park. It was some sort of cycling technical thing, but I burst into enthusiastic cheering for the New Zealanders and ran for an extra three minutes in homage. The kids mostly love it, except for the baby who screeches at the TV when we turn it on at 6:30am so as not to miss A THING and who screams “NO LIMPOCS! NO LIMPOCS!”. I say, suck it up, little fella. It only happens every four years.

So that’s kind of it. We have tickets to see the New Zealand women’s hockey next week, and some semi-final football, and we are taking the bigger kids to see the taekwondo. We have been crashing Kiwi House in King’s Cross fairly often, although we have found the whole BBQ-food-runs-out-at-8:30pm thing quite traumatic. Here are some photos, instagrammed and filtered and already posted. Apologies.

Two gay dogs at Portobello Road, in the rain, cranky but about to buy fair-trade coffee and browse the vintage film poster stall.

Noah turned six and asked for three cakes. Batman, Superman and Spiderman. They were pretty rubbish, really just a riot of M&M’s and plastic figurines bought hastily from Amazon when I realised I wasn’t actually able to craft superheroes out of cake. Except for Spiderman. He was a webby triumph.

Here is Casper at the Wishing Tree at the forest-bit at Benjamin Disraeli’s country pile:

 The children in Hyde Park, practising for future greatness.

The children, again, immersed in a video installation of a Brazilian artist digging a hole. It was 16 minutes of total silence. Thank you, Casa Brasil.

A life-size inflatable bouncy Stonehenge. Of course.



Casper bravely entering the duckish water at the Serpentine Lido. Just like those triathletes are going to do tomorrow.

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2 Responses to One bad raspberry

  1. 1. Barnaby has excellent taste. 2. God, the raspberry. 3. Your kids have the best life.

  2. Anya says:

    I can not believe the raspberry saga, that is ridiculous. When’s the op going to happen now then?

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