On Service

What a thing to neglect your writing. Better than neglecting a child or a dog I suppose, but still. It’s something of a shame. Partly this has to do with me being a working lady, partly to do with hours spent on my phone looking at various passing fancies such as my recent Victorian fob necklace mania (auction houses, eBay – 9ct gold albert chain searches gone mad, that kind of thing) and a little to do with the fact that the children have broken the laptop by watching too many youtube videos containing fake facts. For instance, Otis told me this morning that, if you put a spoonful of sugar into your tea but you decide you don’t want it in there anymore, you just stir it anticlockwise and the sugar separates and you can…scoop it out, I think he said. He has facts about nostril hair and WW1 and polar bears and gemstones, all patently rubbish and all from youtube Shorts.

Anyway, the laptop opens up onto a navy blue screen, and nothing else. We had a little laptop drama a few months ago (which I may have written about) where the manuscript of the novel that was going to save Waterstones got erased, and then every single photograph that I had ever taken and saved was displayed all over the desktop like some sort of nightmarish bespoke family wallpaper, and then all of the desktop files went away – hopefully into the cloud, but I do not understand the cloud and really doubt anything has been saved – and so this new navy screen was kind of on the cards. I decided to take the bull by the horns and go to the Apple store to sort it all out once and for all. Because I am such a busy working lady and must do all my chores at once, I also booked a bra fitting appointment at M&S because one of my friends quite often hints that my boobs are hanging too low and need some sort of proper scaffolding. Some hiking up from the mid ribcage area back to where they once stood. Stood? Protruded? Grew? So I took the hint and last Sunday, tried to sort myself out.

First stop was the M&S at Westfield. I took some kids with me and they went off with £7 each for lunch. I was free for a few minutes, and found my way into the lingerie department and felt a little excited about the new, probably bigger, yet tighter and lacier new bras I would be soon wearing. I was imagining my boobs would be finally at their best – with a bit of middle-aged fat to plump them out, but now, with added up-ness, like younger women or women who haven’t breastfed six kids might have.

Into the changing room, where some other poor lady had apparently taken my bosom-measuring slot – she was shown out the door and told to make another online appointment for another day, which seemed mad, being at there were only about three customers in the massive shop. A very young lady came in and chucked a tape measure around my ribcage, under my drooping boobs still optimistically cased in one of my now-non-elasticated bras, and then left to get me some merch. I was imagining Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley’s bras, or a middle-England version of sexy/pretty/functional kind of bra that would fit me so spectacularly that all my clothes would look different and I would look thin and high and young and amazing. But the girl came back in and gave me a white matronly bra, size 34 D and another beige bra which was my usual size. I tried the 34 D one on, because if I fitted that one, it might mean I was narrower that I thought, and all that extra weight around my back and arms was probably just glorious (though spreading) breast tissue after all. But no – the 34 D made big dents in my torso and squashed everything back out in little lumps. So the M&S salesgirl told me to try the other one on, which is my usual size. I did, and she came in and told me it was correct, and then left me to get changed and to leave the store. No selling, nothing else, no advice, no nice bras to entice me to refresh the lingerie drawer.

Apparently, through all those babies, up dress sizes and down, while still breastfeeding (yes, I am, and no, the baby is not really a baby anymore, but think of the antibodies! And the fact that I cannot let go!) my boobs have stayed the same size. What kind of fleshy madness is that? So I was massively bummed out, and wandered the lingerie section with my old crappy bra back on, boobs ten centimetres lower than they probably should have been, and I bought knickers that hold your stomach in instead. WHAT GLAMOUR.

Then, I found the children but they were crying because they had lost half of their lunch money and the eldest had mysteriously spent £9 on manga posters with mysterious money that he ‘found’. BIG scratching head moment right there, I tell ya. Then I went to Apple to sort out my navy screened laptop and opened it up and it worked perfectly. Screen back on. It even looked clean. The guy ran a diagnostics test and told me that everything was fine but the battery was rooted and needed replacing for £200, and perhaps the screen, bringing the replacement up to £680. Or I could get a reconditioned laptop for £850, or just a new one for a million pounds. I thought, all and all, once everything was said and done and weighed up and cooked, that I was better off to have a struggling laptop that would mostly work, but one day just never turn on again. So we went back home after finding that no one wanted to fix my boobs issue and no one wanted to fix my laptop issue and no one had eaten properly and I thought – what, really, was the point of all that? You could say that I did get new knickers but they are tight in that way that your organs hurt after a full day of wearing them, and if you angle your leg wrong, the muscles in your upper thighs get fatigued.

So this morning I tried the laptop again and guess what? It’s a navy screen. It probably died on the bus ride back home. That’s really why I haven’t been writing my blog much.

Photos of the Posh Hotel Weekend

Something amazing happened the weekend after my 44th birthday. We had booked a posh staycation weekend at a hotel near Birmingham for Mark’s birthday but then lockdown, etc etc, etc…and so we delayed it and went a few weekends ago. We are not hotel people, having grown up never hoteling anywhere, and then never doing it as adults because it’s a rich person’s thing to do, and definitely something to do without kids. But now our kids are old and we have a handy nephew who can help out every now and then.

We took off Friday and drove there, stopping at Leamington Spa and buying crystal decanters and Tam pottery from the local charity chops from Kenilworth, and then turned up at Hampton Manor for the best three days of probably our whole sorry lives. How does one go back to being ‘not really a hotel-kind-of-person’, I ask you? It was all excellent wallpaper and wonderful food and wine tastings and freshly baked sourdough and their own salted butter and hand-ground coffee and double ended baths and fire pits and record players and William Morris prints and reading the papers and early Autumn sun traps and kind ness and whispered voices and JOY. PURE JOY. Weird photos, but joyful, all the same.

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8 Responses to On Service

  1. Clare says:

    Lovely to have you back!
    I often find M&S a bit of a depressing experience. Too beige or too frilly and their hems always drop, which fills me with disproportionate rage. You look fantastic in that hotel pic, a truly fabulous outfit, the orange, the frogging, soooo chic! X

  2. rose says:

    Fabulous fun pictures and YOU LOOK GLORIOUS! Glad you had the time off together.
    Am certain you know the rebooting stuff and tried with the computer blue screen. Discouraging and EXPENSIVE. Bra shopping is always fraught but at the size implied you should have had quite an assortment and fun ones too. Try a different store or specialty location, I always hear Europe has far better selection and sizes and exquisite lingerie so your report is deeply discouraging.
    But you look Fabulous anyway. Get pretty unders, believe me, as decades fly past, being nice to you and wearing pretty things becomes increasingly important.
    Cheers and thank you for somehow finding time to post and cheer us all up!

    • theharridan says:

      Great advice – I will definitely try again. I agree about having nice underwear – in fact, aiming fit all the nice things. Life is short, etc etc xx

  3. Mina says:

    As a fellow saggy breastfeeder of an Unusual Number of Children, let me please share: Bravissimo is your new best friend! All the things you were hoping to happen- the elevation! The lace! The tightness without digging into your underboob! You will HAVE IT ALL. When I got my new amazing bras people thought I’d lost 5 pounds- no! I wanted to yodel, it is only because I am SUPPORTED! It has been glorious. They even do supportive swimwear and what-all. LOVE.

    • theharridan says:

      Did you go in for a fitting though? I am intrigued. Great bras can actually do all that?!?!

      • Yes! One has to book at one’s nearest shop and then a very nice cheerful woman helps you out and politely turns around whilst you disrobe and ALL of it. And they give you a nice little card with your new booby numbers on it so you don’t forget. I’m so excited for you! I recently got sports bras too and wow. Here I go leaping everywhere with the bosomiest confidence.

      • theharridan says:

        This is everything that I want right now!

        Sent from my iPhone


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