Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
I took the girls out on a trip to the swimming pool at the weekend, followed by a trip to our favourite cafe.
We had an amazing time, in fact we had a perfect time. So much so that as we sat enjoying our perfect desserts, after our perfect lunch I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe I didn't completely suck at this parenting lark.
The Universe is quick to punish arrogance of this magnitude.
Come Monday I was back to my usual position as working mama who gets to walk through the door just as the witching hour is really cranking up a notch and referee between over tired children.
As I sat on the sofa listening to Alfie beat Olive over the head with a balloon, and trimming Esme's nails, I felt my patience pick up speed on the downhill course towards me utterly losing my shit.
Despite having been asked repeatedly to stop, Alfie was determined and so after the last nail was trimmed I vaulted over the back of the sofa to confiscate the balloon.
I scuffed my toe on the way over and I knew as soon as I landed something was wrong because it felt like my little toe wasn't there and more.
What would maybe be a more accurate description would be to say it was no longer in the right place or, in fact, the right shape.
I told Keith I thought I needed to go to the emergency room and he started laughing.
Because he is an asshat.
Sorry husband, I love you, but laugh in my face when I'm screaming at you that I need a doctor makes you an asshat.
Extra asshat points for suggesting I "just pop it back in" myself while still laughing.
So anyway, long story short is that I somehow managed to dislocate AND break my toe on the back of the sofa, because I couldn't just calmly deal with Alfie's overtired antics like any sane parent would have done.
Clearly I, too, am an asshat.
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Take the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI; there are any number of very formal ways that the city could have marked the occasion. Instead, they have pasted images of ten soldiers with their personal stories around the city, near the places they lived, worked and went to school.
Every time I see them I’m reminded of the last lines of my favourite war poem.
Actually I’m not sure favourite it the right word, but it’s definitely the most enduring piece of my school education and the moment that I realised two important things; that a passionate teacher is a rare and precious gift, and that I was hopelessly in love with writing.
It was an alignment of stars that led me to that point, orchestrated by a wonderful teacher called Mrs Hughes.
We had to study poetry for our English GCSEs, and we were given the rare opportunity to pick the collection we would use. We took a vote, and after a landslide in favour of War Poets, we were all sent away to buy our anthology.
A few days later Mrs Hughes stood in front of her recalcitrant audience and asked us to open our books.
After taking a deep breath, she began to read:
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.