When my boys were young, my protective instincts were clearly on overload compared to today's modern mothers!
I would internally panic whilst they went on swings and associated playground paraphernalia. Yesterday I was with a friend whose 3 year old daughter went on a zip wire of all things! OK, so her mother Fern had the energy to run alongside her making sure she didn’t fall off, but these things launch at Mach 3 and then ricochet off the stop at the other end with such a huge jolt as to break every bone in your body. Why then was the child laughing and craving more? It made no sense to me at all, and I had chewed off the inside of my cheek with anxiety whilst watching from the sidelines. I guess the tranquillity of the Butterfly Farm had been a bit too much for the young soul to tolerate and energy needed to be expended.
Staying with that theme, I was somewhat horrified and not a little frightened when performing my morning ablutions today, until I remembered that I had eaten beetroot yesterday and therefore hadn’t developed an ulcer or some terminal illness overnight. Phew, quite a relief, on all counts!
Luckily my friend runs a lingerie shop. Well in fact she will shortly be opening her third, and is becoming the successful entrepreneural woman about town we would all like to emulate. 'Do you have any big bum pants', I asked her. 'It so happens we do', she said, producing a pair of OOOSXXXX sized knickers from the depths of a drawer. I don’t think she was taking my request too seriously; whilst I do have a big bum, it aint that big.
Another friend who also happened to be in the shop, modelled them for me over her clothes, demonstratng their versatility and wearing them as if a bathing suit. So big were they, they fitted her from knee to armpit.
I have been lucky enough to visit France twice this summer, the second time was just the other week when we flew to Bergerac, which I discovered is a part time airport, and only opens from April to September. Mind you it comes as no surprise. The last time we flew there, our flight was late and so the customs guy went home for his lunch. Consequently half the plane load entered the country unchecked. As for the remainder, upon his return those unfortunate enough to be the holders of a British passport were treated with the utmost distain by the disgruntled official called back early from his siesta. He virtually threw our passports back at us. The luggage collection point is basically a corrugated iron shed with a shute, down which your cases are unceremoniously flung, piling high at the bottom in a disorderly heap, and the facilities in the departure lounge comprise one toilet and a vending machine. No expense spared.
Anyway customs was fully operational this time; a guy in a chair with a stomach the size of a small vineyard, and a one eyed poodle with an unsavoury rear end keenly monitored our every movement. We hired a car and made our way to a little village just north of Duras where we were staying with my sister in law. There were thirteen of us and two dogs all told, and we spent a very pleasant largely lazy time around the pool reading and dozing in the sun. The previous evening had seen us attend an outdoor proms concert, complete with an arial Spitfire display (piloted by a woman – the guy that restored it died before he could fly it, so his wife took lessons so she could fly it instead), soldiers on horseback and cannons for the 1812 overture, and then a grand firework finale.
It was a great night, not least because for the first time in living memory, there were enough ladies toilets! Yes ladies, no queuing, can you believe it! Normally you take root in the queue, its so long. You pay £35 to stand and look at the back of someone’s head, missing all the action. But not this time.
The next morning we had to make our way to an out of town parking facility and get a bus back to the airport, and, a completely new experience, I was preparing to be sick in my handbag, having first removed my passport from the line of fire. Luckily just when I really thought I was past the point of no return, we arrived at our destination and the fresh air revived me. The drivers sweaty pits, the diesel fumes and the most tortuous winding route down roads only designed for a horse did nothing to assist my hangover that morning.
I have passed my maths GCSE! I cant tell you how pleased I was. It was only 44 years ago that I took it for the first time and failed miserably, so better late than never folks.
Did I mention that I am going to Warwick University! My family are sick of hearing it. However I have been putting off logging on to their website because I just am so hopeless at anything not printed off in black and white in front of me, and I knew that anxiety would flow down my arms, through my fingers onto the keys, and make me do something totally stupid. I mean, what is a log in portal for starters, anybody know?? I didn’t let myself down and true to form, whilst I managed to upload a photo, complete online enrolment and print off an enrolment certificate from a PDF link, somehow when it came to setting up my university email account, it all went pear shaped.
I was doing so well too, I was getting quite excited that for once I might just actually be able to do it for myself without getting help, but no ….. I spent the next 20 minutes on the phone to their IT helpdesk! The woman was so patient and I was acutely embarrassed at my lack of knowledge. What’s more it’s still not sorted since there is now a problem with my password. Bring back chalk and slate I say! I have however been fortunate to get rather special attention from my senior tutor in the form of an email, telling me there is no need to worry and all will be revealed during the first week of university life. He must think I can do this; that man has no idea how grateful I am to hear from him.
Proceedings kick off on 1st October with a welcome address from the vice chancellor, but after that I don’t have a Scooby what to expect!
Educating Sue: Rules of Indigestion
Educating Sue: An Education