Not Another Pumpkin

I survived half term! I’m totally and utterly Halloweened out but I survived.  It was a solo parenting affair as Braai Boy was with his Mistress.  Don’t worry he’s not traded me in for a younger, svelte, less nagging model.  When I talk about his mistress I mean the other love of his life, the Army.  I will give him his due he did try to take one whole day off, he even put his out of office on.  Unfortunately this did not stop emails and phone calls.  Good job I didn’t cancel the catch up with friends that I had organised otherwise I would have been a teeny tiny bit p*ssed off.

I really wish I could be one of those parents that has a gazillion ideas of how to entertain their kids.  You know they type I mean, the organised ones that have jars filled with little bits of paper with activities and day trips on  ‘Go on kids pick from the jar and we will have a lovely day and post pics all over social media of you being smiley happy kids’.  Well that’s not me I’m more ‘If you stay in bed and go straight to sleep I’ll think of something fun to do tomorrow’ I then spend the evening with a glass of wine scouring the internet for stress free stuff to do with the kids.

So, what did we do this half term?  Well, it was Halloween week so obviously there were pumpkins involved.  On Braai Boys non day off we left him at home answering calls and furiously tapping the keyboard.  We went to visit friends.  The activity of the day was pumpkin carving, the kids lost interest in scooping out the slimy insides after about 2 minutes so it was left to 3 very enthusiastic Mums to get the job done (we obviously still had patience and enthusiasm as it was the start of the half term).  The kids requested that we carve the  meanest, scariest, weirdest pumpkins.  Once the kids had ‘drawn’ their desired design on the pumpkins we did our very best to decipher the scrawling black pen.

In the car on the way home Miss Sassy and Wee Man proudly sat with their (MY!) carved pumpkins on their laps.  They were desperate to see them lit up in all their glory.  When we got home I put a candle in each pumpkin and it was at this point that Wee Man totally lost it.  I’m talking snot, tears, unintelligible shouting, all I did was put a candle in a bloody pumpkin.  I finally worked out what he was shouting, apparently that the cyclops I had carved for him, which I thought was pretty scary and a fair representation of his scribble, wasn’t scary enough for him.  In Wee Mans words ‘it’s not MAAAAAAAD Mama, I wanted MAAAAAAAAD’.  So, the next day off we went to get more pumpkins.  Pumpkin carving Round 2.  With a sigh I asked ‘What do you want me to carve?’ both Kids decided they wanted Ninjago (Lego Ninjas for those of you who don’t know).  It took me a while but I did it.  Quite pleased with my Ninja like pumpkins I popped a candle in them, turned off the lights and called the kids through to the kitchen.  Ta Daaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I shouted with a big smile on my face, feeling smug that we had 2 Ninjago pumpkins.  Wee Man burst into tears, it wasn’t MAD enough.  Mummy fail for the second day on the trot, so I put a bottle of wine in the fridge and the kids in front of the TV.  When they went to bed I sat in the kitchen drinking a semi cold glass of wine with all 5 pumpkins lit, if they weren’t going to enjoy them I bloody well was!

The next day was the day of the Patch Halloween Party.  I set about making pumpkin crispy cakes which were a disaster, they ended up being orangey peachy coloured crispy cakes.  The kids decorated cupcakes which they then ate for lunch.  Then it was time to get ready for the Party.  Miss Sassy was a zombie bride, she asked for me to make her look fierce, I painted her face silver and drew cobwebs on her cheeks.  Wee Man wore a skeleton onesie, and of course he wanted his face painted because Miss Sassy had hers done, I got as far painting his face white then he got bored and ran off.  Basically I made Miss Sassy look like a robot zombie bride that had been got at by spiders and Wee Man just looked ill.

The kids were desperate to get on with the Trick or Treating so once Braai Boy had escaped work and found us at the Patch Party off we went.  The rule was ‘no light or pumpkin no knock’, of course this did not stop the sugar filled kids trying every door they could looking for their next fix.  All we could hear as we went around was parents shouting ‘just take one’, ‘say thank you’, ‘you can’t eat that now’, ‘where’s your brother’, ‘watch out for the step’, ‘do you need a wee’, ‘no I won’t carry you’ and so on.  By half 6 we were done, Miss Sassy’s bucket was full, Wee Man was beyond tired so we headed home.  The bucket of sweets we had left outside our door had been decimated much to Braai Boys disappointment.  Our pumpkins were intact, the kids were tired, wine was in the fridge.  On Halloween we definitely had a winning day!

Half Term week finished as it had started with a Soft Play birthday party.  The first weekend we went to stay with Curly Locks, it was her little girl’s birthday party. The clocks changed on Saturday night, we decided to drink through the extra hour, we didn’t really think that through given we were up at stupid o’clock with the kids who were super excited to go to the soft play party.  The party started at 0930, ouch my head.  Braai Boy was there in body not spirit you see he was plugged into his phone watching his beloved Springboks playing in the Semis of the Rugby World Cup.  The last weekend of half term was pretty much the same story.  This time I took the kids to a birthday party at a dinosaur soft play, I have to say it was brilliant.  I say that, it was brilliant apart from the dance floor which flashed non stop, causing most of us to feel dizzy and slightly sick.  Braai Boy missed out on the flashing dance floor he was in a bar drinking beer watching his team win the Rugby World Cup.  In all honesty I am glad I wasn’t watching the game with him, I am not a great loser and his is not a gracious winner.

And there we are, some winning, some losing and definitely some wining!  Half Term holidays survived, now let’s get to Christmas. 

It’s a tough job but…..

Braai Boy has been to some really very interesting places since we have been married. Me?  Not so much.  I do not count the Worlds Food section in Tesco as seeing the world and I definitely do not think that suburbia can be classed as interesting.

As you may have gathered Braai Boy has travelled a fair bit for work.  He does get the occasional night or weekend off when he is working away.  Over the years he’s had fresh seafood in California, hot wings in Texas, cold beers in Chamonix and drank wine in a marina somewhere or other, I chose to forget where as it looked amazing and I was jealous.  I could go on but I will just get very jealous then be a right cow to him when he walks through the door tonight.

We always have the same ‘discussion’ about when he goes out when he is away for work.  I say that it must be fun to go to see all these places and experience different things.  I then get told,  it is work Charlie, so it is not time off and it is not fun time, it is work.  Oh I’m sorry, is it relaxing? Has someone else cooked for you? Have you had to do the dishes? More importantly have you just had to chase a naked Wee Man round the house to get him into the bath then spend the best part of 2 hours trying to get Miss Sassy to go to sleep (she is up and down like a bloody jack in the box, sore finger, spiky hips, pins and needles in her tummy and so on, you could write a book about her night-time ailments).  No, you have not!  So it may be work but I think it is slightly more relaxing that my evenings can be. 

Ah, but when I am away in a bar with an ice cold beer or eating delicious food we talk about work, so it’s really like being at work.  Is it?  Is it really?  I don’t see a marina outside the Mess here, and I definitely don’t see a bar in your office.  And whilst you are enjoying your ice cold beer in a bar surrounded by adults talking about adult stuff, albeit work, the kids and I are discussing Paw Patrols and LOLs. 

And while we’re at it have you had to do any cleaning whilst you have been away for work?  No?  Can we talk about the sh*t tip that is the house at the end of the day because the kids think that chucking glitter over all the toy cars is a great idea, Look Mama we’re washing the cars………..deep breath, walk out the room and go and make a cuppa. 

Then we get on to the actual travel element of his work trips.  Travelling to these places is so tiring, the early starts, the long journeys and the lack of sleep.  No wait. Early starts you say?  Yep I hear you, Wee Man stumbles through to our room most days at 0500, Miss Sassy is frequently awake through the night with bad dreams or random questions.  Early starts you say?  Broken sleep?  Yup happens at home too.  Not being funny I would take an early morning plane ride to anywhere if it meant I got to watch a movie without interruption and not have to google the answers to Miss Sassys many questions.  Last night was evolution…….Alexaaaaaaaa???

Don’t get me wrong, I know when he goes away it is work, and it is long hours and it is tough being away from the family but surely there must be some fun?  I know he thinks about us when he is away because he brings home a fridge magnet after every trip.  How thoughtful of him, every time I go to get the milk I see all these places I have never visited taunting me from the fridge door, oh well maybe one day. 

The Interior: Marvellous Magnolia

If any of you have ever stepped inside a military house you may have noticed a few things such as, magnolia walls, sinks in bedrooms and interesting colours of curtains and carpets.

Oh, the carpets, the thread bare, worn, stained carpets.  You know what I am talking about don’t you?  When you March-In to a Quarter and the Housing Officer tells you the carpets are beyond life and with 2 kids you jump for joy.  Yeeeees! No need to buy industrial quantities of carpet cleaner these carpets will be replaced when we March-Out, phew!  We’ve had cream carpets, green carpets, pink carpets even some weird blue-ish-green carpets.  Our last Quarter had the pink carpets, really very pink carpets and we have maroon sofas, I used to feel like I was watching TV sitting in a womb. 

The walls are always magnolia, every single wall in the house is magnolia.    To be honest I don’t mind magnolia, I grew up in military housing so there is something homely and comforting about magnolia walls.  I remember when we were dating, Braai Boy took me to his bosses for dinner.  It was one of those occasions when you are surrounded by Smug Military Marrieds and you are ‘girlfriend of’.  One of the ‘wives of’ took great delight in telling me all about her Quarter.  She told me about the best Laura Ashley fabrics and incredibly expensive pots of paint containing gold leaf (really?  What the actual?) which would transform any Quarter.  As she droned on I drank wine, lots of wine, you know what they say? that you drink to make boring people interesting, well by the end of dinner she was the most fascinating person at the table. 

Don’t get me wrong for those who do repaint their Quarters I absolutely take my hats off to them, they make their Quarters look fresh, modern and welcoming with a splash of colour here and there.  Unfortunately I am inherently lazy when it comes to decorating our home, we will move in 2 years so why bother?  I say that, but I like to decorate the kids rooms, decorate is probably a little generous a description, I buy them wall stickers.  In our last Quarter it was safari animals for Wee Man and fluorescent stars for Miss Sassy.  I stupidly stuck the stars to the ceiling thinking it would be like staring at the sky at night and it would be soothing for Miss Sassy and help her go to sleep.  What was I thinking?  More light emitting crap in her room, it is no joke when I say that at night her bedroom is light up like the Blackpool Illuminations, how she gets to sleep I’ll never know.  Ha! No wait, she doesn’t go to sleep.  This time round its looking like dinosaurs for Wee Man and Miss Sassy is still trying to decide but I can tell you now that the stickers will not be fluorescent and they will not be stuck to the bloody ceiling.

I think the feature that most of my friends have found the most bizarre about our Quarters is sinks in bedrooms.  Honestly, a sink with a mirror and sometimes even a strip light.  Well, why not?  Makes sense right? It frees up the bathroom for people to shower and you can stay in your room fannying about doing your teeth, hair and so on without people shouting at you to get a move on.  Have any of our visitors even puked or peed in the bedroom sinks? I dread to think, maybe? Probably? If you have please don’t tell me! 

I hate the kitchen light.  In every single kitchen we have had the light has been a 1 metre long tube light.  When I say tube light I don’t mean in the super trendy Grand Designs kind of way but in the hospital corridor kind of way.  They are very bright and a pain in the ar*e to clean.  As ugly as they are beasties are attracted to these tube lights.  I have no idea how they manage to penetrate the plastic cover, I find it nearly impossible to it get off.  In fact I only empty the light fitting of beasties when Braai Boy comments that it’s getting a bit full or before my Mum comes to visit.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve loved every single one of our Quarters in a different way, after all you make them your home. What I can tell you is that when we finally get our Forever Home, as opposed to our Just Now Home, I have lots of ideas of what I do and don’t want.  Don’t worry I suspect magnolia paint may make an appearance, just to make us feel at home.

The Potato and the Pirate

The weather yesterday was pretty miz.  The kids did arts and crafts in the morning, I say arts and crafts what I mean is Miss Sassy chucked glitter round the dining room and Wee Man stamped Play-Doh into the carpet.  To prevent further redecoration of our house and to save my sanity I decided we had to get out of the house.  So we headed in to town for a shoppette.

Now, here’s the thing Wee Man had been wearing a pirate outfit all weekend.  This pirate outfit has a top which has foam padding in the shape of pecs, it make Wee Man look like he’s stacked, it’s a bit odd to be honest, but he loves it. Anyway, he outright refused to take it off, there was no amount of bribery that was going to get that damn outfit off him. Don’t worry though as we left the house I was told by Miss Sassy that he’s a pirate mama, and pirates wear a uniform, just like Daddy.  So, if Daddy can leave the house in uniform so can my brother, Ok mama? Well, OK then that was me told!

Braai Boy was in desperate need of a suit, a shiny new suit to wear to work when he wasn’t in uniform.  Whilst Braai Boy looked for a suit I had Miss Sassy teaching a headless mannequin how to do the Cha Cha Cha daaaaarling, she is obsessed with Strictly and has started to impersonate Craig Revel-Horwood, give me strength.  As she was dancing with the mannequin singing the Strictly theme tune at the top of her voice, Wee Man was protesting at being strapped into his buggy LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! I WANT TO WALK NOOOOOOOW!   Erm, no son you can stay right where I can see you, not touching anything, not pulling anything just sitting shouting that will be just fine.  Needless to say we were that annoying noisy family in the store.

Before we were kicked out of the store I decided we’d better leave.  Braai Boy stayed to find his perfect post deployment suit and I headed to the M&S Food Hall with the kids.  There was me marching through the Food Hall pushing the buggy with Wee Man protesting at his incarceration and Miss Sassy doing her best Oti impression.  All we needed to get was a potato for the Roast.  I know I know, who was I kidding?  Its M&S for goodness sake, I never stick to my shopping list in M&S, I end up with all the yumminess I can carry.  I say carry because I never get a shopping basket or a trolley that would be far too dangerous.

Wee man was trying to escape his buggy, so as I wrestled him back in I sent Miss Sassy off to get the biggest potato she could find.  She came back and proudly showed me a potato with 2 stickers , it must be special mama it has 2 stickers. It’s all about the stickers in our house at the moment.  With Wee Man potty training he gets stickers as a reward.  To be honest it doesn’t matter what the sticker is of as long as he gets it.  So a potato with 2 stickers on is the best thing in the whole wide world for Wee Man.

The potato was now the most wanted prize for the kids.  Miss Sassy kept waving it just out of Wee Mans reach, then putting it on his lap and grabbing it just before he could get it, then she started donking him on the head with it.  I got down on one knee and quietly tried to resolve the situation my reward was being hit on the head by the prize potato.  Oh My days, give me strength! Its a bloody potato, its not like they could eat it.  I had to find a distraction. 

So with my 2 lovely kids shouting at each other about the prize potato I stomped off down the aisle.   Miss Sassy then requested everything she saw; Can we have prawns? Can we have some ham? Can we have that stuff there? Can we have a sweet? Can we have that? Can we have a pudding? No, no, no, no, no, YES! Yes you can have a pudding, give the potato to your brother, and you hold this. I placed a delicious looking cherry pie in her hands and told her under no circumstances could it be damaged (or used to hit Wee Man) as this was our pudding after our roast.

And that was that, our Sunday afternoons entertainment.  You will be pleased to hear that Braai Boy did indeed get a lovely new suit, which he is wearing today and that our cherry pie got home pretty much intact.  I’m now off to boil up the roast chicken bones to make stock for some homemade soup just like my Nanna used to make it. 

Note: I would have written this yesterday but Wee Man has the cold and needed a bit of TLC last night.

Getting the Quarter

It’s always exciting moving into a new house isn’t it?  Even more exciting when you have no idea what the house you will be living in is like inside, no I have not gone bonkers let me explain what I mean. 

Once your partner knows where their next job is they can then apply for a Quarter.  Is it like looking to rent on Right Move I hear you ask? Pa ha ha ha if only! 

So, lets take our move here as an example of the workings of the system, let’s call the system Mil-Move.  Braai Boy submitted the application for our Quarter on Mil-Move whilst he was deployed, just what he needed on top of all his deployment stuff was to have little old me on Whats App nagging; when will we have a house? Where will it be?  I need dates, dates husband I need dates and a postcode so I can sort out a school and nursery!?! 

Guess what?  Mil-Move showed no Quarters were available, nil, nada, nothing.  At this point we were 3 months out from moving and I was starting to get itchy feet, I needed to get on and do The Move research, very important things like, nearest McDonalds, 24hour garage and swimming lessons.

With me at the end of Whats App being nothing short of a total pain in the ar*e Braai Boy checked Mil-Move daily to see if any Quarters had come up.  A week went by and nothing, then another week still nothing and the day before our application was due to expire up popped a Quarter.  We had to act fast, if this was also offered to someone else we could lose it.  There was a flurry of Whats Apps between Braai Boy and I, he was trying to do his day job and I was in the middle of Tescos.  I didn’t ask for any details and told him to accept it, which he duly did.  Yeeeeees we had a Quarter! Happy as a pig in the proverbial because I could get on with researching our new neighbourhood I skipped round Tesco completing the weekly food shop.

And then he sent the photo (a screen shot from his computer), one single fuzzy photo of our new family home.  Forget white picket fence and flower beds full of roses.  The photo showed a house behind a wire mesh fence with a front garden that resembled an urban jungle and to top it all off part of the house had scaffolding on it.  My heart sank, was this his idea of a joke?  Nope, it was the image that was on Mil-Move, the only image on Mil-Move.  The descriptions are not much use either unless you’re interested in the thickness of the loft insulation or date the house was built, our was given a 20year window (houses used to take a long time to build back then don’t you know?).

So, with limited information like many other military families I would rely on the power of Social Media.  If you are lucky you can find someone who has lived in a similar Quarter and they may send you photos and if you are really very lucky floorplans.  In some cases your future neighbours may offer to take photos through the windows of the Quarter, once you see past the reflection of their phones in the windows these can be helpful.  In the past I’ve even had a woman knock on the door and ask (very politely and a bit embarrassed) if she could have a look round our Quarter and take some measurements for furniture as she was moving in to a similar Quarter down the street. You’ve got to love the military community.

Anyway, back to this Quarter. I distractedly packed the food shopping into bags whilst my mind when into overdrive I had images of my kids swinging monkey stylie on the scaffolding, getting lost in the front ‘jungle’ garden and scaling the wire mesh fences. But surely the Quarter would not be on the Mil-Move if it was in disrepair? Or would it? I hurriedly paid the cashier who must have thought I was bonkers as I had been muttering away to myself as I packed the shopping. Once I got home I would get on Social Media, in the meantime there was only one thing I could do, phone Sazzle. Sazzle is that friend who is always the voice of reason, the friend who has common sense in abundance and knows me better than I know myself. Ten minutes later she had calmed me down and told me she would do a recce of the Quarter and area the next day. You will be pleased to hear that the Quarter was scaffolding free, there was no sign of the wire mesh and Sazzle did not get arrested for loitering on MOD property.

And there we have it, Mil-Move at its best.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without the military community, good friends and social media.  We moved into our Quarter and it was absolutely fine, well apart from the blocked drains, blocked guttering and dodgy manhole covers, but apart from that all was good.  That’s enough from me, I’m off to chase some repair jobs with the contractor, wish me luck!

Banana-Gate: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

Learning to live as a family again

It’s been over a month since Braai Boys been home.  There’s been some readjustment, as you can imagine.  It’s taken a while for the kids to understand that Daddy going to work this time doesn’t mean Daddy going to the desert, I think they’re missing their daily Daddy sweetie.  It’s alright though, Wee Man will be potty training soon so he can eat all the sweets all day, as long as he sits on the damn potty and stops throwing it at me.

We’ve been catching up with friends and family and are frequently asked ‘what’s it like being back together after 2 years of mostly living apart?’, our bog-standard answer is ‘it’s great!’.  Then I’m take aside and asked ‘how is it REALLY’.  Well, the last month has been like an extended team building exercise. 

When any employer told me we were going on a team building day I would get excited at the thought of a day paintballing where I could target any colleague who had p*ssed me off.  Sadly paintballing or other such fun was not to be had instead we were normally packed into a sweaty conference room, sat at tables which had a crappy free pen, a large bowls of boiled sweets and a bottle of luke warm water on it.  An HR Bod would be at the front delivering uninspiring slides about team building blah blah blah, followed by an activity or role play, urgh, makes me cringe just thinking about it.

The one presentation I do remember must have taken place first thing in the morning when I was buzzing from drinking a lot of coffee and eating most, ok all, of the sweets. The HR Bod talked about Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.  I think it’s because it all rhymed that I’ve always remembered it, similar to I before E except after C (which I still sing outloud when I am writing).  Basically this HR theory can be applied to our family life over the past month: 

Forming:  This was all about dependence on a leader, yep that’s me!  The kids have enjoyed telling Braai Boy frequently that Mama is the Boss, Mama knows best (they got that from the Disney movie Tangled) and Mama would let us do it.  That last phrase, Mama would let us do it, isn’t strictly true.  There are times when the kids have been destroying the house making their umpteenth den of the day and frankly I can’t be ars*d to argue with them so I let them get on with it. As the Boss, I am responsible for answering all the questions and making all the decisions, until the family have reached a point of harmony (pah!).  To help Braai Boy out I wrote him a Kids list, a list of changes to the kids, their likes and dislikes, routine changes and so on.  My expectation was for him to read, digest and act on said list to ensure a smooth re-entry into family life.  I know he read it.

Storming:  Does what it says on the tin really.  After being the sole decision maker for the last 2 years I now have to, I can barely type this, I now have to discuss things and even worse compromise.  Argh that awful word, compromise, I don’t think we had anything about compromise in our wedding vows, I must check that.  It is no longer what I say goes, no longer me making the decisions on everything all the time.  I actually have to ask for someone’s opinion, erm, yes, it’s been difficult for me to relinquish control.  You see, it’s not the big things that cause all the bother, it’s the small things.  We’ve had a few ‘lively discussions’ about really very important things like where pans should go in the kitchen, self-emptying dishwashers, where the hoover lives and what we should have for dinner. 

To be honest food appears to be the most ‘discussed’ topic in our house.  You see, I’m used to buying what food I want when I want, deciding what I eat and when I eat it, as long as the kids are fed and happy I have no-one else to worry about.  When I try to plan dinner this is pretty much how the conversation goes ‘what do you fancy tonight?’  ‘I don’t know you decide’, ‘I decide every night why don’t you decide’, ‘I can’t think I’m tired’, ‘so am I, how about pizza?’, ‘nah I don’t fancy that’, ‘what about stirfry’, ‘nah too much chopping’, ‘Jackets potatoes?’, ‘nope that’s lunch not dinner’, ‘Ok so what don’t you want’, ‘I don’t know’ and so on. 

Norming:  Settling in to family life again, we all now know where we stand.  At this point I would like to point out that the kids still say that Mama is the Boss but Daddy makes the best egg sandwiches and basically does everything better than Mama, but I am still the Boss so I will take that. 

Performing:  Getting on with life and that’s where we are now, life has settled down, especially now the kids are back at school, Braai Boy is at work and I can actually get sh*t done.

Despite going through our extended family team building last week we had an incident.  This could have been avoided if Braai Boy was psychic, sadly he is not.  Let’s talk about Banana-gate.  Braai Boy returned from deployment fit, healthy and slim, really very slim.  Me?  After the school holidays, The Move and the family holiday I was back to snugger jeans.  Time to sort myself out.  First up was to start eating brekkie and not just filling up on coffee.  The healthy option was banana on toast, easy because there are always bananas and bread in the house.  So, there was me, all set for Day 2 of healthiness skipping down the stairs to have another yummy fruit filled brekkie when I got to the fruit bowl and the last banana was gone.  I stood there like some kind of idiot just staring at the fruit bowl.  The last banana had gone, MY last banana had gone. 

When he got home that night I questioned his choice of breakfast, he stated ‘You don’t like brown bananas Charlie’ to which I replied ‘That’s not the point, it was my banana, brown or not it was mine’, he frowned at me and said ‘You would have thrown it in the bin and not eaten it’, to which I replied ‘Yes, but it was MY banana to throw away’, ‘But Charlie that’s a waste of food’, I rolled my eyes and feigning defeat sighed ‘It’s OK, don’t worry about it’

Little did he know I had just used one of the 5 Deadly Terms Used By A Woman.  Looks like we may be back to storming for a while.  Given his lack of psychic skills I have sent him the list of Deadly Terms, you know, just to remind him that what I say and what I mean are rarely the same thing.  Anyway enough wittering on for today, I’m off to decide what we’re having for dinner, no wait, he’s not here, jacket potato it is then.

En Vacances

We got back from holiday last week and as with all holidays it feels like forever ago.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I try to speak a different language I take on some weird accent.  When I try and speak French my accent has a cockney twang.  Basically I speak Del Boy French, mange tout mange tout, bonnet da douche and so on.  You know what though?  At least I try, it doesn’t matter if I am not understood I have given it a good shot and as I tell the kids all you can do is try your best.  Two days into the holiday and I got an eye infection argh, no contact lenses therefore no shades therefore lots of wrinkle inducing squinting humph!  Armed with some French medical phrases looked up on t’internet off I went to the Pharmacy.  I needn’t have bothered, the pharmacist thought I was talking English and we ended up doing very many hand gestures before she produced some eye drops.  Well, they were either eye, nose or ear drops, not entirely sure which.  Either way they worked.

We spent time on the beach, in the pool, on the water slides and in the soft play.  Yes, that’s right in the softplay.  Those of you who know me know I am not a fan of soft play I would rather stick pins in my eyes whilst watching Mr Tumble.  This soft play was different, the French know how to do a soft play, there was a bar.  There was a bar that sold ice cold beer in fancy pants glasses.  The weather wasn’t amazing but we are British so we are used to the rain, I kept telling the kids their skin was waterproof and a little rain never hurt anyone, apart from when I nearly went arse over tit outside the shop on the wet tiled floor.

The one thing that really tickled me this holiday was one British family.  The Dad was one of those that took photos upon photos and with every photo he shouted at his kids ‘Say FROMAGE!’.  Right, I get being in a different country and using the language, in my case badly, but to take a photo you want people to smile.  So just try this whilst you read, say cheese………….your mouth is forced into a plastic fake smile (think Wallace and Gromit) but at least it is close to a smile.  Now say Fromage……….you end up looking like you are catching flies, mouth wide open and several double chins.  Their holiday pics are going to be hilarious.

Our journey back from holiday was looooooooong. In short we were up at 0430hrs and got home at 2030hrs.  Before we had even left the campsite I had set off the fire alarm after having a shower with water that was near boiling.  The kids were out of bed like a bullet and it probably woke our neighbours up, I didn’t really care about the neighbours given Mrs Shouty next door had no volume control, right back at ya Mrs!  The first few hours of the journey were done in darkness, sadly not silence.  As Miss Sassy was educating Wee Man about the dark or as she charmingly called it the Chasm of Death!  According to Miss Sassy in the dark everything looks bigger, everything looks enormous, almost giant like, right, that’s it, with my thighs it’s sex with the lights on from now on!

There’s that saying isn’t there, if Carlsberg did, well if Carlsberg did ferries they would have done the Brittany ferry we travelled home on.  There was soft play, a pantomime, a colouring competition, circus skills, dance offs, games and a cinema.  It was 8 hours of pure joy for the kids.  The ferry was full of parents of young children looking like they needed a bucket of coffee, a sh*t load of patience and another holiday.  The entertainment team did their job well, winding the kids up to near bursting then leaving the parents to get their over tired, over excited lovelies back into the car for the onward journey.  Wee Man was asleep before we hit the M27, and as for Miss Sassy, she was awake, in fact she didn’t give up and sleep until we were home and unpacked, she’s a stubborn one. So that’s our holiday for this year, now to get back to normal, whatever that is?  Back to my lists.  I have a list of house stuff to sort which is my priority, followed by a back to school list and then there’s the garden jobs list.  But my first job today is to replace the light bulbs throughout the house, the brighter the better, no big, enormous, giant anything here.