Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Half term has broken me

It is now Wednesday evening. I have had a full three days to recover from half term. And yet I am still broken.

At the end of each school holiday, I feel a little bit like a fag end that's been ground into the earth by my children's heels. But this one - this one was worse.

Much worse.

Now that I'm a single parent, I play the competitive parenting game. This means that MY school holidays are going to be the most fun, the most varied, the most educational. And the most bloody tiring.

For this last week, I'd planned two trips away. (Yes, I know - already you're saying, "what WERE you thinking?" Answer: I don't know. I must have been drunk.) One was to go up to the Peak District with my Dad, brother and his family and my uncles. A super duper extended family holiday giving my boys a chance to meet up with their cousins and everyone else to swap family jokes and generally have a fabulous time being jolly.

Sadly, I hadn't factored in the shitty 'inn with rooms' that I was staying in with my kids; the sour faced landlady, the disintegrating bed, the non-existent breakfast. I also hadn't quite realised that the eye trouble my dad was having caused him to drive on the wrong side of the road for most of the time. It is hard telling your dad that he is about to kill you, your children, and probably anyone else on the road whilst keeping a level voice and trying desperately to mask your unconscious shaking.

It is also hard seeing your dad as an elderly man for the first time. Driving wasn't his only problem; he also had trouble with the family walk of 4 miles, wanting to stop half way for a wee and a cup of tea, and almost falling over through his wobbly balance on the downhill stretches.

Then the alarming drive back to dad's, which we survived, and the tiring drive back home, only to fall into bed and get up the next day, still exhausted, and do a full day's work.

The following day, last Saturday, marked Adventure Number Two: a trip to London. The kids sat behind me on the train and argued for the entire one hour 45 minutes. I had to take their games away from them, like toddlers. When we arrived at Paddington, Teen suddenly became awe-struck with the station and the trains, and requested 'time out' to go on every single platform to inspect every single sodding train.

And this was just the beginning.

We tubed it to London Bridge, our plan being to see the poppies at Tower Bridge before settling into our hotel. This is what we were met with:


After much shuffling and sniffing other people's armpits, we eventually saw them - and they were breath-taking.



By this time, the boys' moaning was hitting somewhere between a 7 and 8 on the Moanster Scale, so we sloped off and checked into our Premier Inn room.

I am in love with Premier Inns. The beds are good, the rooms are clean, the service is great. And when we got there on Saturday, I practically stuffed £3 into their pockets to let me have WiFi for 24 hours - because kids with WiFi equals at least an hour of rest for me.

That night, we went to the theatre. We loved it, but the journey home involved hitting Leicester Square tube at 11pm on a Saturday night, after which, Tween said, "Mummy, I am never coming to London again."

Yet another night sharing a room with two boys who are bigger, louder, and smellier (just) than me. Followed by a day of heavy rucksack madness, tramping around the London Dungeon and other wonders, all the time being slowly pulled backwards by the weight of my overnight clobber.

The disappearance of Krispy Kreme from Paddington did nothing to cheer us up. And by the time we were on the train home, my back was broken. I'm sure it was.

I think I was delirious by the time we reached our home town, and I only remember pieces of our twenty minute wait for the taxi -although I do remember kissing the taxi driver when he finally arrived. He was rather taken aback.

I can't tell you how glad I was to see the boys go back to school on Monday. Work isn't easy, but at least the arguments there are pretty civil, punches aren't thrown and people at least try not to fart loudly. I've had to take proper big horse pills to try and dull the pain in my shoulders, but tomorrow is my day off and, apart from surfacing briefly to shoo the boys out of the door, I will be mostly lying down.

Doing bugger all.

1 comment:

  1. Your photos of the poppies is brilliant. I saw them back in September when they were still being planted - and they hadn't really gotten around to that side. They seem to have gone for a different look there and I really like it. Wish I could have made it into London again before they were all picked - but, wow, I'm not sure I could have dealt with the crowds... especially with the pram.

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