I Was Swallowed By A Hippo

Castle life, Aga strife, slummy mummy, average wife

All Work and Some Play

No more galavanting for me for a while. It’s been a blast but lovely to be back at our little hideaway off the map, and, as the holiday season officially begins, time to stop reminiscing about nude male models and hot tubs and GET BACK TO WORK.

hooverThe big news is I have been rewarded with a promotion and have gone from being a mere laundry assistant to actual HEAD of Laundry. I can now fold fitted sheets and everything*. Even more exciting is my new role as Assistant Housekeeper which involves cleaning the holiday cottages on change-over days, under the watchful eyes of Head Housekeeper, Hayley. She is also a very good pal which makes the work most enjoyable and of course I get to dump the kids on their granny for a few hours. Everyone is a winner. Except poor granny perhaps. Who knew cleaning could be so satisfying? I might even try doing it at home, instead of merely spraying Pledge(tm) around and leaving the hoover in the middle of the hall so my husband trips over it and thinks, “Ah, Emma must have dusted and hoovered. What a lovely wife I have who takes such pride in our wonderful home.”

This is also the start of Visitor Season which began in earnest last week with my parents popping down for a few days. Mum arrived with, amongst other food items, her obligatory pineapple which I must confess was very welcome and completely delicious. I felt bad for not giving the Christmas one a chance. The girls immediately found a willing swing-pusher in my dad and he spent several hundred patient hours indulging them. The man is a saint.

tardis

Very wishful thinking

The next batch of guests arrived amidst great excitement and immense fatigue, from New Zealand. Niall’s sister and her three children are over for ‘untle Tenny’s’ wedding in May and are here for nearly five whole weeks. My littlies had never met their antipodean cousins and were beside themselves with anticipation. Their initial refusals to make eye-contact or speak lasted about 12 minutes and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Despite the age gaps and gender divides – they are two boys aged eleven and six and one girl aged nine, the bonding was instant and I’ve hardly seen my girls since they arrived. It’s lovely to witness these life-long friendships blossom and maybe one day there will be a New Zealand trip on the cards for us, when the girls are old enough not to be a total nightmare on a plane for 26 hours.
I live in hope that continental drift will one day shunt it a bit nearer or that some clever person will invent a T.A.R.D.I.S. type craft that can magically transport people to the other side of the world instantly. Failing that though, there’s plenty time to start stockpiling prescription sedatives.

*youTube it. It changed my life

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Forty Years Young

20140403-075636.jpgI am recovering from yet another blissful, child-free weekend spent in the company of fabulous women. The first of my primary schools chums hit the big ‘four-oh-no’ and bravely decided to embrace the ghastly milestone with a weekend away with 12 of her closest and daftest pals in a beautiful wooden cabin complete with hot tub.

What followed was a glorious celebration of all things ‘Lynda’ which we managed to arrange behind her back after weeks of secret collaborations over Facebook. New friendships have been forged (much to the annoyance of the birthday girl – she was never good at sharing) and old friendships have been rekindled as we pulled together a wonderful melange of all of her favourite things. These included, in no particular order of total amazingness, a birthday cake depicting the metamorphosis of frogs in fondant icing, a Lynda themed game of Family Fortunes complete with creepy Les Dennis mask and whap-whap*, Lynda bunting, a photo album rammed with memories and a personalised Guess Who? game made with pals old and new, sporting various disguises and interesting facial hair. Our gorgeous girl was chuffed to bits.

When it wasn’t all about Lynda, it was all about the hot tub. Six of us sensibly eschewed a 25 mile cycle ride on the Saturday in favour of a four hour soak/therapy session accompanied by a ready supply of beer, wine and prosecco. 20140403-173530.jpgI vaguely remember someone stuffing crisps in my mouth too. I think that day ranks as one of my happiest ever, notwithstanding my wedding day and the births of my two children. Probably.

Predictably, the girls, who had been little treasures for my parents all weekend, ganged up together and decided to be totally foul to me by way of punishment for abandoning them. It was counter-productive though as I’m now even more desperate to book another weekend away. I fully intend to play the’ F**K ME I’M FORTY’┬ácard and see if I can wing another child-free break, maybe even with my husband this time. A hot tub will be mandatory as well as at all the girls from the birthday weekend and a good few from the hen, for good measure. A reasonable request I think although I strongly suspect he would rather pan-fry his testicles.

*me neither. It’s the ‘wrong answer’ sound apparently.

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