Friday 9 November 2012

      I mentally composed this blog whilst a fly committed a slow and painful suicide in my eye. Well I say it was painful for the fly [it certainly was for me, anyway] but in all honesty I can’t claim to know that for a fact.
      Innocently minding my own business, I was walking my dogs and ruminating about the events of last evening when the fly decided to brutally assault me and make the surface of my cornea its final resting place.
       So it was, that I concluded the walk with tears streaming down my face and make-up streaked along with it, so that I resembled Coco the Clown more than ever.
      I must have been a frightening sight…poking at my own eye with a sharp pink fingernail as I muttered incoherently to myself, a large black fly sticking out from under my eyelashes…fellow dog walkers avoided me like the plague and I even made one small toddler cry. Even for me, this is not a routine occurrence. So if you were one of those people I frightened this morning, I apologise.
      But after the events of last night, the fly was just the icing on the cake. Let me tell you how it all began…
     I had been scheduled to do an author signing at a ladies pamper evening at the lovely Holiday Inn. The babysitter was booked and I had a plan of how the day and the ensuing evening would run. Oh foolish me!!!
     The first inkling I had that all was not going to go well, was when my daughter chirpily told me that it was the start of an after school club that night, which meant that she would not be out of school till 4.15.
      Since I had to have everyone fed and sorted by 5pm, when I was due to leave the children in the care of the babysitter, I knew this was cutting things rather fine.
      And then of course there was the fact that it was open evening in her classroom between 3.30 and 7.00 and that of course I would have to attend.
      But this was still all ok. My two elder children could walk down from their school and meet me and my daughter at the other school, we could all then go home, have tea and I would be on my way.
      A good plan. A fine plan…that is, right up until the time I found out that the babysitter was ill and would not be able to watch the children. With no backup plan [and no backup full stop] I now had no alternative but to take the children with me to the event. Not ideal but do-able.
      Therefore by 2pm I was cooking my own and the children’s tea before showering and getting so dressed up, I looked like a left over from Elton John’s birthday party.
      Halfway into a sequined top, my mobile began to ring. It was 3.25 and sure that the boys would not arrive at the school until 3.50 and that my daughter was in a school club until 4.15, I foolishly thought I had time to spare. I answered the phone, struggling to do up the zip on the top one-handedly. It was someone asking questions about an evening dress I had advertised for sale.
      While still hauling on the zipper and trying to persuade the woman that she would be a fool not to purchase the item, one of the dogs began to bark manically, signalling that there was someone at the door. So now I am virtually shouting down the phone at the woman as I try to shut the dog up and still do up my zipper.
      By the time I had got the woman off the phone, the zip done up and the dog quietened, whoever had been knocking had left but I had a new text message from a friend. “Club not on tonight. Your daughter is waiting for you in school. X”
      Frantically dragging my tights up my legs, I caught a small area on my heel and made a small rip but there was no time to spare so I pulled on my stilettoes and hobbled [I would have run but that would have been impossible in those shoes] round to the school.
      From the look on the faces of the other parents, you would have been forgiven for thinking I was wearing the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’.
      I looked at every piece of work and admired every bit of artwork and then the boys arrived. Hungry for biscuits and juice which their sister had told them would be available [and wasn’t!] they whined the whole walk home. It was 4.30.
      By 5pm I had the whole tribe showered, fed and in the car [no mean feat let me tell you!] and we were off. I had completely forgotten the little hole in my tights by my right heel…
     Using directions I had taken off Google, we arrived at our destination at the right time – only to find that we were on the wrong side of the dual carriageway, with nowhere in sight to be able to perform a u-turn.
      The fuel gauge was nearing that worrying area between a quarter tank and empty and the road ahead was busy.
      I drove 8 miles in the opposite direction before I could turn around! There were turn offs before this but the traffic queues were so horrendously long, I knew if I joined them I would be terribly late. By now the kids were plane spotting and becoming more excited by the minute. I on the other hand, was becoming more frayed by the minute.
      Finally I managed to turn around and head back the other way. The relief when I managed to park the car was immense. I almost got down on my knees and kissed the ground in gratitude.
     The kids helped me unload and set up my table. They were still excited and happy to hand out leaflets. It was a great night but there were not as many people as expected due to there being a bad car crash on the surrounding roads [nothing to do with me, I can assure you] and which accounted for all the traffic jams everywhere.
     It was as I stood chatting about the merits of writing to a group of interested visitors, that from the very corner of my eye [the same corner that the errant fly was to attach itself the next morning]  I realised that the small hole which had started at my heel was now halfway up my leg. I’m sure I looked like a cross between Lilly Savage and Les Dawson by that stage. Trying to stand sideways on with one leg pressed to the side of the table did not help that much either I have to say.
      By the end of the evening I was bone weary and fit for bed. I loaded the car back up and we headed for home. But the fuel gauge was now almost on empty. Have you ever just carried on because there is no other option, even as your brain is in utter meltdown? Well that was how I felt. Surely there would be a petrol station within the next few miles?
     But there wasn’t. I counted the milometer and with every tick it made, I aged a year. The fuel arrow continued to sink and the miles kept accruing and still there was no garage in sight. Finally, running on mere petrol fumes, the car made it back to Bromsgrove… only to find that the nearest petrol station had closed for the night and we would have to travel another half mile to the next one. How we made it there, I will never know. But we did. And fuel purchased, it was then off to the chip shop for a treat for the kids.
     And do you know the funniest thing of all? The kids had a whale of a time …

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