Archive for September, 2012

I leave the bed and the warm snuggles and soft snores of Little Miss and Mr B way too early. Little Miss had a bad night – teething, the beginning of a cold? Hard to say, but after the small hours, we all pile up in the family bed so even if awake, at least we’re warm and comfy.

One week on and already it feels darker. Autumn is in air. I get up the stairs at the train station feeling not quite right. As I get to the top, I feel my backside, hoping to find my dress, only to feel my tights. I’ve been giving the guy behind me an eyful. Carrying my heavy laptop bag on top of a small cardi has given plenty of friction and my dress must have slowly but steadily ascended all the way from home. Lovely. I pull it back down and decide it’s too early in the morning to feel embarrassed. All day I end up checking that my dress is where it should be, like I have a nervous tick that forces me to touch my backside every few minutes. Great!

The station is cold and gloomy, but hey I have my cuppa and copy of the Metro, a freebie paper (though trying to avoid the news is a bit hard, might have to give up that habit and bring a book).

I get to Paddington, walk through the smoke, look up and see… sunshine… Given that my office area doesn’t have windows and we all end up like moles blinking in the day light every time we leave the office, I enjoy what will probably be my last beam of natural light for a few hours…

Bus 1, bus 2 blah blah. Getting to the office, I change from ‘commuting shoes’ to ‘office shoes’. I used to feel a little self conscious walking around with huge white trainers paired with little office dresses. I now have slightly more understated commuting shoes, but frankly I would wear clown shoes if it meant having comfy feet on my journey.

I feel knackered by mid afternoon – bad night, early morning, frantic meetings – so get a large hot chocolate. I then get offered some chocolate fingers. As the sugar rush hasn’t yet kicked in, I scoff them all. I’m hoping for a burst of energy. I get nauseous instead. Bwauh!

Later, on, in Bus number 1, I’m starting to wish I hadn’t had all that chocolate as the bus starts and stops, starts and stops in slow motion.

Bus 2, I’m sitting besides squabbling sibblings – a first. But muuuuuuummmmmm, tell her to stop, muummmmmm! Tell her to stop copying me. But muuuuuummmmm. Suddendly we all hear: ‘This bus terminates here’, I’m sorry, what? We’re still two stops from destination. ‘The next bus stops are closed’. Ooook, and my train is about to leave, let’s attempt another sprint.

I catch the train, just, and the forced exercise has done me good, I feel a bit refreshed. I open my copy of the Stylist (another freebie for us lucky commuters), and see an interview with the author of the book I’m currently reading. She has a new book out. Ok so I’m a book, and over a year behind, but hey, I’m still reading it. There is hope I might get to the end.

I get home

………………………………….and breathe.


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I’m reading… a book

Now you’re thinking, can she make these posts any more mundane? Why yes I think I probably can, and most likely will. Because my life is mundane right now. And I am embracing it!

Now why is reading a book news here? Simple. I used to read avidly, to devour books, to read anywhere and everywhere – when waking up, when going to bed, whilst eating, watching TV, going to the toilet, and more. But slowly, little by little, this slipped away.

I would devour good books, bad books, mediocre books, exceptional books, then I became more discerning. This didn’t mean reading worthy books, the classics, those heavy in intellectual challenges. No, my criterion was reading only those books that truly gripped me. But then I would become despondent when a good story ended …disappointingly. I’ve always tended to read the ending of a book early, just to get a sneak preview. Now I did it consistently. A bad ending can ruin a good book. And I don’t mean just a positive ending (though I hate a sad ending). No I mean an ending that lifts you up, inspires you, gives you a different take on the world, makes you emerge blurry eyed and bubbling with possibilties.
So if an ending seemed disappointing, I would close that book and move on. No second chance.
So slowly slowly, fewer and fewer books. Then, fertility treatment, pregnancy, baby, work, and books became informational, to be glanced at to grab the piece of advice needed (by the way, never read ‘experts’ books on babies, they will only make you feel crap).
I tried a few books along the way, but they always fizzled away. And I miss it.

I miss the escape, the passion. So here goes. My first book in … ooh… a long time. There is so much pressure on you, little book! Will I make it to the end?

What book am I reading, you ask? More on that another day, but

………………………………….so far, so good.

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The joy of commuting

– Tiptoe out of the house when everyone is still asleep, missing our morning cuddles – check

– Enjoy the morning light, knowing soon it will be cold….and dark… and most likely wet… and winter… – check

– Get to the train station just in time then find out the train is delayed – check

– Finally get on the train, after everybody has elbowed their way in and get a seat – check (a seat, woohoo!!)

– Get a seat next to (1) loud music in earphones, (2) loud gum chewing, (3) loud snotty sniffing and coughing, (4) loud mobile conversation (now this can actually be quite interesting – some people are surprisingly open in front of 50 strangers!) or, and frankly worst of all (5) someone who wants to chat (I’m sorry, we’re commuters, it’s 630am, no!) – number 5 today, yeah! check

– Further delays due to a fatality on the line (sadly sadly, fast lines attracts those – and there seem to be ‘incidents’ as the conductor generally puts it, on a regular basis. This morning’s was unusually frank – and it puts everything in perspective, but this post is about the triviality and mind numbingness of commuting so I shall plough on, much like I had to this morning) – check

– Get to Paddington, walk through the cloud of smoke just outside the station and wait for first bus – check

– Get onto bus once everybody has elbowed their way in and get a seat – I’m sorry, what? – YES a seat!! – check

– Get onto second bus and get a seat – WHAT???? – YES YES YES – check

– Arrive at work, 2 hours 20 minutes later, tired hungry and eager to start the day – check

– Spend a hectic day of meetings, meetings and more meetings,  intersperse with a bit of office politics, and … more meetings. Resist the urge to look at photos of Little Miss – check

– Leave and wait for first bus – check

– Get into overcrowded hot bus and stand, much like a sardine in a sardine can – check

– Get into overcrowded hot bus number 2 and repeat – check

– Look in a desultory way at the London landmarks, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, jut wishing to get home – check

– Enjoy the sights of Edgware Road’s Lebanese restaurants, shisha cafes, and arabic-script signs – check

– Arrive in Paddington and start running as train is due to leave in 2 minutes – check

– Join the sea of commuters running for same train, and start maneuvres to move up the queue and get a seat, feeling much like a fish in a great tide – check

– Get a seat next to (4) – see above – sadly conversation in foreign language so no juicy details to marvel at, on the plus side, A SEAT!!! AGAIN!!!, woohoo! – check

– Stare vaguely in the distance, thinking I should either do some work, or at least read something interesting, and not mustering the energy for either – check

– Get to home town and walk home, enjoying the fact that it’s still light and still warm-ish – check

– Get home after short walk, and 2 hours after leaving work – check

– Enjoy our little family back together and the warm cuddles of Little Miss and Mr B – check

The best part of my day

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I have stopped watching the news. On hearing this, a friend asked me how I will cope, being cut off from what’s happening in the world. Well, as far as I can see the news are telling us that the world is mostly violence, death and destruction, so I think I will be quite happy in blissfull ignorance.

I admit I never had a thick skin but motherhood has stripped me bare and the news, those snippets telling us so crudely of lives destroyed, are like acid on raw skin. Unbearable. How do I prepare my child for this, how do I protect her, how do I help her keep her wide eyed curiosity, her thirst for the world and all its wonders, whilst also keeping her safe, not too trusting, not too open?

And yes maybe that is the world as it is. Maybe, but that’s not all that the world is. At every turn, there are other news, of good deeds, of good people, of good.

‘The news’ should carrry a health warning, and be followed by a little post traumatic councelling session for us over sensitive news watchers: “Now people, what you’ve just seen is pretty horrible. Here is how you can wipe your soul clean and go about your day without haunting flashbacks”.

So that’s it. Until the news become more balanced – and I don’t mean the token feel-good story on the blood-soaked mountain of horrors, or the quirky ones on a day light on carnage – I will take position behind the sofa with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears bellowing a phonics song about a gorilla playing the guitar (go guitar gorilla go).  Until the news show us the bad AND the good, the ugly AND the uplifting, in a way that says “there is hope, and kindness, and wonders”, until then I’m out. And you know what, I feel better already.

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