Sunday, 18 October 2015

This, that and the other




I'm beginning to think that I spend far too much time by myself. I'm quite happy with my own company, but my internal chatter is becoming way too loud for my liking. I am not lonely. I have a good network of friends in St Ives. I have a good network beyond that. I just don't see people very much, which is not the best thing for someone who is a natural chatterbox. I think that may be why I am such an Instagram fan. I can log in and out of there whenever I please, and find someone to chatter to. For me it's a bit like popping my head over my neighbour's wall to say hello. And I must say that I've met some lovely people that say hello back.
I don't like where Olly's classroom is situated. It's on the corner as you enter the school, and is therefore the main thoroughfare for all the parents and children to walk through. It reminds me of waiting for a tube, and being buffeted by all the other commuters who are jostling past me to walk to the other end of the platform. It doesn't get any sun either, so always seems a bit damp and miserable. I want to stand further along the playground, where it is sunnier. And where my friend Sophie is. But the flight of stone steps that lead up to Olly's classroom are great fun for five year old boys to jump from, and so I stand there and mope.
And dare I say it, but it's all rather cliquey too. Lots of Mums trying to out do each other with tales of perfect child rearing and perfect children. I'm very tempted to chime in from time to time. I really, really want to subvert their conversations; see what happens if I propose that a bag of Haribo is a great alternative to fruit. Or no, I didn't breast feed Oliver, and I may actually kill everyone in the NCT for being such pompous assholes. The trouble is that I know that I'll go even further and say something really outrageous. Just for my own amusement you understand. But also because sometimes people just get on my chimes, and I want to shout "get a sodding life!!!" at them. Which is rich coming from me, I must say.
Written in my current notebook is a garbled list of ideas for blog posts. I write these lists down from time to time, but nothing ever comes from them. One of them says 'what kind of parent am I?' If I had to describe my parenting style in one word, it would most likely be inconsistent. I am a very inconsistent parent. Usually that suits me just fine; I'm a very inconsistent person. I not particularly proactive. I quite often react badly, and rarely follow through on any threats or challenges. I'm a great one for saying ridiculous things like 'If you carry on doing that, I'm not taking you to so and so's party!' when of course I'm going to take them to the party. I've already bought the present, and I really like party food. Especially the egg mayonnaise sandwiches, which I never make for myself, and are therefore such a treat.
Sam has a girlfriend. I have stalked her on Facebook. Of course I have. You would as well. I have turned into my Dad, who when presented with a current squeeze, would merely look at them over the top of his paper and scare the shit out of any boy that had the misfortune to be standing there. Sam once told me that a girl he was rather friendly with, had told him that she got very bad vibes from me. 'But I'm lovely,' I protested. 'Mum, you looked her up and down, curled your lip and walked out of the room,' Sam replied. (I did. I know I did. I don't care). Anyway, I'm sure she's very nice, but I really hope that he doesn't invite her to visit at Christmas.
The family have been talking Christmas. They are coming to me this year. I like having them here; I don't have to walk home with a very full stomach, and I can hoy my pyjamas on after we've eaten. And because I cook, I don't do the washing up. It's a win/win situation. It also means that Olly won't be dragged away from his toys. And in truth, I love having the family here. I love all the shopping and prepping and cooking. I love making all the puddings. I'm researching those puddings already. There's a treacle toffee tart recipe that looks very scrummy indeed. And I'm not keen on the frozen roast potatoes that other members of the family produce, so I shall present my goose fat drenched roasties with relish.
We have been blessed with the most glorious weather in St Ives this month. Sunny for the most part, although it has clouded over the past few days. The photos above were taken on Thursday. I walked down the hill to Porthmeor beach. The dog beach ban is up, and me and Honey had a lovely time watching the surf, smelling the air, digging up pebbles and looking for treasures in the tide line. I got talking to a lovely lady, who had moved down here a year ago. She was recovering from breast cancer, and her husband had left her six months previously. Some people have to really go through the mill, don't you think? We chatted for quite some time, and I came away feeling a real admiration for her as she faced the adversities of life head on with courage, humility and a truly British sense of humour. She said of her ex: 'I knew that I was better off without him, the day he came back for his drill. He always thought more of his power tools than me. I've never been so happy to shut the door on someone, the stupid prat." How brilliant is that!
The sunshine and mild weather has meant that there is still flowering loveliness in the garden. Who would have thought that I'd be cutting roses, cosmos and dahlias to bring into the house. Sweet peas too. I've had to put off tidying up the garden. There hasn't been much setting of seed yet. The trees are shedding their leaves, however. They sense the turning of the seasons better than anything else. I have set aside a few days in half term to straighten up the garden. There is to be some clearing out, stripping back and moving about. I'm also buying a few dwarf fruit trees; apple, quince and pear. The pollinators are not so numerous, although there have been lots of butterflies visiting the verbena that has self seeded at the bottom of the garden. I have watched a couple of bumbles bury themselves down into hidey holes. I've really enjoyed my pollinator friendly garden this year. It has given me untold pleasure.
I think I'm going to make a stew for tea today. And possibly a rice pudding. Marc has a cold, Alfie is in quiet disgrace after his awful parents evening (bright but disinterested. Not completing homework. Going on report. That kind of pull your hair out stuff). Olly is tired and ready for his half term break. I fancy a bit of kitchen pottering, and catching up on Liza Tarbuck on Radio 2. I might make soup for the week ahead too.
Happy days. Hope yours are too.
Leanne xx 



  1. Brilliant post!
    I hated the clique mothers, silly cows.
    I love Liza Tarbuck on the radio too. Today's soup is reduced to 20p tender stem broccoli ! When I get out of Blogland and make it.
    Please please PLEASE be careful when FB stalking as I wrote in a post ( hypothetically speaking ) because I did it to my daughter's new beau at the time ' it went horribly horribly wrong!!!

    Roll on half term xx

  2. Fab Sunday morning read Leanne. If I had to sum up my parenting style in a word it would be 'lazy', in two words 'very lazy'. I can't even be arsed to go to my year 11 daughter's parents' evening this week.Why can't they just email?

    1. I would have preferred an email. Thrre's only so many ways I can do an understanding head bob, without wanting to swear blue bloody murder at my son in front of his teachets.
      L xx

  3. A wonderful read on a Sunday morning :) It's like curling up with a cuppa, a blanket and an old friend!
    Your writing style is lovely and feels so effortless to read. Intimate and engaging but comfortable somehow, it doesn't seem invasive as a reader. I'm sure these words don't do it justice but they're along the right lines!
    If you find a perfect treacle tart recipe, please do sling it our way! I'm always on the hunt for a better and brighter version!
    Hope you have a lovely week and fingers crossed this glorious weather holds out for us!
    Abel x

  4. if our kids were the same age, in the same country and at the same school, i'd be standing beside you, quietly mocking Those Mothers. needless to say, i didn't fit in much with playgroups and the like.

    echoing the need for a good treacle tart recipe -- i've got an old Be-Ro book of my mum's but the recipe in there isn't Quite Right. i still make it though because...well....treacle tart!

    you're a breath of fresh air. xo

  5. Hi Leanne. You make me smile. I am an inconsistent parent, too but I do occasionally/inconsistently follow through one of those empty threats I make (I cancelled Sam's birthday party once, still feeling the guilt). Ueber mums make my life miserable, cliquey ones even more so. That's one positive thing about working full time, I don't have to endure the pitiful glances anymore.... I enjoy secondary school parent nights because the teachers are all cool. I can't bear the primary school ones with the one-fits-all statements. Happy cooking and pottering, lets hope the weather stays wonderful. I have to go to the community club instead :-( Christina xxx

  6. (Have very little time for parents' evenings, although I always go: I now give back as good as I get, I'm afraid... and I didn't breastfeed either but I reckon my two have done pretty well regardless...)
    Love, love, love your turn of phrase: you are an absolute delight! Xx

  7. What a lovely post Leanne. I'm very impressed with your list of blog post ideas, and your Christmas desserts research. Do be sure and share any good ones. I have the first senior school parents evening next week. I shall let you know how it goes. It strikes me that one of the good things about secondary school is that I don't have to stand around in a freezing playground with a load of smug mums. CJ xx

  8. Loved your post, made me smile. Know what you mean about those mothers, you just want to smack them. And as a retired teacher I'll tell you that generally their kids were the worst to work with because they were use to Mommy solving all their problems.
    If it's any comfort I hated parent/teacher conferences too, much preferred quick telephone ones.


    This is the post I wanted you to read!!

  10. Lovely post, if I were living your way, we'd both be standing there at the school. At least it's my last year at the local primary, can't wait! As for parent-teacher meetings, I could have been the mother of most teachers (age-wise) and they usually don't have much constructive to say either at secondary or primary school, but on the other hand, I wouldn't want their job! Thanks for making me smile, hope you have a good week!

  11. Leanne, I just blooming love your blog. I feel like we're sitting here chatting and I'd love to bitch with you at the school gate, that would be brilliant. I don't feel like I spend anything like enough time alone, and the chatter is just as loud in my head. Wishing you an excellent week my friend. xx

  12. It's not being alone, it's being self-sufficient, and that's something that clique mums don't understand. They have to run with the herd whilst you run in the opposite direction. Keep running, I say! xx

  13. The joy of senior school is that I get to sit in the car and wait for E to come out, thereby avoiding all those Hellish cliques! Although I did make some good friends at an NCT run music group, on the whole they could be right up themselves. I really struggled breast feeding L and eventually resorted to bottle feeding - I can still feel the guilt. She is, however, as healthy as a horse and has a Law degree from Oxford, so it obviously did her no harm whatsoever. I know which side of the playground I'd be on. Have a great week. xx

  14. I am rubbish at playground chat and happily wait at the gate for my eight year old and in the car for the secondary age son. Apparently it is highly embarassing to have a visible parent. I think I too am inconsistent as a parent. I have a great idea to create order, then forget to implement it daily.

  15. oh I am so happy I don't have to do the playground stuff anymore, it is the only benefit of having teenagers as far as I can see.............
    please can I come for Christmas and eat goose fat dripping potatoes and lots of puddings.......... xxx

  16. I think society puts a lot of pressure on people now to be in with the in crowd, just for the sake of it. I always think that if I cant be myself in a group of people, then who else is there thinking like they don't really belong too...The brave thing to do, is be by yourself, and don't pretend.

  17. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts and ideas, Leanne. I have to tell you that I can't stand mothers. I'm serious. Ever since I became one, I've had a massive amount of trouble making and keeping friends. I never seem to be able to say or do the right thing around them. I feel like I'm always wrong. Always. But my kids are happy and healthy, so I must be doing something right. That's what I tell myself anyway. I certainly think you're doing a lot of things right; I can tell from all the way over here. :)

  18. I always love your pictures of the sea. It makes me want to go there NOW. Know what you mean about school playgrounds- never enjoyed that and was heartily relieved when having a dog meant I could wait outside the gate and avoid all the bitching! Offspring's girl/ boyfriends....hmmm.... they come and go quite quickly in my experience, although J's current one has been here some time. Enjoy the rest of the week- the garden plans sound lovely XX

  19. I enjoyed both the pictures and the post, Leanne. I feel like I've just had a nice visit with a dear friend. I always appreciate your honesty, and your sense of humour. Subbing Haribos for fruit sounds brilliant to me. :-)

  20. I do so love your posts Leanne. They often make me laugh and always make me think. I really cannot stand the school drop off or pick up. There's a very cliquey bunch of parents (who all knew each other from day1 of reception) of course they were all super interested in us when Littlest was really poorly but we're old news now so I've been let off the pitying looks! I've decided it must be me that's the weird one and I think I like it that way :) Hope you have a lovely week xx

  21. Great post Leanne, I too an an internal chatterer, happy in my own company, but I do blether on in my head sometimes! I am so glad to be away from the whole cliquey mum thing now my boys are older, I used to be tempted to still the pot by throwing in the odd comment, but they thought I was too different as it was so that was enough to be getting on with ;) Have a good week, ps I lived by the sea like you I would get nothing done, I'd be at the shore all the time, I love the cosst, the sea, beaches.....

  22. What a lovely post, it's like reading a lovely letter from an old friend. I'm so glad that I'm out of that whole playground scenario now, I don't miss that one bit. Hmmm, that didn't take Sam long to get a girlfriend once he got to uni, Daniel was just the same and he's still going out with her now in his third year. We had such a cool spring this year but the season has lasted with lots of things still growing and blooming away. I even picked some blueberries at the weekend, in October! Just enough for my mum and dad to sprinkle on their cereal each day this week, such a treat.

  23. Ii Leanne - great post and I so admire that woman. I had parents' evening last night, both as teacher and parent. Tricky switching between roles but just about carried it off. Not easy sometimes telling parents what they might not want to hear but it pays in the long run to be open and honest to get them onside. The competitive parenting crew at primary school annoyed me too as I was never a textbook mum. She's turned out ok even if she breaks dress code and make up rules and emulates her mother using the occasional, and always appropriate, swear word.. .