A funny old week

It’s been a funny old week. Great birthday weekend, but then a lot of worry when my son suddenly had this scary allergic rash. The good news is that it has stabilised, not getting worse any more at least. He’s back at school today where apparently there’s another boy in another year with a similar thing. It could come and go for up to six weeks probably.

The birthday weekend felt very indulgent and made me realise that I’m just not used to doing very little at all/kicking back and enjoying myself. It felt odd, and I hardly knew what to do with myself. It’s as if I’m so used to rushing around and doing jobs now and finding and doing freelance and then writing and all the house, shopping, cooking, everything, the balance has tipped. When I do have time to just do what I fancy, not a duty or a ‘should’ sort of a thing, then I am not sure that I’m very good at it. I need chilling out lessons.

On Friday night I popped to the Cherry Tree in Kingston Blount and joined Fiona, Debbie N and Debbie H for a drink. Then I picked up Russ from his lad’s wine tasting (yes, sounds improbable but it’s true) and back home. On Saturday morning I woke up and had a birthday breakfast in bed. The boys made it, so it was a slice of dry toast and a jar of marmite with a knife sticking out of it. Still, they made a gesture. I got loads of birthday cards, a handbag, a cookery book and a bike. I went round the block twice on the bike and realised that I have developed very rubbish weak legs, but the bike is lovely.

Then I went to lunch at Lottes Kitchen in Chinnor with Debbie N, Tracey and Debbie C. It’s true, I know quite a few people called Debbie. There is also a Debbie P, who I’m seeing next week and a Debbie M who I’ll be seeing tomorrow. And Debbie W was my best friend at Glasgow University, but she now lives in New Zealand (appropriate as her maiden name was Shearer). So that’s Debbie N, Debbie C, Debbie W, Debbie H, Debbie P and Debbie M. In fact if you are called Debbie, you probably qualify to fast track into my circle of friends. This also applies to people called Susan, because I know loads of them too including of course my sister.

After the very lovely lunch (and presents), I went home and lazed about before some friends came round for a barbecue. Russ did all the tidying up and most of the preparation, I only had to do a tiny bit of salad making at the end. Fiona made me a birthday cake which had 72 MALTESERS ON IT. Sam made an Aero cheesecake. One of the presents they gave me was anti ageing hand cream, so from now on I’ll be typing my blog with less wrinkly, crone-like fingers. Unfortunately they won’t then match my face. It was a good night, there was much laughter and wine, and I’m pleased to report that the kids didn’t trash the house when left to their own devices (which happened last time we had friends round with kids, when they spilled coke and trampled crisps all over the den in the garden). So it was a good evening.

The fun didn’t end there. On the Sunday, after a truly lazy day and more bike riding, we went out in the evening to the Aylesbury Grammar School dinner and Cabaret night at the Waterside Theatre. Unfortunately I hadn’t read the tickets properly, they said ‘Lounge Suits and Dresses’ and I was in jeans and a nice top but seriously underdressed as I could see when we arrived and parked. Luckily Russ was in a jacket so looked OK and the boys were smart too as one of them performing. I started to walk to the theatre and fell into step with a couple I vaguely recognised and whose son my son seemed to know, and told them I’d seriously messed up, and they were being nice about it when, and this is unbelievable, the husband’s shoe fell apart. The heel just came off. So he said he had to dash back to change his shoes and – guess what – he lived right round the corner from us.

I got a lift from him, got changed in five minutes flat and was back in time for the start of the show without having had to make Russ and the boys go all the way home with me. I never thought I’d be so pleased that a man’s shoe fell apart. And I never expected to ever write that last sentence.

Because it was a school show I was not expecting much. How wrong could I have been. From start to finish the acts were all polished and – frankly – some of them were positively¬†brilliant – in particular the Lee House band’s ‘Sing, Sang, Sung’ which was so good and note perfect it made the hairs go up on the back of my neck. The standard was unbelievable, frankly. Full marks to the music director at the school, Mr Nathan. Our table was right at the front so we had the best seats in the house. The highlight was seeing my younger son singing in the front row of the choir to a fantastic rendition of Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’. A real ‘tears in the eyes’ moment.

It didn’t stop there. On Sunday we had our friends Dave and Julie round, and also my brother and sister in law for a day in the garden and in my case a stint in the hammock. But then my son’s rash got really bad and the worry began as it got worse and worse.

So it’s been a mixed few days – great fun, seeing fantastic and lovely friends, some unfamiliarly extensive lazing around, an incredible school show, then a bit of a scare – but hopefully all back to normal now. Which means stopping this and getting on with jobs. But watch out, I’m going to develop my chilling out skills, especially with that hammock now in the garden.

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