Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Mummy on the Edge Families NW Magazine July August 2008

July August 08
Mummy on the Edge
Angelina Melwani and Mini-Me find themselves inside a figurative box of choccies and set their own boot sale challenge.

Each production at the The Little Angel Puppet Theatre is like a small box of exquisite, handmade chocolates that, once you start munching, you do not want to end. The theatre is so dark, intimate and bijou that it actually feels as though you are inside a box of chocolates! The tiered seats allow you to see how detailed and lovingly crafted the set and props are. Recently, we visited the LAPT to watch their interpretation of The Elves and the Shoemaker which is Mini-Me’s favourite fairy tale (probably because she sympathises with the impoverished Shoemaker as I’m always telling her “No, we can’t afford that!” - whatever it is). The superbly earnest and enthusiastic shoemaker acted and sweated his way through the entire hour and a half single-handedly (- well two-handedly) controlling 4 puppets plus an audience full of participating children whilst, at one point simultaneously playing about 3 musical instruments! And I thought men couldn’t multi-task… Mini-Me is still singing “Cobbler, Cobbler Mend my Shoe” word-perfectly which is great for her tightwad mother because it’s reinforcing the concept of fixing old stuff.
After the puppets, we walked down Essex Road to Giraffe, a chain restaurant whose motto is Love, Eat, Live. (Synergistic with my own: Eat, Eat, Eat.) We ate rubbery, expensive food that, heartbreakingly, I could have prepared at home for a fraction of the price (I’m such an Indian). But I’m not giving the place enough credit; the ambience inside was good and the world music truly uplifting; to the point where we barely noticed we were sitting opposite a dingy block of council flats, nor the drunken vagrants staggering past the window, waving. Mini-Me also will now never forget how to spell “giraffe”.

We ventured further, investigating the chi-chi boutiques and market stalls of Camden passage and surrounding area which looked as though someone had taken the entire contents of my mother’s, sisters’ and my wardrobes, jewellery boxes and toy chests from birth to ooh, about five years ago and transported them to these streets. It was delightfully sick-making! When we entered a shop selling period clothing from the Victorian (I think) age, it made my tummy go a little more funny and I’m not sure if it was because of the thought of real people going about their business wearing these very clothes or the stress of having to remind Mini-Me that it was okay to Look but not to Touch. After all, if something gets damaged we would have to pay for it and, as I’ve said before, “No, we can’t afford that!” Hmm. Note to self: Apply for next series of Dragon’s Den with child-sized straightjackets idea – perfect for chi-chi shopping.


How does that old song go? If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s looking decreasingly likely that we’ll be moving into my 3-floor dream house in Maida Vale so we have entrenched ourselves in the house that we had previously decided to sell and decided to make more of an effort to love it. Yes, it is less tidy now that people aren’t coming to inspect it at random times of the day but Mini-Me and I are continuing with the disposal of Stuff at a steady rate and we will soon have enough of a pile to do another Car Boot Sale. The last one I did was scary and stressful in a netherworldly, parallel universe kind of way. Think pitch black, bleak mid-winter; 5.30 in the morning; strange alien-like beings with torches crowding around; interrogating you and fighting over stuff that you have not yet unloaded from your car as you riverdance in your wellies to keep warm. Anyway, I am cannier now. I recorded about 15 different Antique-Boot-Sale-Challenge-Anneka- type programmes and forced Mini-Me to take notes (good handwriting practise) while watching them with me. So, after the last boot sale debacle, I am prepared and will never again make the mistake of not having a table to display my wares on, not having decided prices and answering probing questions like, “What is?” and “How much?” with a panicked, “I don’t know, I’ve got a headache!!” Also, it’s Summer, man. I can take the child with me and her cute face will surely help me shift our stuff. If not, I can always poke her with a used curtain rod and make her riverdance.

Angelina Melwani runs Sing and Sign baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey, Stanmore and Rickmansworth. More info at www.singandsign.com