“Run like the wind! Keep running!! Follow the signs to GATE 57!! I'm behi-i-i-i-nd you!!!!” It was a scene from a movie. There I was, Angelina (Jolie?), in hot pursuit of Mini-Me (that little girl in Kick-Ass?) My sight never left her pony tail bobbing in the throng, her green rucksack, the pink leather strap of her well-worn sandals and the sound of her feet tap-taping away from me on the hard floor. Faster and then slower and then faster I chased; up escalators, down stairs and up more escalators, bumping into people, leaping over suitcases, calling “Excuse me!” to jostled victims I left in my wake. Wheezing and sweating, the surroundings blurred past me as I wished I hadn't provoked a delay at airport security by forgetting to put the brand new Chanel under-eye concealer (it's not really a liquid is it?) in the clear bag.
The staff waved us through the gate and outside but there were two planes! I grabbed Mini-Me and sprinted (actually staggered) across the tarmac, straight to the one that looked the most likely to take off without us, which I soon found out was the wrong thing to do as the stewardess scolded me for not following the painted lines on the ground. I didn't care. Mini-Me and I flumped, separately, on any available seats, hair clinging in sweaty clumps to our skin. We had made it.
Now, after all that drama, I can hereby confirm that the enjoyment of a holiday, weekend break, anything at all, increases exponentially with how close one comes to missing it. This is highly scientific. There is a life lesson in there somewhere and I'm damned if I don't take the opportunity to teach it to poor, little, ever-grateful Mini-Me. We were on our way to a very decadent weekend break in Italy to visit friends who have their own wood-fired pizza oven in the gardens of their house in the hills where we would invent and make our own pizzas. Mine was gorgonzola, garlic spinach and chilli. But Mini-Me's was the best: pineapple, strawberry and marscapone, drizzled with honey. We ate yummy scrummy gelato on the beach,eking out every bit of pleasure from the brief weekend. We had never been to Italy before and usually when we go anywhere (even two nights in the Lake District) Mini-Me starts to get homesick. This time however, seemed to be different. “Mummy,” she said, “I could live in Italy!” I think she read my mind...
Back in Blighty, it was a confused Sunday. Where to go and what to do? I raised my head to the heavens, shook my fist and asked “Whose side are you playing for today?” A sunbeam broke through the clouds while a barely audible rumble of thunder made its presence known. An ambivalent answer. Mini-Me just wanted to ride her shiny new bike (acquired with intelligent use of Tesco Clubcard Points) on the green outside our house. But I dragged her out with my sister to the Grimsdyke Manor Open Day in their pretty grounds in Harrow. Mini-Me and I cannily avoided the tents selling bits of stuff and instead started to queue for 20 minutes for a cream tea. To save her boredom, I sent her down the way to listen to the brass band (“Don't go and see it – it's too far away, okay? Just stand where you can hear it!”) while I continued queueing and then after 2 minutes began to worry that I had made a bad decision and that maybe 9 years old wasn't the right age to send her out of my sight at a busy event. (What is the right age, anyway?) Thankfully, she did come back. “Wow mummy! That band sounded amazing!”
I bumped into a lovely Sing and Sign mummy (I always do) from last year with her new twin babies who asked me to save a space for her in September. My sister parked herself at the cooking demonstration upstairs in the impressive, beautiful and historical house which possibly once belonged to Gilbert. Or maybe Sullivan. One of them, I think. Or to someone that knew one of them. I could tell you had I continued with the guided tour of the house and gardens once the downpour started. We caught a few minutes of Morris Dancing before trundling back to the car in the rain which, it seemed, we were fated to do that day. Five minutes after we got home, the sun was peeping through. I love these types of fetes and fayres. It's nice to spend a few hours somewhere local and still have the time and energy when you come home to watch your kid cycle happily round the block in the fading sunshine.
If you would like to catch up on very ancient Mummy on the Edge columns from 2006 onward (!) and read more of my vacuous ramblings between issues, visit my blog, mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com and leave me a message. I would love to hear from you.
Angelina runs Sing and Sign baby signing classes. More info at www.singandsign.com.
Info box (if required):
Other local events:
Fun Day in Canons Park: Donnefield Avenue entrance to Canons Park, Edgware London HA8 6RH. 2 – 5pm Website: http://www.friendsofcanonspark.org.uk/
Sunday 28 August to Monday 29 August
Harrow in Leaf Show, Harrow Museum and Heritage Centre, Pinner View, Harrow Middlesex HA2 6PX. 12 noon - 6 pm. Admission £2 accompanied children under 12 free.