Friday, 23 September 2016

Out with the old and in with the new (-ish)

Mummy on the edge 
Families NW London Magazine
March/April 2016

At the end of January, still feeling the loss of David Bowie, (the man who gave this ten-year-old the twin lifelong gifts of her favourite song and a love of red shoes (my happy shoes!)) we experienced torment closer to home. Our beloved Chico, faithful companion to Midi-Me and I, unexpectedly gave up after 8 and a half years of service.

Was he man, was he dog? No, he was Supercar. There I was on the A1M, driving back from returning a jumper to the M&S Outlet in Hatfield Galleria and the car started to feel a bit funny when I put my foot on the accelerator. As I drove through Elstree, up and down that hill near The Fisheries, some hidden, noise-making part of the car started to complain.

I drove all the way home and, half parked outside my house, Chico gave up there and then. No amount of coaxing forward or backwards would make him move. I can’t imagine what I would have done if he would have given up on the motorway. I might not even be here to write this. Faithful to the last, Chico did not leave me vulnerable in the middle of Barnet Bypass, like a ball in a pinball machine, but dutifully delivered me to my home before exhausting his last breath and shuffling off his mortal ignition coil.

Upon arriving home on foot from the bus stop, Midi-Me was faced with the sight of our old friend being trussed up to the AA man’s van to be towed to my mechanic. Deep inside I knew it was the end but I had to try; I owed him that at the very least. Trembling with emotion, Midi-me and I poured a cup of tea and indulged in the verbal equivalent of a Friends flashback, stringing together scenes from “The one where we drove to Southend at two in the afternoon,” “The one where we got lost in Shakespeareland,” “The one where we named our car after a terrible X Factor contestant” and many other notable episodes of Mummy on the Edge. Poor Midi-Me was quite sad as it felt like the end of an era but I resolved to find another car and think of another non-English singer to name it after. My old computer and phone were Julio and Enrique. I think my next car will be called Serge. One thing is for certain: Chico-Time is over.  


I recently got my kitchen a bit fixed. Both Midi-Me and I had grown perfectly used to having an area of open shelving (-cupboard door fell off many years ago and I stashed it in the shed) and even an open-fronted drawer (-there is nothing I can insert here to explain this). We were also fully used to a mismatched painted kitchen, as I never finished painting it green. But y’know, eclectic, innit. Anyway, I bought tester paint pots and sought opinions from Midi-Me and Mr Angelina. I was quite sure I wanted two contrasting colours as I’d seen on Houzz and Pinterest: one for the top and one for the bottom. We settled on Frosted Fondant for the bottom. Sounds delicious doesn’t it? I was thinking we would end up with a warm, putty colour. Well… my kitchen now has the cadaverous pallor of a mauve My Little Pony that has trotted off a cliff and been found 4 days later. But it’s okay. We’ll get used to it.

Have you been to Planet Ice in Hemel Hempstead? It sounds like the other end of the universe but it’s actually just 25 minutes from Brent Cross on the M1 if you have use of a Chico. For her birthday, I took Midi-Me and her friends skating. I was cutting shapes on the ice, pretending to be a graceful Russian figure-skater (just with my arms, obviously; my bottom half concentrated very hard on remaining upright) and Midi-Me wasn’t embarrassed at all. Although her best friend (my second daughter) did skate off and pretend not to know me briefly. Despite the disgusting what they call “food” served in what they call “The Café” it was a lot of fun! Much better than Wembley Outlet Centre in December, where the rink was like a bowl of soup. We will definitely return to Planet Ice once I have found Serge.

More at and and twitter @appleina.

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