Sunday 1 January 2012

Happy New Year (!/?)


I have just posted my latest Families NW Magazine Mummy on the Edge column. On the first day of the cover date. Well done me. Start as you mean to go on etc. etc. Blah blah blah.

Last year was good, in many ways. It is important to acknowlege the fruits of one's thingy. So, here goes my attempt:

I have kept my business afloat singlehandedly through economically bleak times and taught LOADS of people to do the special thing (that I'm not going to publicise in this column because this is not about that) and thus brought fun and laughter to many, who sent me lovely letters and emails and cards, keeping my heart afloat at the same time.

It was also the year that I ceased to refer to Mini-Me's father as Voldemort (-don't worry, I never did it in front of her and I never referred to his family as Deatheaters, either; they are actually very nice, sane people-) and managed to find the constitution to sustain a pseudo-friendly conversation with him over long-distance telephone from time to time. This is no mean feat considering the dramatic/ borderline cinematic nature of our separation and subsequent divorce.

In 2011, I left the country 4 times; 3 of those to places I had never previously visited. Blimey. I forgot about that. And I had a really good time, enjoying the consistent, yet sadly temporary, mutual beguilement of an intelligent adult that made me laugh and taught me lots.

In all, I have learned that my capacity for understanding, forgiveness and compassion to those what done me wrong knows no bounds. Now I am learning to extend those courtesies to myself.



In homage to Brigitte Jones (and in no way by result of petty and misplaced jealousy of Helen Fielding given that the THIRD movie is coming out this year) I'm going to review my year thus:

Millilitres of hopeless tears cried to no end:
About 537ml or enough to win a Big Brother task singlehandedly.

Number of times refrained from shouting at Mini-Me to be quiet and stop singing so loudly and cheerfully:
Actually impossible to count.

Glasses of rum and cherry coke drunk by me during last night's private New Year's Eve party in my home with Mini-Me:

Number of times Mini-Me repeated how she couldn't believe and was so excited that it would soon be TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE:

Number of times I refrained from telling her in response, "Did you know there are some cultures and belief systems that support the theory that the world is actually due to END in 2012?":

Individual peices of detritus and crap I have seen over the course of the year strewn about my gardens and their entrances that can be directly and unwrongfully (woo hoo just made up a cool word!) attributed to my neighbour:

Number of times I have deleted the word "crap" when writing my Mummy on the Edge column:
At least 24

Hours wasted googling "writing a novel" and its many tributaries and estuaries on the interweb.
Enough to have actually written AT LEAST half of it.

Number of times I have had to press the "forgotten password" button on websites (including this one) and had to make another one up only to forget it again.

Number of times I have requested a new pin to be sent to me for a credit/ debit card having forgotten it.

Number of mouldy courgettes thrown away:
Approximately 10.

Hours wasted watching The only way is Chelsea or similar:
Happily 0

Number of witty and intelligent blog posts I have written in my head in the shower but not on here:

Number of times I declined to do something by actually saying "No" last week:
3. And it felt bloody good.

Number of lovely people I personally know all over the world who are kind and good and wish the best for their friends:
Absolutely loads.

January Februay 2012 Families Mag

January February 2012

Angelina discovers that the truth is always out there – and mostly overrated.

I have just come back home from dropping Mini-Me back at school after her grade 2 Piano exam. We are feeling total relief now that it is done, after nearly a year of hearing her massacre the same pieces over and over, morning, noon and night. Actually, that's not fair at all. She's really very good and at least I don't have to nag her to practice. I'm just really grumpy after a poor night's sleep. I had a nightmare about the exam which featured my getting lost on the way and arriving late, to find that all the music exam candidates were lying in hospital gurneys, waiting to be anaesthetised. I spent most of my sleeping hours arguing with an administrator over whether it really was necessary to hook my daughter up to a drip before her Piano exam!

I don't have to search for a Freudian explanation for this bizarre scenario. One more practical one exists quite plainly in sight. I have been visiting my sick mum in hospital every day for the past 2 weeks. When I first started the routine, Mini-Me was a bit perplexed as to why I had to go every day. Cue major mistake on my part: telling Mini-Me the no-holds-barred truth while driving home from school and not being able to see her face to gauge her reaction and therefore not shutting up before realising I had gone WAY too far.

“Well, darling, Nani needs us every day because she's all alone in hospital and quite scared. Her arms are full of plum-coloured bruises because the doctors keep poking her to get blood samples which they can't manage because there's not enough blood in her. So they had to take it from her wrist! Anyway, they've given her two blood transfusions and a bag of something called platelets. Then they had to stick a camera down her mouth to see what's going on in her stomach. And then they had to drill into her hip bone to get a sample of bone marrow. And -”

“No! (SOB!) What are they doing to my Nani?!”

“No, it's not a pneumatic drill, like they use on the road,” I backtracked. “It's a teeny weeny drill. And they're doing all this to help her and make her better. ”

“But they are damaging her in the process!”

So, in light of this HUGE Mummy-on-the-Edge-shaped gaff, I am resolving this year to make an effort to re-package things positively as well as lie sometimes, to Mini-Me; and even more so, to myself. Who needs abject truth anyway? As Friday O'Leary says in Mr Gum (which you really should read to your kid because it's funny), “The truth is a lemon meringue!”

Changes are afoot. They always are, but being the beginning of a new year, it makes it more fun and a bit more justified. I'm engineering a house move, and this is the culmination of much re-packaging of the concept for the benefit of uber-sentimental little Mini-Me, for whom this is her childhood home and the only one she has known. I reckon I've done such a good job of this that she might actually think it was her idea to begin with! I've spent the best part of the last month chucking stuff and convincing Mini-Me to chuck stuff and convincing Mini-Me to convince me to chuck stuff. Because frankly, I'm terrible at it.

She helped me clear the toilet of the stack of half-empty contrasting paint cans procured 3 years ago from a blind lady on Freecycle. And I have passed on the huge, framed Richard Franklin print I bought as a wedding anniversary gift (before Mini-Me was born) featuring a Roman-type couple looking lovingly at each other. Mini-Me liked to think of this as her mum and dad, so of course it HAD to go. I've re-packaged the kitchen cupboard with the door missing as “open shelving”. And re-branded the defunct lock on the downstairs loo as “voice-activated” (“No one come in the loo-oo!!”) Together, my ever-enthusiastic sidekick and I have achieved a lot. And this is just the beginning...

I would love to know your thoughts on diminished truthfulness and re-packagement. Is it really the way forward or am I actually just totally dysfunctional? Visit and leave a comment.

For more Life on the Edge visit Angelina runs award winning Sing and Sign baby signing classes. More info at