Friday, June 22, 2007

Art Class

JP and Tiddler were rewarded with a KitKat* after eating all their tea last night. Assuming peace and goodwill to all men, I return to the kitchen to cook for Mr Duck and I.

With bolognese bubbling away, I enter the front room to find Tiddler rolling a KitKat finger between his hands like a boy scout trying to make fire.

'Look mummy, you can use the Kit Kat like a paint roller' - he informed me, 'for chocolate fingerpainting'.

I turn slowly to survey the scene behind me. Perfect replicas of Tiddler's hands wave cheerily from the wall, and the chair, and the bookcase.

I retreat to the kitchen and give the bolognese a stir.

* Not being vegetarians

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fatherless day

With Mr Duck off on a postponed Valentine's Day Golf trip and Mr Yummy Mummy and Used Car Dealer on a stag weekend, it falls to 3 mums and 6 kids to find something to do. So we set off in fine drizzle, for Formby; with waterproofs, a picnic and spare clothes.

Despite an early start* I am in happy mode after watching K-Pax** the night before, and agree to take 4 kids in my car. They spend the journey making up songs about poo and show-off sisters with dangly earrings and mini-skirts. I tune them out and hum along to Virgin Radio.

As we leave the West Pennines, the clouds fade to blue and I don sunglasses, grabbed hastily, yet optimistically at the last minute.

The National Trust park at Formby Point is a revelation. Child- and picnic-friendly woodlands full of the first red squirrels I have seen. My remorse for past grey squirrel roadkill recedes, as these enchanting creatures parade for nuts before us.

The paths get sandier and the kids race to climb up, and surf down the sun-washed sand dunes that rise unexpectedly at the edge of the woods and then drop to an unspoilt stretch of beach. Out at sea, wind turbines spin and we rue the fact that we packed for foul weather not fair, with neither swimming gear nor towels. No matter. The kids play happily and the mums enjoy the sun.

The day finishes splendidly with ‘having our tea out’ during which JP’s wobbly tooth finally exits to a rapt and delighted audience of 5, complete with minor bleeding.

I text the tooth fairy to put East Lancs. on tonight’s call sheet and head home with 4 sleeping, sandy little ducks – no doubt dreaming of poo and show-off sisters…

* 6.15am. Enter JP - 'Do birds have really good hearing, mummy?' 6.16am. Exit JP, pursued by a slipper.

** Fantastic book and great film with totally entertaining mad people.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Perfect Moment

Of course, the last thing you expect at a research conference is a wet T shirt contest.

The keynote speaker was talking about recognising that each of us is the star in our own lives and that we need to ensure that we play the roles to the full. To illustrate the point that we need to wake up, take control and live, he threw a succession of wet sponges into the audience - made up largely of academics and professionals. I was on the front row, so every sponge went over my head, soaking me in the process and changing the demure white top I was wearing into a stag party novelty show.

The homework was to identify who we would choose to play us in the movie of our lives. I decided to give it some thought.

The answer came to me last night when I watched The Wedding Singer for the nth time. Great movie and a brilliant soundtrack. My favourite scene is the one in the kitchen when Julia and Robbie kiss. In a stolen moment, with music playing in the background, Julia's other half is forgotten. They gaze into each other's eyes and as their lips meet in a perfect, soft kiss, they know that they are meant to be together.

So I pick the slightly geeky, square-jawed Drew Barrymore to play me. But opposite me wouldn't be Adam Sandler. I'm afraid I would pick the delicious John Cusack.

Sorry Adam.

Monday, June 11, 2007


The ant farm is no more.

We have been able to piece together what happened from the black box recordings. Here is a transcript.

Adam: Tiddler's in the garden kicking a football at the house. Duck will go ballistic. He's already knocked over 3 sunflowers and smashed a terracotta planter this week.

Assist: The back door's half open, she'll hear him in a minute.

Adam: Attention. She's chopping an apple. Engine room, prepare for transfer to the kitchen counter.

Lubric: Roger that Adam.

*A minute later*

Adam: Engine room, damage report.

Lubric: Minor sandfall in the south tunnel but no need to evacuate. Lieuten and his crew will shore things up.

Assist: You get a much better view of the garden from down here. I like what she's done with the rhubarb.

Adam: What's that shadow on the open door? It looks like the Death Star. It seems to be getting bigger. It's almost as if something's heading straight fo...


Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Best Medicine

Yummy Mummy was at the end of her tether last night with daughters H and Em, who'd been banished to their bedrooms.

'Come round later and we'll have some wine' - I suggested. 'Mr Duck can come round to watch the football at yours with Mr Yummy Mummy.'

Sometime later the text message alert bleeps on my phone:

Just cookin T. Both naked so thanks for offer but not 2night.

Delighted that she's found a way to relieve her frustrations I tap out a reply:

Sounds v interesting. Don't burn anything delicate.

Seconds later - a further missive:

Oops dyslexic moment. Supposed 2say knackered. At least now had belly laugh nd feelin slightly better.

Monday, June 04, 2007

End of an Era

After being my home-from-home for tea and gossip for three years and nearly 100 sets of sensational nails, the Pink Palace has been sold.

All customers were invited for a farewell drink yesterday at a nearby pub. I decided to wear shocking pink, in homage, and to match this week's cherryade nails.

'I don't imagine I'll be very long' - I advised Mr Duck, as I headed out the door with Yummy Mummy; anticipating a swift pint or two and hugs/air kisses as appropriate with a few, familiar faces.

The shocking pink turned out to be a wise decision as we entered the small pub, tucked at the end of some terraced two-up-two-downs.

Cowering in the corners of the bar were the regulars, clutching pints of mild and blinking uncertainly.

Setting up in the side room were one of the finest rock bands in the North West, friends of the departing Pink Palace owner's musician boyfriend - complete with tattoos, earrings and enough amplifiers and speakers to serve the borough, never mind a small pub.

Taking over the rest of the pub were dozens of PP customers like exotic birds in shades of pink, tangerine and lime - complete with highlighted, extended hair; stilettos to make Carrie Bradshaw green; and fake tans, nails and boobs aplenty.

The guinness flowed, the band rocked, the birds preened and fluttered and the Pink Palace got the send-off it deserved, albeit a very surreal one.