Thursday, September 27, 2007

Retired Hurt

The love affair is over.

I hate my iPod.

Flushed with the success of the shopping trip, I made a new 'Run with Me' playlist* and road tested it on my usual route - tucking iPod into the waistband of my cycle shorts in lieu of a swanky armband**.

Instead of focusing on my persistantly niggly left knee and the tortured rhythm of my breathing, the music filled my head and I pounded the route without my usual rest stops - even uphill! I reached the end, still listening, endorphins aflowing, so I carried on, and on, and on. Paula Radcliffe diminished as an icon with every yard. I pictured myself crossing the finish line in next year's Great North Run - lifting a bottle of Moet to my lips, (or at least Lucozade Sport).

The slightly euphoric and smugly self-satisfied mood stayed with me all day and all evening.

It was only the following morning when I rolled out of bed and had to stagger to the bathroom like Zara Phillips after Badminton that I realised my folly. I couldn't bloody walk! For two days!

So. iPod. I know the cycle shorts were not the most pleasant spot to spend time, and it got a bit sweaty and slippy, and having me dive to retrieve you when you slipped southwards wasn't ideal. But how could you trick me like that? Why didn't you stop me? A duck's got to stay in shape and I did promise you the armband for next time....

* She Sells Sanctuary - Cult; Love is a Stranger - Eurythmics; Insomnia - Faithless; A Midnight's Summer Dream - Stranglers; Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division; The Passenger - Iggy Pop; Black and White - Upper Room; Laid - James; Waterfall - Stone Roses; Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's.

** On my shopping list along with a docking station (if you're reading this Father Christmas, please make a note to save me a stamp in December)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now You See Me..

I had to visit the Shopping Centre in town on Saturday to get winter pyjamas for Tiddler*. This would normally fill me with utter dread, but for my new Invisibility Cloak.

No-one spoke to me.
No retail advisors came to assist me.
No-one gave me nightclub leaflets.
No-one approached me with a clipboard.
No-one offered me double glazing.
There was no white noise.

There was no noise of any colour,

except for the playlist on my iPod, making its debut appearance in town.

The tell-tale white leads trailing from the ears must flash subliminal messages to the masses. Do Not Approach - Shopaphobic at Large.

Transactions were fantastic. Hand over goods, insert card, enter pin, remove card, take bagged goods and receipt, smile, move on. Not a word exchanged. It was like virtual shopping.

I am so in love.

* The Simpsons and Glow-in-the-Dark Scooby Doo if you're interested.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who are you and what have you done with Tiddler?

It started in the first week of term.

Friday - week 1. I pick the Little Ducks up and discover a Head Teacher's certificate in Tiddler's school bag. I am on the point of returning it to whichever child he'd stolen it from, when I notice it has his name on the front.

Awarded to Tiddler for 'a fantastic first week back'.

This is only his second Head Teacher's certificate - he got one for yoga* last year.

Monday - week 2. I collect Tiddler and discover a massive Gold Star on the back of his chair and a Gold Star pin badge on his marker-pen-personalised school jumper.

'I'm Gold Star for the week**'.

I check my ear to ensure my Babel Fish is inserted correctly.

'There's a cape and a crown too' he adds.

Friday - week 2. Another Head Teacher's certificate -

Awarded to Tiddler for 'exemplary behaviour at lunchtimes'

I make a mental note to check the garden again for tell-tale pods.

* yes, Tiddler does Yoga - directly before football training on Mondays - stops him from actually killing anyone.
** a child is selected each week to be Class Monitor based on the number of good behaviour points they've accumulated in the previous week.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Music To My Ears

Tiddler has his delayed 5th birthday party this Sunday - finishing in time for me to get to Old Trafford for the Chelsea game. I am a master of organisation.*

He has whittled his class of 34 down to a final 20 invitees.

'Has he picked any girls?' I checked with Mr Duck, who was in charge of invitations in my absence.

'Which girls have you invited, Tiddler?' - he asked, relaying my phone question.

'The pretty ones I like' - he responded, unashamedly un-pc. Perhaps that's why we haven't had the early morning serenades lately.

Speaking of serenades. JP had an MP3 player off M for his birthday and I have been uploading his favourite tracks. Unfortunately he hasn't really mastered the art of not singing along out loud...**

'This bed is on fire with passionate love' - he announces as he dances down the stairs. Mmm. Maybe I should upload some Tweenies, in case he decides to use it in public.

* Having also dumped Mr Duck with the Little Ducks and all the luggage at Manchester airport to hail a taxi straight to OT for the Sunderland game after flying home from Italy.
** To be fair, neither have I with my new iPod. I got caught doing Mrs Robinson by the pool on holiday. (Well not 'doing' Mrs Robinson - I leave that to Dustin Hoffman).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lost in Translation

We returned to Italy this year to the same place as last year. It is an idyllic spot in Umbria called Le Case di Lisetta. Last summer JP and Tiddler spent the week catching crickets in the morning and systematically jumping in the pool, climbing out, jumping in, climbing out, jumping in, climbing out in the afternoon with two little Italian Anatras holidaying at the same estate. This meant Mr Duck and I got to lie by the pool, drink beer, read and talk football with Mr and Mrs Anatra, rather than entertaining and refereeing the offspring.

All summer they have been asking if Nicolo and Stefano would be at the Case again. We tried to keep their expectations low.

5 minutes after we pulled up at our stone cottage, a familiar blue Peugeot appeared with two grinning Little Anatras waving madly. Apparently they had also spent weeks asking if JP and Tiddler would be coming to Italy.

I read 5 books, listened to my new iPod, ate fresh figs off this tree outside our house, drank cold Peroni in lieu of Guinness (sorry Bli, sorry Dave) and gained a tan.

The night before we returned home, JP and Tiddler put the TV on instead of a DVD.

'Are you watching Italian Telly?' enquired Mr. Duck.

'Tagliatelle?' Tiddler retorted. 'Don't be silly, Daddy. You can't watch pasta.'

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I have brought a note..

It has been two weeks since my last post and a pretty poor showing for August overall, as I'm sure you'll agree. I have been on holiday twice (Devon two weeks ago and Italy last week) and haven't figured out this in absentia posting mullarky to keep you entertained. Whilst the holidays are a big part of my excuse, the main reason for my silence is that I have been suffering with insomnia.

I can't get no sleep.

It started with a ringtone. I have had Insomnia by Faithless as my ringtone for some months and it has seeped into my consciousness and infected my normally reliable, 7 hours per night, still and quiet sleep pattern.

For the past month, I have barely slept. I've never given insomnia a second thought, let alone donated money to its support groups, beyond it being a great dance tune and a reason to mock Mr and Mrs Duck Senior for their nocturnal tea-brewing habits on account of their poor sleep patterns.

Now Sleep has been suddenly and unexpectedly torn from me. I feel like I've lost one of my best friends. I didn't realise how much his presence in my life meant to me until it was gone. As my eyes fly open at 2 something or 3 something every night, I know with certainty that I will not sleep again. I find myself watching the unfamiliar night time numbers on the clock, unable to stop the whirring and turning of the cogs in my mind. Night after night after night like some tortuous Groundhog Day parody*.

I feel sick and miserable. I have no appetite, no energy, no enthusiasm. I am stumbling in an ashen netherworld, breathing in and breathing out and just getting through the days. At night I lie there, dreaming of being back in the arms of Morpheus. If we each have our own private hell, then welcome to mine.

* but without Sonny and Cher singing I Got You Babe, which is a small blessing.