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Leaving, on a jet plane – I’ll be back on Monday

April 24, 2013

There was a strange feeling and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had just got dressed and thought all was well but couldn’t shake a certain disquiet, as if I’d put my bra on outside my jumper or my jeans on backwards; and then it came to me – my bottom was uncovered. It wasn’t bare – that would have been an obvious dressing omission that I’d like to think I haven’t made since I was, oh, around 3, but for the first time since January it wasn’t shrouded in a cardigan or tunic top. Posterior liberation. Marvellous. Having my bottom on view, even cased in denim, wasn’t something that I ever thought I’d be excited about, but rumours that I then proceeded to dance around the kitchen wiggling my bottom at will may not have been exaggerated. However the only witnesses were my nephew and niece and their silences were bought with some smarties.

I popped back to the UK on my own for the weekend. I know – crazy isn’t it. I spent the whole of Thursday travelling, did the same on Monday and had just Friday, Saturday and Sunday to spend over there. The occasion is a VERY big birthday for my sister (ok, she’s 40) and it was worth it for the look on her face when she opened the door. She’s 20 weeks pregnant and I was a little concerned we’d have a very, very early arrival on our hands but I’m happy to say that all is well and intact. Phew.

It was a lovely flight over. When you’re used to travelling with children, being sans child is a pleasure all in itself. Even hearing a child scream as the aeroplane landed in Dubai awoke no more angst than an empathy with the parents and a feeling of relief that it wasn’t me. I think that travelling on my own will, now, always be a precious thing and not a chore. Even delays and frustrations are, whilst not ideal, at least made better by the fact that the children aren’t with me.

On the way over something happened to my eyes and they wouldn’t stop watering. My eyes watering then made my nose run and to the uninformed I can see how you might have thought that I was crying. The lovely air steward on my flight became very concerned which manifested itself through the medium of kir royales being delivered to my seat, unrequested, on a very regular basis. Halfway through a poorly chosen film (Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler: parents leave their children and go away on holiday which was billed as a romantic comedy but which, given that I suddenly started missing the little ones rather a lot, was more like a hard-hitting documentary) I started getting moist around the eyes for real. My poor steward started pulling out the big guns, and suddenly the kir royale rate doubled, accompanied each time by not one, but two boxes of chocolates. I dug in and managed to get through them but had to admit defeat of sorts when he then bunged in two tubs of ice cream as well.

It’s the little things that make the difference about being home – being able to brush my teeth in tap water; avocado and crayfish salads at Pret (seafood is not high on the list of ‘things to eat’ in Slammers); clotted cream on my scone during afternoon tea in the Dorchester…ok, that’s not such a small thing. Actually a grand, humungous birthday treat (but I couldn’t send my sister on her own) and, together with seeing my family, totally worth the journey.

I got back yesterday to be told by my 2 year old that ‘Daddy doesn’t know everything’. Quel horreur! I asked what it was, precisely, that Daddy didn’t know. To whit:
1. He doesn’t know where all the dogs live.
2. He doesn’t know where all the cats live.
3. He doesn’t know where all the giants live.
When it transpired that H hadn’t asked his father the above questions, I arranged a little Q&A between father and son at bedtime. A, without a missing a stride, came up with:
1. In kennels
2. In a cattery
3. In Giant Land.
This seemed to satisfy and fatherly omniscience has been restored.

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