Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Scuppered again

Just as I'm about to sit down and take a deep breath and fill you in on all that's been happening over the past week (apologies for the lack of posts) - my morning has been scuppered yet again. Remember, Mondays and Thursdays are my 'free' mornings. Ha. Now that's a joke. Nothing in this world is free (and I can tell you that for free)!! So last week, Edie had a temperature and a runny nose. This week, 20 minutes after she was deposited at nursery, the phone rings and I'm told that Edie has a runny nappy. Yes? And what do you want me to do about it? She eats lots of fruit, what can I say? Or else, if it's not the fruit then it's her back teeth coming through - I know this because she just so happened to bite me with them while I was prodding around a few days ago. Isn't teething supposed to cause runny nappies? Anyway, I explained all this on the phone, but even as I was saying it, I knew it was futile. 'Well of course if you think it's a tummy bug then I had better come and pick her up.' So obviously, because they gave me no choice, that's exactly what I did.

And now I feel like screaming. Or crying. Or eating. Or just doing something to make me feel better because my life is so frustrating at the moment. I've had the parents-in-law staying for five days (hence the lack of posts). The lack of posts being not because of a shortage of material (on the contrary, as you can imagine), but simply because I've not had a spare second to breathe, let alone write. As much as I love the in-laws (and indeed I do, otherwise I'd be the first to indulge in a spot of verbal in-law bashing), they really are all-consuming. I put it down to their Frenchness. You see, at the heart of every true French household is the dining table. Now that's a given. And that's not a bad thing you may think. And I'd agree. It most certainly is not a bad thing. For one day, or two, or at a push three. But when it's a sit-down, all the plates, all the glasses, all the cutlery, all the mats, all the condiments, all the eating, all the mess, all the clearing-away, all the stacking the dishwasher three times a day for five days, then the excitement of a crusty French baguette wears a little thin. Even for me.

Take Monday as an example. JP had finally made it home after two weeks in India and, understandably, his parents (who by this time were already happily ensconsed in the house) were excited to see him. Edie was at nursery. Renée was at school. It was time to sit back, relax, break out some French bread and olives and get the wine flowing. But this was lunchtime, and being English and not an alcoholic I'm not in the habit of drinking in the middle of the day. But, of course, who was I to deny them their heritage? Four glasses of Cotes du Rhone later and I was feeling a little giddy. The in-laws, unpeturbed by noon-time drinking, went off for their afternoon walk along the seafront and JP decided to catch up on 40 winks, while I was left with just one task - to collect Renée from school. Now when the Frenchies aren't in town and JP's not around, I don't think twice about this task. Obviously it's just something that has to be done. But by 2.30 on Monday afternoon, it was slowly beginning to dawn on me that this time it may not be so easy. The later I left it, the more likely it was that I would be late to pick Renée up (if I walked). So that left me only one choice. To drive. But after four glasses of Cotes du Rhone I was, if not exactly pissed, at least a little flushed and giggly (not to mention decidedly over the limit). So as much as I hated having to do this, I crept into the bedroom and woke my husband from his jet-lagged sleep. He was surprisingly amenable about the whole affair. Maybe he realised that it wasn't entirely my fault. Personally I blamed his parents one hundred percent - you should have seen the size of the glasses his Father was pouring. And of course, I didn't want to be rude and refuse...

So Renée was picked up from school by her Papa. As for her Mummy, well I quickly regained my composure only to lose it again by the evening...and it continued in this vein until their departure yesterday. Which is why I'm sitting here wanting to scream. This morning was going to be my first 'English' morning for a week. A cup of tea on the hop, followed by a slice of toast on the go, a quick deposit of the girls at school and nursery and a return home to catch up on the mountains of washing and cleaning that have now accumulated in every room (well not exactly - but you know what I mean). Isn't it funny what you wish for? Maybe I need to learn how to appreciate the good things when they happen - like a glass of wine and a crusty French baguette. But hold that thought for a moment - I just have to go and change a runny nappy.


  1. Back on top form - well worth the wait!

  2. Glad you liked it Freddo...there's even more where that came from!

  3. I couldn't stop giggling when I read your article! I am probably the most British French woman in the UK. When my family visits I am always shocked to hear them demanding a 3 course meal at lunch! Can't you be happy with a sandwich, some crisps and a tea? When we visit family in France, we are famous for the ones "who never eat proper food at lunch! What? Really? Are you saying they skip a good pasta and ham, salad and cheese, with baguette everyday?! Sacre bleu!" well, it's just because I like to stay awake for the rest of the day!

  4. Ha! I'm holding...

    Just found your blog, you may be interested in the Britsh Mummy Bloggers social network There are quite a few of us over there, love to have you....

  5. PHM - glad you liked the article - yeah I love having my in-laws to stay but after a couple of days of non-stop eating and drinking it does start to take its toll - thanks for understanding!

    AMM - will come and have a look at your network right now...