Friday, 14 September 2007


Today is a day when I discover why I'm finding it so difficult to live with Elizabeth Hurley. She's hopeless as an au pair. But she's a personable character. She teaches us a bit of French and she cooks a few fruit tarts.

Well, this is what happens today. And it's nothing more than the smallest of moments.

This term, there's no swimming lessons for Grit and all the little junior Grits. The self-sacrifice required was tipping me over the edge. First the routine of dragging myself through someone else's bathwater every Wednesday morning. And then being broke, thanks to tennis lessons. And then there's the trauma of getting everyone in and out the car without a fight breaking out over a woggle. Plus the chances of Tiger making it through the lesson without going bonkers at Fish is zero. When we get home there's nothing to eat but raw potatoes. And as Shark, Squirrel and Tiger can swim some required meters, for the moment I've decided my self-sacrifice in this direction is complete.

So this term I decided we swim when we want to. Or rather, since I cannot take three children aged under eight into the pool, I can take two in when I want to, or I can palm one onto Elizabeth Hurley and I don't go swimming at all. In fact, there are lots of possibilities opening up now I don't feel I have to go.

But Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are not aged eight yet. So today Shark goes swimming with Hurley and I take Squirrel round Ikea. Tiger stays at home, where I hope she is not snarling at Dig. Tiger has taken against Elizabeth Hurley, which I'm sympathising with, but we have told her it is bad grace to chant 'If she's going I'm not going!' even if I say that myself. But Tiger, I say, I try not to chant it in front of the person I'm referring to.

Anyway, I enjoy a quiet hour with Squirrel in Ikea. We spend nearly £20 on a pot to hold tomato sauce and some other essential items I forget right now, all because Ikea don't have the embroidered lampshade at £3.50 we came in here for.

Then it's lunch, and I have yet to cook it, so me and Squirrel go back to the swimming pool to collect Shark and Hurley. We wait for Shark and Hurley. And we wait. And we wait some more. And some more. Then we wait a bit longer, even though Grit has gone striding in to the changing rooms (twice) shouting 'Depeche-toi!' and some other choice words which I hope neither Shark nor Hurley can properly understand. I have a very hungry Squirrel in the car. At home there is a hungry Dig, uncertain what to do about lunch for us all, and a very, very, hungry Tiger, who does not do well on hunger pangs. And then there's a famished Grit. Shark, struggling out of the changing room with towels, woggle, bikini, and goggles on her head, says she is hungry too, and asks what is for lunch.

Well, I say to Shark, I will have to make something quick when we get home. We just have to wait for Elizabeth Hurley to blow-dry her hair. And we wait some more.

Then I wonder why Elizabeth Hurley isn't gnawing at the swimming pool floor tiles in desperation like the rest of us. Ah, of course. She's taken a large packet of digestives to the poolside. And scoffed them.


Allie said...

I think that's very odd behaviour - and rude too.

grit said...

well in terms of odd behaviour, we're quite wide in our interpretation round here, so a fair bit gets through, even at the swimming pool. but certainly lacking in awareness to us, simultaneously while putting us under obligations to treat her well as a guest... which is sort of why i'm looking forward to her going!!