Sunday, 10 August 2008

On the road to Cairo

Everything went to plan, of course.

Squirrel is safely in Wales. Shark and Tiger can't wait for me and Dig to be out the house, and Northumberland's finest babysitter, Aunty Dee, who drives at ten miles an hour, was predictably late arriving last night. That gave me time to clean the floors and stock the fridge. Now it's easy to pretend we always live with this level of cleanliness and this many peas. I've drawn all the maps neatly for her, including all ten roundabouts, the junction, and the free car park. With those I hope she can safely take the hands of the remaining twins and arrive at the lake on time tomorrow for Shark's sailing, and arrive unflustered at the art gallery for Tiger.

And I have even packed a bag.


This is a bag my mother used to unkindly call the rent collector's bag. I salvaged it from an antique shop in Suffolk at the cost of a fiver about twenty years ago. My mother is probably right. But I hope in this vintage / retro world of ours it looks like the sort of first-class bag to travel with.

The first thing to go wrong is the train to Heathrow. The one that was to serve as a getaway vehicle for me and Dig. That was foolish of us. Trains in Britain don't seem to run on weekends and holidays and most days because of a strange thing called engineering works. This is something I have never understood, because when applied to railways the engineering doesn't work. Especially on Sundays. Dig decides to take the car, which means the additional job of unloading the garbage, orange peel, biscuit crumbs and rotten potato which has somehow crept in there, because otherwise I worry that Heathrow car park staff might think it has been abandoned and have it towed away.

But then I start to experience some real delights. And it is the Business Lounge at Terminal 5. Where there is soft furnishing, quiet atmosphere and free food. Free food. FREE FOOD. AND FREE WINE.

Grit's world meets Dig's world. Grit's world is, quite frankly, horrible. In Grit's world, nothing works. Things break down, explode, die. People shout and cry and are sick down your leg on Christmas eve. Grit listens to screaming for an hour and a half because she is the worst and most evil person in the entire world. And what has she done? She wants to do to you the worst torture in the world. She wants to comb your hair.

When Grit's world is filled with so much screaming you think there can't be any more screams left anywhere, Grit descends into undignified scrambling and manhandling of kids, sometimes away from each other before they remove eyeballs altogether, or away from doors, windows and cars where they are just about to set to with fists, feet, and a stuffed puffin.

In Grit's world, you see, nothing gets better. It just gets worse. She electrocutes herself at midnight, plunges the house into darkness, is alone and defeated with three kids who in exactly eight hours will kill in the competition to open the packet of Cheerios first, and when she realises the full horror of this unfolding drama, there seems nothing else to do but lie flat on the kitchen floor and bawl.

But Dig's world. Dig's world. Here everything is elegant and quiet and works. Here you are made to feel special. This is a world which doesn't break down. And if it does, there are people to fix it. Here we are trusted to know what to do. If I don't, someone will save me, and leap to my aid, and discreetly cover my hesitancy, and everything will be alright, and everything will be safe. And here there are no triplets. Here I don't have to supervise the handling of tomato sauce. No-one will shout to a waiting group of parents at the park that mummy's bum will not fit into a wet suit even if she got one elephant sized. No. This is an adult world. And it is elegant.

It would be wonderful if Grit could live this dream. But within two minutes Grit's world intrudes. She clamps her hand to her mouth and shouts out 'I have to ring Aunty Dee! I forgot to tell her that the boiler will break down and she needs to relight it by climbing under the eaves and when she goes under the eaves she must not step back because the toilet waste pipe is propped up on a CD case'.

7 comments:

Brad said...

Enjoy dig-world while you can.

will free food fit in that smallish purse for later ?

Potty Mummy said...

Ah, those business class lounges. Am flying Easy Jet with the boys this weekend - the height of luxury. I can't wait...

Samurai Beetle said...

Enjoy the weekend, you deserve it!!!

sharon said...

Oh wow, I'd totally forgotten the joys of re-lighting a boiler! Trust you to remember it in the Airport lounge, what on earth made you think of it then?

Was the free food vegan or did you succumb to other delights?

Lynn said...

A first class Mum deserves some first class treatment once in a while!!

Enjoy your time away and relax,things will be fine at home,Aunty Dee sounds a treat;-))

Suburbia said...

Poor Aunty Dee! Does she realise she is walking into Grts world for a while?!

Hope you have a great time and that Aunty Dee is still sane on your return! :)

Grit said...

hi brad! ahem, of course i do not pinch the lounge food! i deny it completely!

hi pm! i have come to the rapid conclusion that easy jet is fine for the children...!

thank you samurai beetle!

oh sharon, i'm afraid i became a cheese eater!!!

thank you lynn!

hello suburbia! i hope aunty dee's time was suitably rewarding, so she will come and babysit again.