The Monster Diaries

Saturday 22nd June -Tuesday 25th June

Saturday was the ‘Big Birthday Day Out’ and I managed to get the whole family into London for the whole day (plus Best Friend From Next Door But One) without anyone killing each other or me and The Husband having a row.

The only set back was, despite informing everyone several days earlier that we would be leaving at 9.30am sharp, at 9.28 Middle Child expected me to start doing French plaits in her hair, to which of course the answer was a firm no! I scraped her hair into a ponytail, while she bitched and whined about how messy her hair was and how she really, really wanted French plaits and I cursed and shouted about how I’d given everyone plenty of warning about what time to leave and why didn’t she say earlier? She carried on bitching and whining all the way to the train station whereupon she enquired if I would plait her hair on the train. “No because we don’t have a brush,” I answered, whereby with a smug look on her face, she pulled a hairbrush out of her bag! FFS!

So it was that I found myself on the train trying to get her extremely thick, waist length hair into two French plaits. I am not particularly adept at hairstyles, despite having two girls, a simple ponytail being my preferred option, so hair braiding is usually accompanied by a number of expletives. Being on the train I did have to try and restrain myself but I could feel my lips moving as a number of phrases such as “FFS” and “FML” tried to escape. Eldest Child, thoroughly mortified by our mobile hair salon moved into another carriage and The Husband thought he was being funny when he suggested that Youngest Child and Best Friend would like their hair done and could I do anything with his? Oh, how I did laugh!

Once off the train things started to improve. The weather was beautiful and there was a great atmosphere around Waterloo which was filled with people dressed in their finery who, I assume, were all catching trains for the last day of Royal Ascot. I did find myself wondering if I would suit a fascinator and decided to add it to my list of things I intended to do, now The Children were growing up.

Despite my fear of heights, I didn’t find being locked in a glass capsule 135 metres in the air too traumatic and managed to get some great pictures from the top of the London Eye, including a selfie to prove that I had actually braved it.

Next stop was The London Dungeon, where I was locked in a cage and thrown in the dock for ‘dancing naked outdoors’ which, apparently, was some sort of ritual designed to find me a man! Really? Already these charges were sounding extremely far-fetched. Now if the ritual was to get rid of one, I could have understood it.

I was asked by ‘The Judge’ if I was pleased with what I had ended up with. I was about to reel off a list of reasons why I wasn’t pleased (missing the toilet while trying to pee in the middle of the night without putting the light on, being one of them) when I realised, he was pointing to a young man in the group. I looked over and was greeted by a vision of the most handsome man I had ever seen (the fact that he looked like a younger version of The Husband is beside the point). I think I was supposed to declare that no, I was not pleased with what I had ended up with but as our eyes met, I found myself saying yes, I was pleased. OMG the embarrassment. I then spent the remainder of the tour trying to keep as far away from him as possible and sticking close to The Husband so he didn’t think I was some kind of cougar who was going to grab him in the dark parts of the dungeon.

The highlight of the tour was when The Husband was made to bend over while the ‘Dungeon Master’ demonstrated the use of an instrument of torture that looked like something a medieval doctor might remove a man’s prostrate with, followed by the threat of having his bits and pieces cut off with a device that came in a variety of appropriate sizes. I asked if I could take that one home!

We arrived home that evening, a couple of hundred pounds skinter and completely exhausted. Youngest Child went off to stay at Best Friend’s house, The Husband promptly fell asleep on the sofa and I spent the next hour photoshopping all the photos I had taken.

I got up on Sunday morning to an absolute tip! There were still breakfast things on the side from the day before and when I went into the downstairs toilet there were the obligatory splashes on the floor, obviously waiting for me to clean up. “FML!” I thought, resigning myself to a day of cleaning and washing.

The Husband went off to work, Middle and Eldest Children were upstairs attached to some kind of electrical device and I could hear Youngest Child merrily splashing in Best Friends swimming pool while singing ‘It’s Raining Men’!

I decided to have five minutes sitting in the garden which, if you remember, is my haven of peace and tranquillity. The peace was soon shattered by a neighbour shouting at her husband that he was a ‘big fat c***’ and the arrival of a house sparrow that perched on the fence staring at me. I was thinking to myself that he seemed friendly but then I realised that the bird feeder was empty and he was clearly expecting me to get up and refill it. After stocking up the feeder with ten fat balls, to keep him going, I sat down again only for the pigeon that seems to have moved into the garden to start flying backwards and forwards across the lawn. As he is too fat and clumsy to reach the hanging bird feeder he was clearly wanting me to throw some food out on the lawn for him (this can only be done when The Husband isn’t here as that lawn is his pride and joy, oh and also when the cat isn’t about as she seems to think the pigeon is a toy we have procured for her).

FFS! I thought putting out nuts and fat balls would turn the garden into a retreat for the local wildlife and I would be able to sit on the swing seat, glass of wine in my hand and listen to beautiful bird song. Instead all that’s happened is that I’ve ended up with two more creatures that look at me and think ‘food’! FML!

On Monday night I had to be at the secondary school for Youngest Child’s induction meeting by 6.30, so I declared I would not be picking Middle Child up from the station as I would literally only have enough time to rush home, cook dinner for everyone, eat and then drive the half hour journey to be there in time for the presentation.

So, as planned, I rushed home and threw some chicken in the oven, chips into the air fryer and chopped up some salad. I added some savoury rice and corn on the cob to make it a bit more interesting and to make me feel like I don’t always feed my kids just chicken and chips.

The Eldest Child appeared out of the treehouse, where he has moved into during the room renovation (can I just reassure that said treehouse is basically a log cabin in a tree, is the size of my bedroom and also has heating and, more importantly, internet). He informed me that he didn’t want dinner because he’d only had lunch about two hours ago. But I have two huge packs of southern fried chicken to cook! “I will eat later,” he informed me and retreated back to the treehouse. FFS!

Five minutes later The Husband breezed in and out with an “I’m not stopping!”

“Where are you going?”

“I told you, I’m going to therapy!”

Now while I am convinced The Husband could benefit from visiting a therapist, what he actually means is that he is going to see his friend, who is an osteopath, to try to get his football injury fixed so that he can injure it again a few games into the next season, even though I have told him that he is too old to play such strenuous and rough games. A friend of his lost his two front teeth about twenty years ago after they collided with The Husbands forehead, the imprint of which he still bears to this day. Someone from an opposition team recently had a trip to hospital after The Husbands foot made contact with the guys mouth and sent his teeth up into his head and Nathan regularly gets involved in a brawl on the football pitch but then, according to The Husband, he is a grumpy twat when playing and takes it too seriously.

“But I’ve put your dinner in because I told you I’ve got to go to the school and I need to make dinner early because I am NOT cooking at 8.30 when I get home.”

My complaint fell on deaf ears and off he went.

As it was now nearly 5.15pm I asked Youngest Child to ring her sister and find out if she was nearly home because I was about to dish up dinner.

“She has only just left school,” Youngest child informed me. “What?” To get home from school she has to catch a train and then two buses so she wasn’t going to be home for another hour. FFS!

Youngest Child and I sat down at the table to try and make our way through the huge pile of chicken I had now cooked. If I had realised that I didn’t have to rush home to cook everyone dinner we could have just gone to for burgers on the way. FML!

We got to the school at 6.20pm, the presentation was at 6.45pm, so we looked around the tables set out to showcase the various subjects that they would be learning in year 7. Youngest Child wasn’t particularly interested in them but I had a lovely chat with the Geography Teacher, who had taught both the other two and seemed to think that they were both angels (I am still convinced she has got them muddled up with two other children). She has still not gotten over the fact that Eldest Child has decided to go to a different sixth form and she lets me know this at every opportunity. She cheered up though when I told her that Middle Child was intending to stay on and also take geography as an A level and not only that, she would also be getting a third angel from our household. I didn’t tell her that Youngest Child, unlike the other two, has no interest in academia and her ambitions have ranged from being an ‘It Girl’ to marrying Prince George.

After a fairly long chat I decided it was unfair to monopolise her time and so we moved on to the PE table where we tried to purchase a t-shirt and sweatshirt that didn’t drown her. Sir managed to find an age 12, which considering she is still in age 8-9 years clothing, was still on the large side. I then had a nice chat with Sir about how he had just left Middle Child on the rugby field (so that’s why she was so late) before moving on to the next table where we could confirm which house she was going to be in. The teacher on this table asked her surname and as soon as I told him, he immediately connected us with Eldest Child. “That boy is a genius” he declared! Really? Either he has a personality transplant when he leaves the house or there is another boy with exactly the same name.

I was so busy chatting with the various teachers that I hadn’t noticed that people had started to enter the auditorium for the presentation. We ran to join the queue as the point of all the rushing tonight was to get here early enough for the 6.45pm presentation, as I didn’t want to go to the late one and end up getting home at 9pm because I wanted to have some semblance of an evening to try and relax. It got to a few people ahead of us and they declared that the auditorium was full and we would have to come back for the 7.30pm presentation. FML!

I couldn’t bear the thought of having to be here for another hour and a half and seeing as I have done this twice before I made a decision. I looked at The Youngest Child and said “come on let’s go home!”

As I was still on a high from our successful day out, I thought I would book us all tickets to the cinema. The latest Disney film was coming out and it was one that everyone, even Eldest Child, wanted to watch. I was also feeling very smug because I had discovered a website that offered discounted cinema tickets to staff from my profession and I had emailed everyone at work to tell them all about it and had been receiving numerous thanks and praise from my colleagues for my amazing discovery.

So, having made sure the whole family, plus Best Friend, from next door but one, were up for it and free on Thursday night, I booked six tickets, using the discount and saving myself a total of £24 (and we were going to the new luxury cinema in town with the reclining seats and personal popcorn tables). Happy days!

To be honest I was surprised that The Husband had agreed to come but then it was the fourth film in a franchise that we had all enjoyed over the years.

Therefore, I wasn’t best pleased when, on Tuesday, he announced over dinner that I didn’t need to cook for him on Thursday as he wouldn’t be around. WTF?

“Where exactly will you be then?” I enquired

“I have to do some work visits,” he said, completely oblivious to ‘the look’ that was now directed at him.

“I don’t think you are,” I pointed out “because we are going to the cinema on Thursday night, remember we talked about it and I booked the tickets?”

“Well I won’t be going!”

I then proceeded to point certain things out to him, such as, how he never remembers anything I tell him because we are just not important enough and how if it was something he, or one of his friends, had arranged he would have remembered and organised the visits for another evening.

He then asked if it was about the money because he would give me the money for the tickets. I said the money wasn’t the point (they had after all only cost me £4.70 each) and it was the fact that he thinks it is ok to let us down and how he never spends any time with us.

This then progressed to a heated debate about, other than Saturday, when was the last time we went out for the day as a family? Apparently, The Carvery on Father’s Day counts, even though we only went out for a two-hour dinner after he had been at work all day.

I then thought I’d better make sure he will home at a reasonable time on Saturday as I had a night out planned for the birthday of my friend and colleague, Mrs S, and I was planning to get an early start by leaving at 5pm (it has been at least a month since I went out so I’m making the most of it).

Result, he isn’t working on Saturday, however he is working on Sunday which means he can’t take Middle Child to Romford to play cricket for the women’s team. I will have to say no to that match then as I DO NOT drive on motorways ever since I had a bad accident driving back from Manchester twenty-two years ago. It was a week before the car crash that killed Princess Diana and the first time I had driven on a motorway. I had a double blow out in the fast lane (it was suggested there must have been something in the road, probably thrown from the bridge we had just driven under), went into a spin and bounced off two crash barriers. The lorry driver that stopped to pull myself and my friend out of the car, said that he expected to find two bodies. Miraculously I only had a scratch on my foot where it had got wedged under one of the pedals. My friend seemed fine too, but later ‘developed whiplash’ and wondered whether she should file a ‘no win, no fee’ claim against me, until her boyfriend (who was a friend of The Husbands) pointed out that it wasn’t actually my fault and that wasn’t being a very good friend. Needless to say, the friendship, or the boyfriend, didn’t last very long.

The problem with not driving on the motorway when your daughter plays cricket all over Kent and Essex, is that you have to rely on The Husband’s work schedule (and his good mood) plus the generosity of the good friends I have made with the other cricket mums and dads, to ferry her about.

Still not over the fact that he is now not coming to the cinema I pointed out that I didn’t see why he couldn’t have done the visits on Wednesday night seeing as he is finishing work early anyway. It would surely have been better than doing them after a full day at work.

“What do you mean?” he asked, “why am I finishing work early on Wednesday?”

“Have you remembered you are picking Youngest Child up at 2.45pm from her induction day at the secondary school?”

“No, I hadn’t remembered that!”


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