A Note To Mum

It’s probably a good sign when you’re so busy you forget to blog, right?

But then, what happens when the work runs out…

Yes, the pace slows down to a crawl, and I get some time to think. And catch up.

Not too much time though, I hope. Cos lately, I’ve actually been earning enough to sustain living here and start to pay back some of the money I’ve borrowed (off myself) to finance the move.

This is good, and it’s real progress. Lately I’ve felt pretty good about myself. Well, part of me, anyway. I’m never truly happy, it seems. Largely because of my lack of social interaction with anything. And of the things I am interested in, politics, singing, computers, education… they tend not to get me involved with people my own age. Especially women.

But I can’t really complain. I now have short-term targets to ensure I’m earning £125 net profit a week. That’s not much, but believe me it’s a start, and right now it’s exactly what I need. Moving house has been an expensive business, and I really need to be earning double that per week if I’m to have a half-decent life… but even that is not sufficient. That would never pay off the student debt!

Meanwhile, today is my mum’s birthday. I have sent her a present, which thankfully arrived in time. But still it doesn’t feel right not to be there… even though I must have missed her birthday every year out of the four I was away at university. Still, I suppose it’s one less person to get in the way. My mum and dad get no time to themselves, so maybe they’ll be able to go out for a meal tonight without having to worry about paying for everyone else, as invariably happens.

It’s nice though to say thanks to your mum, and I really don’t do it often enough. She’s under so much pressure and stress from my family it’s untrue. I try my best not to contribute, but I know she worries about me anyway. Not as much as she does about my elder sister and her son (my nephew) – but she never complains. Well, only a little.

But who wouldn’t. She had my sister when she was 16 and has been a mother ever since, and is now a grandmother too. That’s quite a shift to be putting in. I think it helps keep her young, but soon enough we all need to be big enough to stand on our own two feet. I’m trying to do that, but no one else helps.

I feel sorry for her. She says she has no time to do anything for herself. And she’s probably right. The best she manages is maybe to sit down on FarmVille for half an hour each night. She doesn’t read. She hardly goes out. She doesn’t listen to music any more. She doesn’t play games, and hardly ever sees her friends.

Now I’ve managed to shame myself into thinking I need to be more appreciative. But that was my goal. I think I’ll take her for a meal when I’m next back. That would be a nice extra present, I think.

Thanks, Mum. Happy birthday too!

Stuffed

In the first ever event of its kind, according to my parents – who should know, I took them out for a meal this lunchtime.

We went to our local Harvester pub to take advantage of their very good meal prices and superb unlimited salad bar offer. No, I’m not on commission.

It was nice to get out of the house for a bit, away from the rest of the family, just the three of us, able to relax and enjoy our surroundings. The place is lovely, out the way from the usual eating venues, and better still, somewhere we haven’t been to before.

And when the value is calculated, it’s pretty damn good. £10 a head for what was effectively a four course meal, starting with a large helping of salad, some pasta with garlic bread (with another big bowl of salad), then a giant chocolate fudge ice cream dessert (£2.99) and a cup of coffee to finish.

I had to pay for the lot, but I’ve been threatening to do that for years. In fact it had become a bit of a joke around these parts. “I’ll pay” was what I would quip before we’d head out to dinner. It’s not like we do this that often, maybe once a month, and that’s usually because it’s someone’s birthday.

But this time I really meant it. Out came the credit card. Like I said, it was nice to treat the family, and all without the rest of my brothers and sisters hanging on. Not that this is a game of one-upmanship, but, you know, I don’t think any of us ever show our appreciation for our parents… so it was nice to do that for a change.

We’re still all stuffed now, three hours since the meal. I probably won’t need to eat much later. Better that I just sit in this chair for a few more hours and let it all digest. Wouldn’t want to see my hard earned money again!

Meanwhile, it’s been a quiet week. No progress on the escape front. Just more hassle from the rest of my family, and more of me dearly wishing to get the hell out of here. It will happen. One day. Just not yet. When it does happen it will be a total nightmare, as the logistics of moving from The North to The South are horrendous.

But that’s yet another reason why I want to try to enjoy my time here, since it may not last for much longer. There may not be many more chances to treat my family, except for the odd weekend when I’m home.

This too shall pass – as I like to tell myself. The four most reassuring – and most frightening – words in language.

Boy, I sure do love depressing myself.

Mother’s Day

When you look closely at a word, it tends to seem more and more ridiculous the more you pay attention to it. “Mother” is  a fine specimen of this genre. It looks stupid. Maybe because it contains a flying insect. And maybe because the addition of “er” at the end of “moth” somehow changes the pronunciation of the O vowel. English is weird.

Of course, the purpose of this post wasn’t to criticise the English language, but to stop for a moment and pay a little tribute to my own mother. Here in England, yesterday was Mothering Sunday. But since we’re not religious any more, we know it as Mother’s Day. We haven’t yet got to “Mum’s Day”, and maybe we never will… perhaps it’s a step too far.

So we tried our best to make sure the day was as good as it could be. There were presents, and much celebration, and I baked a celebratory huge sodabread. It was gigantic. I never intended it to be so huge, but it was… and it was perfect. I tell you, there’s no finer way to start a Sunday than to come down to the smell of bread baking in the oven and fresh coffee being made in the coffee machine. We were able to treat my mum to that yesterday.

Sadly, though, there was a little disappointment, as I realised that the presents I bought for my mum were an extraordinary rip off. I was foolish to think that this was more than just a thin face cloth. Somehow I misread it and thought it actually smelled of strawberries too. I wouldn’t have bothered paying so much – I could have bought a pink flannel down the market for a fraction of the price. And then there was the box of pink hearts… I thought they’d be bigger than they were. The picture makes them look huge. Don’t be fooled.

So mother’s day cost me nearly £15, and there wasn’t a single decent present off me. I felt rather bad, so I think I’ll go and buy a bottle of wine or something to make it up. But not today, it’s too windy…

Anyway – so my mum got lots of nice presents (except mine) and lots of attention. She seemed pretty happy. She then went out for a meal with her mum while we sorted the house out. I did all the washing, lots of cleaning and even ironed the school uniforms for my brother and sister. She was very happy with that one.

I’m sometimes a bit too impatient with my mum. She’s a little slow at times… and it gets me frustrated. But I do love her. She’s kind and patient, warm-hearted and caring. And, to be frank, she’s gone through a lot of shit in the past 30 odd years bringing up her five children, and coping with the stress of becoming a grandmother at the age of 36 (courtesy of my elder sister). And, the thing is, it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier as the years go by.

That’s why I do my best to help out around here, because she needs it. I often wonder that if I moved out this house would go to rack and ruin. One day I will have to move out… it’s just too cramped here.

But for now, I will carry on honouring and loving my mother in the best way I can. Thanks for everything, Mum.

What Happened?

I’m finding it rather hard to accept that the past week went by so quickly. But it did, just like every other half-term. My parents were both off last week, as were all my brothers and sisters and my nephew. So the entire family were all either not in school or not in work. 

And somehow, because they were all hanging around here all week in some form, that made the week just disappear. Even though I can’t remember that much of what we did, apart from trying to sell stuff on eBay. 

But at the same time, I think it also felt so quick for me because I had stuff to do. My work has once again dried up, but from Tuesday to Friday I had actual, real paying work. And now I have been paid, it’s back to sitting here waiting for the phone to ring or trying to dream up a new vision for the future.

I guess this is what self-employment is like. You live on your wits, waiting for work, which could come at any time. And then sometimes you’ll get work and it’ll be too much. Oh, I wish that would happen right now. I could do without another couple of weeks sitting here…

Though there’s not actually much chance of that at the moment. It seems everywhere I turn there’s something going on. The latest activity has come from the direction of my football team. Last Tuesday there was something of a crisis meeting at the league my team is a member of. The crisis is being caused because the league leadership intend to form a new, independent, league, and assume that everyone is happy to join in. Not so fast, said I and a couple of allies. We want to derail it. And that’s made us very popular indeed…

Today is the next crisis meeting, but this team the teams will be meeting with our local FA with a view to working out a solution to this problem. In fact, if all goes as I think it will, then I could end up volunteering to be a central organiser of the league, or at the very least a member of its management committee. Our goal, we think, is to topple the current management. We think we can do it once we put the full facts out to counteract the gross lies being told by the league secretary. 

So that means today is also going to be full of action. Well, tonight, as the meeting is at 7:30pm. But I can’t wait, as we’ve been worrying about the future of our local football league for months now. It seems we may finally be approaching an endgame.

The problem is that today is Pancake Tuesday. And, you know, it has been five years since I lived at home on Pancake Tuesday. In all those years, I’ve been living away, and I’ve never really bothered, possibly because I probably won’t ever be able to make a pancake as good as my mum. So why would I bother?

But today I am at home. And there will be pancakes made. 

I think it’s going to be a good day.

And that, my friends, is what happened.