Sunday, 29 July 2012

"Stop going on about pants" (Hubbie to me during the beach volleyball)

By now you've probably watched the Olympic opening ceremony. You may even have been in it in which case well done, unless you're the woman who infiltrated the indian team and caused an international incident. For my part I loved loved loved the whole thing and - as I commented on Facebook - the only way it could have been more spectacular is if it was an Indian wedding organised by my Mum.

It's out of character for me to take any interest in a sporting event and even more so for me to choose to go to one. So being excited about the beach volleyball yesterday morning took me by surprise. The last time I chose to go to an event with Hubbie was when we saw the San Francisco Giants at the SBC Stadium while on holiday in California. That was a long evening made manageable only by the constant entertainment and the organ that does indeed go "dah dah dah dah" like in the movies between innings.

I'm as interested in sport as Hubbie is in weddings. While I'm oohing and aahing at the dresses and flowers he's checking the sports results on his phone. In fact at his brother's wedding - which took place during the Ashes - the photographer had to keep sending his assistant into the bar to retrieve all the male guests (and groom) so the photos wouldn't just have women in them.

Likewise when sport is on I'm checking my email, facebook, twitter or blogging. I don't watch the BBC during Wimbledon fortnight as I have no interest in tennis and when the world cup takes place I spend a lot of time shopping or baking as I don't want to deny Hubbie his footie fix. Every Saturday during the football season the boys follow their team Fisher and I get to see my friends for lunch or catch up with the cleaning. Before we were married I used to attend one game a season, I'm now officially a Fisher widow which I much prefer.

Like almost everyone else I applied for tickets to a lot of sports in the Olympics without any genuine interest in them. I got tickets for the Beach Volleyball and Hockey and it's only the former that I was bothered about going to. It was as I expected unreconstructed sexim (complete with Benny Hill) and audience participation not unlike the baseball. It was fun and almost held my interest once Hubbie explained to me how the scoring works.

Now I regret that I'm not going to more events over the next fortnight - maybe all sports are like this and I'm missing out on something ?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My baby just cares for me...

I dropped my son off at nursery this morning and as I left I could hear him crying, but Petra told me he'd be fine and to leave, so I did. Then on the other side of the gate I paced up and down the pavement before getting into my car and bursting into tears.

I've known this was coming and it is part of the process of helping him to learn how to be independent. I was hoping he'd skip into the nursery all smiles and with nothing more than a jolly wave over his shoulder he'd go and play with other children and not notice me at all. Instead he fools me into thinking that he's ok by showing interest in toys and as I say "see you later" he comes over to me and grabs my legs to take him with me. Then as the staff peel him off and take him over to play with something I hear his heaving sobs as I go to the door.

Of course it's only his second day and they assured me he was fine for the hour that I was away, but his tear stained and snot covered face when I returned told another story.

It was my choice to give up work and stay at home with my son and I don't for a moment think it was anything other than a good idea to be the adult he spends the most time with. I've taken him to playgroups, parks, libraries and sung songs with him for almost 2 years now. It's me who spends 11 hours a day with him so I choose which tantrums to respond to and when to just walk over him and pretend he's a small noisy rug.

It's also me who hears most words for the first time. I watched him take his first steps. I helped him feed himself for the first time. I showed him how to give the cat biscuits (just before he put his foot in the cat's water bowl). It is only right that I take him to nursery and do the official handover of responsibility for my beloved boy. It's also only right that we both find this difficult.

I reassure myself that he is of course fine when I am gone and that he is just trying to make me feel better by being suitably upset for my benefit alone. In psychology speak it's called a "secure attachment." If we didn't love each other so much it wouldn't be so upsetting to be apart.

That's what I'm going to tell myself tomorrow, and the day after that …

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Radio Ga Ga Goo Goo

So my radio show will be on air on Monday between 1-2pm on internet station Croydon Radio

It takes me back to attending all day interviews at Pebble Mill for the BBC broadcasting apprenticeship and being overwhelmed by the other candidates who'd just come back from some war zone or other doing something very journalistic. I felt so unprepared and amateur it wasn't surprising the Beeb saw fit to turn me down. Instead I did some hospital radio, then some community radio.

Somewhere along the way I found my radio voice (it's a lot more serious than I am, but not too squeaky so that's ok) and learned that we don't play Madness to the psycho-geriatric wards of Ealing Hospital and speaking too close to the mic is called 'popping.' And now after a break of some years 'Radio Rabbit' is back.

Croydon Radio is going to be on air from the end of this week (official launch on Mon 23rd July) and I'll be producing and presenting a show called "Are we nearly there yet ?" I'm not the young, single gal I was so it's less music and more chat about grown up stuff and some ideas of things to do as a family over the Summer break. I've always wondered why it's called a 'show' when, clearly, you can't see the presenter or the programme, but as it's an internet station you can follow along online too.

I will have guests on the show and first up will be Totstars who do football and other sports for children - which my son loves. I really want to support and promote local businesses who are working with children and families. It's difficult enough to keep little ones busy as they grow and become harder to tire out so any assistance has to be welcome.

Tune into Croydon Radio at:
Find out more about Totstars at:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

My childhood love of Michael Rosen is rekindled...

Like 18,882 other people I follow Michael Rosen on Twitter. You know him, the poet who wrote for children and performed on television and radio when you were little. The man who told us it was cool to read books and that we were not nerds at all.

Well, he has serious concerns about what is happening to education at the moment - and who can blame him - so I sent him an email this evening outlining a few of my thoughts. Imagine how flabbergasted I was when he replied less than half an hour later asking if he could include my comments on his blog !

He's put them on his blog and now I'm putting them on my blog (which is a curious form of cannibalism surely ?) Anyway, what a lovely man and still the most important advocate for children and reading this country has.

If you want to follow him: and


Sunday, 8 July 2012

When will I, will I be famous ?

You are probably aware that Andy Warhol is attributed with saying that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Well it's the future now (compared with then) and we have the insidiousness of reality TV fame which enables the mentally ill to convince themselves that they are "living the dream." That dream appears to be to marry in haste (and often), have a lot of children, get divorced, develop an eating disorder and sell photos of each of these events to trashy magazines. I think I prefer my dreams to be a polar bear or an astronaut thanks.

I am not immune to the lure of fame, only in my experience it has been separate events where I have had a fleeting brush with fame. Well, strictly speaking with the famous as the closest I've ever been (or want to be) is where I've spotted a famous sort. So here, as usual in no particular order, is my 15 minutes of fame (spotting):

- Did I even mention the time Bobby Gillespie grinned at me on the escalator at Highbury and Islington station ? Well he did - he was on the down escalator and I was on the one going up. I stared at him in disbelief and he grinned at me all friendly like - what a lovely man.

- Pop Will Eat Itself walked past me as they were preparing for a gig at my university Students' Union. I knew it was them because of the hair, I don't recall the gig and I have no idea what they do now.

- Me and my friend Neil were in a pub in North London and we saw the woman from Echobelly who isn't Sonia (he recognised her I just stared and tried to work out how I knew her).

- Linda Robson from Birds of a Feather asked me if this was the platform for the London train at Reading station. I told her it was and that there was a train due in about ten minutes. She thanked me.

- I saw Jonathan Ross twice in one week - once at the LWT studios and the other time he and his family were sitting in the row behind me and my sisters at the Leicester Square Odeon watching the Lion King. I told people he was stalking me, but we all know that's just fanciful nonsense don't we ?

- I saw Xander from Buffy in Covent Garden only to find out a few days later that he is one of triplets so it might have been one of his brothers.

- I often see the woman who played Susan the receptionist of the motel where Alan Partridge lived in "I'm Alan Partridge."I think Barbara Durkin lives in Croydon - Ahaa !!

- I've also seen the actress who was the mother of Jan Francis in Just Good Friends (Sylvia Kay). I stopped let her cross the road in front of my car in Caterham on my way to a Zumba class one Saturday morning. I'm nice like that you know.

- I walked past Nadia from Big Brother on Upper Street - she was pouting and appeared to be waiting for a cab with shades on - it was not a sunny day.

- I saw Sean Pertwee with his son at the N1 centre on Upper Street - it shows great restraint on my part that I didn't just go over and lick him.

- Upper Street clearly is the place for spotting folk as I walked past film critic Kim Newman and Dave Gorman on the same day.

- I had a letter in the Guardian on Saturday once when I reported that I'd seen Jon Ronson on the King's Road with this son Joel. The letter was in his writing style - if you google it there may even be some record of it in the ether.

- I once saw Trinny and Susannah walking arm in arm on the King's Road which led me to wonder if they really do hang out together or if they were filming a programme.

- When we stopped at services on the M4 once me and my Mum saw the singer Paul Young - I had to explain to her who he was.

- I stopped for a cup of tea at the motorway services and spied at another table David Emmanuel - yes him who designed Diana's dress with his wife.

- I nearly bumped into Marc Almond on Tottenham Court Road (the YMCA end) - he looked very shiny.

So there it is - the roll call of fame that I've been in proximity to. The eagle-eyed will notice that it's not scientific, but as some of these encounters were so fleeting the sum total is probably around 15 minutes.

I am expecting a call from Hello any day now as I'm practically a celebrity in my own right now surely ?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The one where I confess to a craving for Kitchenaid

6a01156faec925970c0133f4ac472a970b-800wi.jpgI've watched a few Saturday Kitchens in my time - I don't have a thing for James Martin I just love watching people cook and the celebrity Masterchef bits always make me shout "what do you know about food Torode you saddo !" The main thing I love is when they start cooking something and use lots of fabulous gadgets. I have to admit that I have a few of my own: some electric mixers, a lot of spatulas, whisks, beaters, an electric cheese grater (don't ask !) and at one point I had a mushroom brush. A brush to wash mushrooms with in the shape of a mushroom. I have no idea where that went and I miss it.

I am the person who treats the Lakeland brochure like a guilty pleasure and hides it under the sofa cushions when Hubbie walks in. I fold the corners over when I see something I might find useful one day. The banana holder, the wine glass charms, the weights for the corners of tablecloths used outdoors. Yes at some point I've expressed a genuine passion for each of these items, but thankfully I've not purchased any of them. At some point I rationalise that I won't really need them and I already have so many boxed gadgets I don't use. 

Then along came Kitchenaid. It's the machine that Lorraine Pascal uses to mix her lovely cakes and pastries. It's the wondrous item whirring away on the counter whisking eggs while James Martin blathers on about something to the featured sleb on the show. I believe it's also featured in Nigella's kitchen, but I don't think I've seen the beloved Nigel Slater using one. I think I'm actually in love with it.

The issue is that I cannot bring myself to be ok with spending over £400 on a food mixer. Yes it's gorgeous and it probably is better than my humble Breville mixer that judders when it's on and where the paddles don't quite reach the base of the bowl. However, I don't see myself as a high end kitchen gadget user. I once talked myself out of asking for a small blowtorch for Christmas as I reasoned that I don't like creme brulee and what else would I realistically use it for other than to crisp the sugar topping on one ?

It's the same argument I use against having a range cooker. I love them so much, but I don't think my amateur efforts justify spending four figures on something I'd be too scared to use as it cost almost as much as a small family car. Hubbie very sweetly says he'd like to treat me to these luxury goods, something about "the style to which I'd like to become accustomed." I think it's nice to have far flung dreams that are ever so slightly unattainable.

Of course if anyone is offering me my dream kitchen complete with range cooker, enormous Smeg fridge and the entire Kitchenaid range it would be terribly rude to turn it down wouldn't it ?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday's Tarzan Toddler Tantrum and other traumas

I've awarded myself the coveted title of worst mother ever today - again.  As a multiple winner of the title I have run out of new things to say in my acceptance speech - usually my voice has gone from shouting so much anyway.

Having promised myself that I will be a better Mummy today (which I do every day) it often goes very wrong for no discernible reason. I do wish I was more patient, more zen, more loving and kind and better able to deal with:

- just after waving bye to Daddy a pot of yoghurt hitting the floor and a water cup hitting me in quick succession

 - wrestling to get the boy to put some shoes on, to get him in the car and to get his car seat harness done up

- my boy dribbling all his drinking water over his clothes for no reason other than he finds it amusing - four outfit changes later we can leave the house

- assuring him that yes he can go in the "buggy, buggy, buggy" to go to the post box, only for him to screech like a banshee when I try to actually put him in it

- watching him tear around playgroup like he's had sugar coated crack cocaine for breakfast while I wander round holding a mug of tea observing the Mummy cliques and trying to decide if there is seat that isn't 'reserved' for anyone where I can still see him before he runs over any small children with a Tiny Tikes car

Of course I love my son. I already feel bereft when I think about him growing up and leaving home to have his own life. I am not wishing away these golden years when he is forming his personality and testing boundaries. I just hope that I can learn to be a better parent so his memories of this time aren't relived in therapy and mine aren't of hiding in the garage listening to Radio 4.