Leaves On The Track

By Alison November 26, 2008 No Comments 7 Min Read


Leaves on the track. That was the notorious excuse British Rail once gave for the reason why expected trains had failed to run. An excuse generally considered to be a lot of balderdash, and thus the reason why I am loathe to offer excuses for one too many absences in the register of those of us who should blog on a regular basis. So I won’t make any excuses at all, because I once read that 99.9% of blogs consist of posts explaining why the said blogger isn’t blogging and I think you will agree that that is deadly dull for all of us.
But I’m the kind of woman who can’t resist a challenge and so please consider what follows to be my efforts to make what amounts to an excuse on the scale of the cat ate my homework, as endearing as possible in an effort to have you forgive me…

It started Thursday night. Never let it be said that I am not abundant with good intention.  I fully intended to sit down and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving in a post about gratitude. I was intending to say thank you for the internet, and for chocolate digestives dunked in an oversized Christmas mug of tea, and for all your lovely continued support, and for Finley, because who wouldn’t be grateful for a child who is both oddly Godly (Don’t be so rid-ick-lias Mummy, of course you don’t love me more than you love Jesus!) and hypochondriac (Please tell Mrs Warwick I’ve got the shakes this morning Mum). I was intending to get a little bossy and insist you write your very own list of reasons to be grateful for eccentric children and mithering Mothers and broken down cars (the clutch has gone, and now the battery has died) and holes in the roof of your head, but instead I fell asleep on the laptop  and woke up with QWERTY printed on my cheek. No really. One minute I was snuggled up in a big green patchwork quilt, laptop on knee, full of the joys of a cosy Winter evening and the next I was slumped (slumped I tell ya!) over my computer like a baby who has fallen asleep in his breakfast. So I took my muddled self to bed, leaving lights on all over the place and another day was lost to my over-riding air of absolute exhaustion. Shame on me.

The next day was Friday. It has come to pass that Friday is now officially Shopping With Mum Day.. Which is always fun and generally involves a quick swali around Southport, a jacket potato in Marks and Spencer’s (she likes a good potato does my Mum) and once culminated in her laughing so hard she choked on a swig of coca cola, took her foot off the clutch of the car and bunny hopped into the wall. At which point it struck me that I should stop laughing, take her dramatics slightly more seriously and bash her hard, thus I am pleased to report that she lived to tell the tale and sprayed herself in the face with a bottle of perfume at a chichi cosmetics counter an hour later. God love her.
So yes, where was I? Oh yep, we went shopping. Finley had gone on a school trip to Delamere Forest to stroke reindeers and inform the rest of his class that all the Father Christmases you meet in shops and indeed in cosy log cabins in the middle of random forests are actually just “gangans in pretend beards” because the real Santa is invisible (God and Father Christmas are the same person apparently and God would NEVER wear a beard you can ping!) and Mum (being Mum) was obviously irrationally worried that a) he would come a cropper on the coach journey, b) be spirited away by elves when he got there and c)ruin the gorgeous imaginations of thirty other innocent little minds with his too grown up theories on the magic that is Christmas while I was just glad he was out of my hair so I could concentrate on making our own Christmas delicious enough to have him believing all over again…

Then I got a tummy ache. And my fingers went so white with cold I couldn’t bend them, so I had to have an early night, some hot milk and a sleepy lavender bath and that was Friday gone in a flash. Another day over, not a child in the house washed and the post I intended to write about making Santa real for kids still lingering in the tinsel tangled tunnels of my imagination…

The next morning I woke up with the kind of day ahead that leaves no room for the swinging of a cat or the firing up a neglected laptop. I got Finley packed to go to Marks hose, had a minor disagreement with said Daddy about what was the appropriate amount of money to spend on a child at Christmas and another minor conflab about whether it is OK for me to be a little concerned that yet again school will be calling in the special needs police to have a look at Finley because his letter formation capabilities are not matching his ridiculously articulate mouth,(something Mark insists is nothing to worry about and something I think I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Mummy if I didn’t worry about) and then I waved goodbye, tied something very snazzy indeed around my head and went with Kath to buy a present for a mutual friend and drink coffee in our very favourite craft gallery. By which time it was four o’clock and a bitterly cold but oh so festive fog had descended over Ormskirk and I knew I had to get home to get ready to go out again and I really couldn’t face it, but needs must, so after considering getting a shower fully dressed I finally managed to get my goose-pimply skin under a spray of very hot water and felt altogether better indeed, after which I consumed a medicinal glass of warming red wine and went out to freeze my blue toes off all over again.

The next morning, because it seems there is no rest for the wicked, my child returned home, I ran around ironing piles of school uniform and baking an emergency batch of gluten free cakes and then my kind friends Chris and Siobhan took my Still Wearing A Smidgen Of Last Nights Smudgy Eyeliner-ed Self off to a lovely kids party complete with very loud magician and obligatory plate of carrot and cucumber crudités and a fun time was had by a roomful of feisty five year olds and an assortment of mildly hung-over suburban parents, all of whom knew that said party would have to be followed by the repenting of our sins at the Christingle Church service it wouldn’t do to miss, (because community peer pressure amongst the decent types of Aughton is apparently rife). And so off we gallivanted, Finley’s eyes nearly falling out of his head when he was handed the traditional Christingle Orange studded with sweeties (Are they gluten free Mum? Ask the vicar if they are gluten free Mummy. ARE THESE JELLY BABIES GLUTEN FREE VICAR?????) and my eyes blinking back tears of (nerve wracked) loveliness when all the kids lined up to  set their hair on fire…

You would have loved it. Even the slightly bonkers reggae Christmas puppet show in the middle of it. And so we returned home with ice on the tips of our noses and gladness in our souls and I put the bins out and gave Finn’s monkey jimjams a quick spin in the tumbly dryer to warm them, and then because the fourth television of the year has given up the ghost and I could see Finn’s breath freezing in the air as it left his mouth, I made his milk, and we both got in my bed at seven thirty to talk about his irrationally deep feelings all over again, read the first chapter of the Wishing Chair, and  snuggle him to cosy sleepsville,  while I drank hot chocolate and reflected on the fact that I am a rubbish blogger at this time of year and things can only get worse because it is time to hang my Christmas wreath on the door and alert the neighbours that she who always manages to make Christmas into something of a kerfuffle has got a head start on things this year…

Leaves on the track… and oh look, more leaves on the track… Forgive me? My heart is in the right place. It’s just hanging upside down and wearing a sheepskin jacket to keep out that bitter Christmas wind.

Happy Thanksgiving Housekeepers.

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