Central Locking

 I have been – nearly – a single parent since the middle of February, and I’m left wondering how the bloody hell people manage kids by themselves – all the time! It sucks! I only have to do it for about 10 weeks every year, because that’s simply how farming is, but I’m rapidly running out of people to whom I can make a temporary present of my child.

Monday to Friday, Hubby leaves shortly after 6am, which is co-incidentally just when Harry wakes up. He returns a couple of hours later, and generally bungs breakfast into toddler as well as himself before disappearing again to midwife some ungrateful (He has fingers like bunches of bananas. Pity them.) sheep. He does come home at lunchtime, but Harry is usually napping. He returns sometime after 6pm in order to supervise the stressed-out, shields-up riot that is the end of teatime, and have maybe 30 minutes of play tired toddler wrangling before bedtime. (Up until this week he was visiting the barns in the small hours as well, but as that didn’t actually inconvenience me, it wasn’t a problem. Ahem.) I then spend an hour telling him what a shit day I’ve had, because Harry can take advantage of maternal weakness quicker than a wolf-pack spotting a deer with a heavy limp, and ups the tantrum ante accordingly. (He has discovered the face-to-floor, drumming-of-the-feet-and-fists Classic Tantrum # 1 this week. Pity me.) 

And weekends! Don’t get me started on bastard weekends. Ohhhh… too late. Saturday mornings: he farms. Saturday afternoons: he plays hockey. Sunday mornings: he comes back for breakfast in order to announce that he is going farming again, but always says it’s only going to be for an hour. Which wouldn’t piss me off hugely, except he’s always gone for 3, which does. Those are the days he generally contrives to leave his mobile phone at home. Nothing turns HFF Wifey into a psychotic set of teeth quicker than to dial the number, punchily, all poised to deliver a righteous chewing – and hearing the nokia da-da-dum-dum tune tinkling merrily back at her. 

He used to look surprised when he returned to my frothing rage and no sex, ever. We’ve been married 5 years this month, so now he just edges in resignedly and waits to be torn a new one… so that’s Sunday afternoon up the spout, too. Even when I’ve mastered the Sunday sullens, there’s an entire garden to do (that is still entirely tussocky scrub, to be turned entirely into lawn before summer gets entirely under way. Which is all entirely impossible in just Sunday afternoons.) which means me being left baby-minding then, too, because we’re still at the earth-moving stage. At 4pm, he goes and farms again, and suddenly you’re shielding your eyes from the death-rays of yet another Monday morning.

Just to compound matters, the sun has come out and the wind has dropped. Every farmer in the British Isles yesterday, as one man, revved up their sprayers and bounced out to annihilate themselves some serious weed, before frantically drilling spring crops in ground that was originally scheduled for winter crops, but imitated a paddy field last autumn instead.

John will be flat-out now. Fert spreading, industrious fungicide and pesticide spraying (fertheloveo’God, don’t get him started on the whole organic thing) and dagging (don’t click unless you really need to know an effective cure for nail-biting) will keep him busy until May – when he starts shearing. Annnnnd so it goes on.

So I have attempted to draw a line in the sand. The Met office forecast for Friday is currently sun1 although I’m sure it will actually turn out to be sun11

so I have firmly and irrevocably written Family Trip to West Midlands Safari Park on the calendar. We haven’t visited since I was pregnant, and it’s generally lots of fun if you’re either keen on animals


or just looking for something a little different to do.


 Harry can already point to a zebra when asked, and this morning he waved his arm in a cutesy little elephant trunk impression whilst imitating my trumpeting – which did admittedly sound vaguely like something – possibly a cat – dying quite horribly. I have also been telling him all about lions and tigers.

As he can now open the car door from the inside, I have mainly been telling him about how hungry they get.


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