Things I am trying to do

Clean my house. This is a mammoth rolling project, always several years behind where it should be. I comfort myself – everytime a visitor has to pick their way to the toilet over the abandoned baby gate, heaped sacks of dog & hen food, a straying feral hostess trolley, 3 brooms, a bucket, a ragged boilersuit, and whatever toy du jour Harry has strewn underfoot – with the knowledge that people rarely die wishing they had spent more time dusting.

Organise my annual Bliss charity coffee morning. I am thinking Sat 5th November. I need to do rather more than think, and pronto.

Practise my guitar, banjo and ukulele more. Actually, just some would be an improvement.

Bring the tortoise in for the winter. She has been in once already, and was boomeranged straight back out again to enjoy the indian summer. She is a teenage, sulky tortoise, and prefers reptile junk food from a pet shop to actual Fresh Greens, so she is probably buried half-way into the ground, unimpressed with the unfairness of life.

Sew name tags in Harry’s school uniform. Then buy more school uniform and sew some more. The washing machine and its operator cannae take n’more, Captain.

Clip my supersized spaniel, who has somehow managed to grow into a hybrid of Cardinal Richelieu and a mike wind jammer.


Squeeze the pirate treasure map, that I unearthed for the school conker fayre, back into the garage.

There is already a quart of junk in the garage’s pint pot, rendering the operation fraught with annoyance. Dad made the map, painted the ship and roughed out the island shape and a couple of features; I spent a recent long evening adding various badly-executed extras. The parrot in particular drew unconstructive criticism,

and I have to admit that its beak is really not quite the thing.

(For the same conker fair, I seemed to be responsible for introducing Maggot Racing to the roster. A fellow parent made a stupendous race track;

I named the runners. Greb Coe & Linford Chrysalis were prompted by FB and random googling, Red Rot, Fester Piggot, Usain Revolt and Crawler Radcliffe were all, alas, my own work. I am unsure quite what a loss to tabloid journalism this makes me.)

Turn the bulging bag of Bramley apples from our tree into frozen apple pies.

Doctor the hens. I am winning the Scaly Leg Mite battle, but the cockerel is looking decidedly sorry for himself in the plumage department, and I have no idea why. Also, work out why some of the hens are refusing to be shut up at night, preferring to lurk in the undergrowth instead. I have repeatedly told them that the fox has A Working Nose, to no avail. Black hen – the only one to boast an actual working personality – toppled dead from her perch last week, and was only the second hen of the ManyManyLots I have owned, to have died of seemingly natural causes. Foxes, dogs or rank bloody stupidity have polished off the rest. John thinks I am Just Not Meant to own hens. He may be right.

Decide whether to invite Harry’s arch-nemesis (‘A says he doesn’t want to play with me anymore! But B and C still like me…’) for a playdate and making-up session… or give way to the set of altogether more juvenile impulses I had when I saw him push a hail-fellow-well-met-all-past-sins-forgotten-Harry sharply away this morning. The (unspecified, but that I suspect was triggered by an over-tactile Harry) incident yesterday that led to A’s dudgeon was, I am told, absolutely six of one and half-a-dozen of the other; a fact which I cognitively fully accept – before suppressing it firmly under the visceral maternal rush of channelled Tiger. And I could weep: until yesterday, Harry’s scales of reference were completely innocent of any like/not like divisions, and he’s never held a grudge longer than an hour in his life.

Worry about Harry’s first school coach trip to a museum 25 miles away next week. Harry should have been christened Lord Lucan, and I was sufficiently worried about the possibility of him straying to speak to the school; they promptly asked if I wanted to go too, and I accepted with alacrity – but when I had heard nothing and asked again last week, they had apparently decided that I needed a CRB check, which takes weeks. I am a little put out by this uncommunicated change of mind; however, I have highlighted the fact that he is a Vanisher, and feel I can do no more, short of stalking the school party behind dark glasses and a large paper. He will most likely stick to his friends like glue, in any case. Probably. Hopefully. Perhaps… I’ll have another word.

Chase the Paediatrician’s secretary for correspondence.

Chase Warwickshire County Council for speech therapy, as Harry will doubtless fall through the widening cracks inflicted by budget slashes otherwise.

Send my father, who has just texted that they can see the WHOLE bay of Naples from their hotel room, a highly abusive reply.

Go for a wee.

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