On a weekend away in the countryside Una Guardian discovers the problems of being made to feel like a single mother while your husband stands idly by.
The weekend was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish and it was one which had started with such promise. Adrian, or the insipid one as I like to call him, tried to disturb my plans for a successful weekend away right from the offset. Earlier in the week St. John and Matilda had called me up, well Matilda had called me, St. John is lovely and all but he’s more of a doer not a thinker, Matilda is the one who plans their lives. St. John and Matilda are so parochial it’s unbelievable they live only three hours outside London but you’d think they had chosen a compulsory wilderness. I mean they don’t even have a dishwasher for God’s sake. My mother has been on at me for weeks now to stop “taking the lord’s name in vain” in my column, she doesn’t understand what it is like for a career girl in London these days. People like me have to swear just to be noticed. She doesn’t understand me in the same way Matilda doesn’t, Matilda doesn’t understand that it would be impossible to be a proper career girl in London without a dishwasher. And the way she went on about having to arrange the Bed and Breakfast for the nanny? God (there I go again) you’d think she was about to suggest that the nanny sleep in the same house as us. I mean really? Considering what the insipid one did to the last one!
Our first argument surfaced when we stopped for my first smoking break. Yes folks I’ve started again. I blame Adrian, he suggested the other day that I’ve “piled on a few pounds” – I haven’t – and that was all it took. So considering we have a policy of not smoking on our children we stopped by the road to smoke and Adrian suggested that we change over driving duties. He really just doesn’t understand does he? I mean how am I supposed to look after the kids and drive at the same time? He certainly won’t look after them will he? And we can’t have the nanny with us she has to take the train to stop Adrian from looking at her all the time and not concentrating on the road. Anyway I get my way eventually, he’s grumbling that if I’ve got so much on my plate then I should delegate more to the nanny. Well she can’t do my smoking for me can she Adrian? I can’t order her to go down to the gym and work off the pounds for me can I Adrian? Although I do order her down to the gym to work off her own blubber, I can’t abide fat people raising children, goodness knows what kind of impression it would give them.
So to keep up with what I had been saying to Adrian I examine the kids and check to see how they are enjoying their educational toys that were given to us by those lovely people at www.toysrus.com I’m not sure that they are impressed with them to be honest. I think that’s the problem with education it doesn’t interest the kids at all. But there was no way I was going to let Jeremy, or Bronwin as I’ve increasingly taken to calling him – what were we thinking when Adrian named our children, play with his Nintendo Gameboy Advance – I mean St. John and Matilda would think we were common.
After we arrived we spent an afternoon running around different shops in the village including one which sold antique doors. Matilda announced that for dinner we would also be joined by some of their neighbours, Sebastian and Nelly. These guests were an absolute disaster. They have a new baby and you know what that can be like. They never stop talking about the poor child, and I think they’ve trained it to cry at key points when other people are telling interesting stories about life in London, Guilford and the surrounding environs. I mean who brings a child to dinner anyway? We sent Jeremy and Lucy off with the nanny like any decent human being would do. Apparently Sebastian and Nelly think it’s acceptable to bring up a child without a nanny. Well maybe it would be if you didn’t move in certain circles but really one has started to believe that Sebastian and Nelly might be seriously downwardly mobile.
The following morning at breakfast we discovered another quirky feature of the countryside life, Sebastian and Nelly returned for breakfast with their baby. Apparently all dinner invites to neighbours now come with an invite for breakfast the following morning so despite having gone home after dinner they were coming back for more. Just as we were discussing this strange custom and the possibility of it taking off in London, Lucy came into the room complaining of a pain in her shoulder. Both of the kids had been sleeping on the floor on airbeds and Lucy’s hadn’t been inflated properly by St. John and now her shoulder was hurting. To her credit the nanny found the number for a 24-hour-call-out osteopath in the area and we were instantly hurtling off to seek his advice. Despite us being the only patients he was going to see on a Sunday we still had to wait 15 minutes. Although initially I was thinking this unfortunate it was in fact quite the opposite. Bronwin, or Jeremy as the insipid one likes to call him, noticed that this osteopath didn’t have as many certificates on his wall as the one back home in Guilford did. And when Bronwin, my little 10-year-old wunderkind, quizzed the call-out osteopath about this he agreed that he didn’t have as many qualifications as our usual osteopath and that in fact he could do some harm to my poor little Lucy. Thinking back on it now I should have never trusted somebody that a nanny could find in a book for goodness sake. As my mother always said, “By recommendation or not at all, and a book is not a recommendation”. It’s a saying that has always stuck with me and perhaps it will stick with you?
The journey back home was not a pleasant one as it was very hot in the car and the air conditioning unit had broken down. Adrian kept shouting at me that I was supposed to have fixed it by taking the car to the service station but he doesn’t seem to understand that it would have been impossible for me to get back to the house. What does he expect me to do take a bus? Only Adrian would have bought a car from a company with a service station south of the river, not even taxi drivers go there.
Once we got home, and Lucy had spent an hour at a London osteopath that she didn’t like because the man smelt of sherry, I decided that the poor kiddiewinks had had quite a horrendous weekend and that I would spend some quality time with them myself. So for a break I sent the nanny back to Guilford to clean the house. I always feel guilty when we go away for weekends because we don’t go and vist the Guilford house, but knowing that the nanny had been in and spring cleaned the place would make me feel a little better about it. Adrian has snivelled off to his club, and with any luck won’t be back until after I’ve gone to sleep. I’m sure he won’t mind me telling you all of this as he takes another sort of newspaper that I don’t care to mention here. So as I write this I’m doing the motherly bit of looking after the kids, I plonked them in front of a Disney Classic which are now available 2 for the price of 1 from our lovely friends at www.amazon.co.uk and am enjoying a glass of the old vino while I write up this account of my weekend for all you lovely people. And my message for you all this week is this: Looking after children isn’t that difficult, because if my nanny can do it then anyone can.