Friday, 17 August 2007

Bloggering Off

I’m swanning off to South Wales for two weeks. ‘Swanning’ being the appropriate word, since I am trying to maintain a cool, calm and collected appearance on the surface (see my graceful, slender neck gulping back this glass of sparkling wine), but underneath I am working frantically to get everything packed and ready (see my big broad feet thrashing around among the boxes in the loft).
This time we’re off for a week camping on the coast with one of my brothers and his family, followed by a week staying at my mother-in-law’s house. There’s lovely!
The camping should be interesting, since my brother’s family are seasoned caravanners, but have never taken the canvas plunge. I have told them that camping is ‘the holiday the weather can’t spoil’ but for some reason, they don’t believe me. I just don’t think they realise how little there is to spoil.
My emergency camping supplies are two wine boxes, both Hardy’s and both £17.99 from Tesco. One is Cabernet Sauvignon and the other Chardonnay. I haven’t tried either of them before, but since both grape types are generally good ‘crowd pleasers’ I reckon they will be just what we need. If not, I am prepared to slug the lot back on my own.
It is Friday though, so no matter how busy I am, there is always time to pause for the Friday Night Fizz. This week it is a bottle of Angas Brut (Oddbins £7.49) an Australian sparkling wine which has a delightfully smooth and creamy taste that somehow reminds me of strawberries. This is excellent value if you like fruity fizz, and I intend to stock up on several more bottles for the Drunk Mummy Wine Vaults.
In my absence, I thought you might like to read an article I wrote for the July edition of Dulwich Life & Style magazine. I don’t live in Dulwich. I doubt I would be allowed to, since I don't own a single pair of white jeans (unlike Dulwich Mum who was up to double figures at the last count). The article looks a bit outdated now, since it was published at the end of the school summer term, but never mind. Here goes:

A Question of Sports Day

It’s the end of the Summer Term - the time of year when many schools realise that parents can’t possibly have any annual leave left, so they organise a Sports Day.
At my children’s school, which terrorises parents on a regular basis, some bright spark decided it might be ‘fun’ to have some races for parents during this year’s Sports Day.
I have always felt that I embarrass my children enough in public without having to make a special effort, but my daughter had other ideas. She pointed out that I am always urging her to ‘join in’ so she wanted to know why I wasn’t entering the Mothers’ Race. My defence (that I was wearing a push-up bra) was scornfully dismissed, and within minutes I was lining up with assorted long-limbed and athletic mums. There were a few nervous jokes, and the occasional high pitched laugh, but there was no disguising the air of steely resolve.
Now, the race itself seemed to happen in slow-motion, but that could just have been the actual speed I was running. Still, in my mind, I was a streamlined gazelle, bounding gracefully over the grassy plain. The video footage taken by a sadistic parent revealed a much harsher reality. I had been right to worry about the push-up bra.
The Fathers’ Race which followed, proved to be a triumph of ambition over common sense, and no doubt, resulted in months of brisk business for the local physios and chiropracters. The testosterone-fuelled dad who won looked delighted with his victory, and when he faced the cheering crowd, his moment of glory was only slightly tarnished as he realised that he had run the whole race with his flies undone.
Of course, there were other competitive events at Sports Day. The Picnic Display was hotly contested, as parents vied to provide the most nutritionally smug lunch. At one point, a wholesome mother offered me a piece of home-made cake which consisted entirely of chickpeas, yogurt and toddler spit.
Over at the stall selling ploughman’s lunches, there was some Long Distance Queuing. Unfortunately, the line of shuffling participants was forced to witness the disturbing sight of a mother trying to cut a large wheel of extremely ripe Brie into sixty four equal portions. There was some concern about what was likely to crack first – her perky smile or her sanity.
Finally, there was the Pimm’s Bar Relay (a personal favourite), where contestants had to get the next full glass lined up and ready just before they finished downing the last one. In my opinion, Pimm’s should be classed as a health drink, by virtue of its five portions of fruit and vegetables in every glass. It is also a much livelier alternative to a ploughman’s lunch or a picnic.
I seem to remember at some point during the Sports Day, there was a rumour that the children might be running a few races, or something. But like most of the parents there, I was way too busy to watch any of that.

I am off to enjoy the last two weeks of this glorious English summer (cue hollow laugh). I will be back in September.


dulwichmum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frog in the Field said...

Do call in Drunk Mummy,
would be delighted to see you, look you, Butty.
See you b-there!

Akelamalu said...

You brave woman going camping!

You have got your priorities right though re camping supplies - plenty of wine. Be sure to camp near an off licence in case you run out!

Loved the review of sports day - it had me chuckling out loud!

Have a great holiday.

Omega Mum said...

Ah - camping. The holiday where the fun never starts. Have a good time.

Heidi said...

You are clearly nuts. I don't have anything to add to OM's comment 'The holiday where the fun never starts'

Do report back. Try the new Leasingham riesling 2006 vintage, it does take the edge off.

lady macleod said...

have fun! I shall just have to refer to old post to see what to drink.

Mya said...

As a seasoned, hardened and frequently pissed camper (strictly canvas - caravans violate all style and cool rules known to womankind) I feel it is my duty to warn you about the difficulty of opening all those zips when under the influence of a shandy or two.

Mya x

dulwichmum said...

Ha, ha, ha. I love Heidi's comment on camping - " the holiday where the fun never starts," if I can't plug in my straightening iron and flush the en suite, I am not coming!

Good luck my lovely.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Have a marvellous time - I'm sure you will. Didn't you enjoy camping despite yurself last time?

Congrats on the published article.

Rebecca said...

Have a great camping trip - and regarding the sports day, the Pimms certainly sounds like the best bit!

Potty Mummy said...

Having missed Son #1's sports day (purely as a result of over-optimistic scheduling on our part, and the small matter of a cancelled flight), your article has brought it all into glorious technicolour for me - especially loved the bit about the push-up bra. As a result, I think I probably owe BA a thankyou letter...

DJ Kirkby said...

Enjoy! A holiday is a holiday! Missing you already.

Natural Blonde said...

I can't believe you're doing it again! Are you mad???

expatmum said...

My 14 year old queenager was heard the other day telling her friend that her mother (that would be me)will only camp if the tent is inside a hotel room! Can't think where she got that idea from - I'm not camping under any circumstances! Besides, over here (USA) they have bears that raid the place for food and things that really hurt when they bite.
Hope you had a good time despite my disbelief that you could even contemplate such torture!

IngeniousRose said...

But Drunk Mummy I thought you had not long returned from your last holiday?

Sparx said...

Ah, it's good to know that the competition continues throughout childhood... well done for daring to run in a push-up, I hope the wine cellar got a raiding after that one. Hope the camping went well... am quite partial to a drop under the open skies myself.

Drunk Mummy said...

frog in the field - I wish I had called in to see you, I would have enjoyed the Pimms and pig-tickling!

akelamalu - brave? or foolish?
The wine boxes performed extremely well. The cabernet sauvignon ran out on the penultimate evening, so the last night saw me sucking the dregs from the chardonnay box. (Not a great look).

omega mum - ha! what a great line! I may get that printed on the cover of the trailer tent!

heidi - it was fun (if rather windy at first!). That Leasingham riesling is excellent!

lady macleod - I hope you have finally gained access to your cash, so that you can at least slake your thirst with a decent bottle of wine!

mya - camping and being pissed do seem to go hand in hand with me too! You are right about the zips - I always try to do them too fast, and end up wrestling to un-trap them.

dulwich mum - somehow, I don't think you are quite cut out for camping. Although you would have liked the wine boxes (sadly no Chablis though).

M&M - I did enjoy it when the wind wasn't howling, or the rain lashing down as it did on the first couple of nights. The rest of the week was great weather, though - perfect for sitting outside the tent with the wine boxes, grinning like an imbecile.

rebecca - I think the schools provide alcohol at these events to anaesthetise the parents from the effects of each other.

Hello potty mummy! Sounds like a lucky escape to me!

dj kirkby - you are absolutely right, and a holiday involving two wine boxes can't be all that bad.

natural blonde - I have to confess I was drunk when I agreed to it. We were camping in our old tent, while my brother and his family enjoyed the five star luxury of the trailer tent. They weren't that impressed by camping (they obviously didn't drink enough) and have sworn their allegiance to caravanning from now on.

expat mum - the bears would be welcome to our food (couple of tins of beans, boil-in-the-bag rice) but I would fight to the death any grizzly that put his paws on the wine boxes.
btw - love the term 'queenager'!

ingenious rose - you are right (although I doubt there are many women who would class a week spent at their mother-in-law's as a holiday). Now I really have to get my slacker's arse in gear.

sparx - I wouldn't recommend running in a push-up bra - it looked like two puppies fighting under a blanket.

Drunk Mummy said...

Reluctant Memsahib also left this comment, via e-mail:

'oh God, that's great, and so true – the whole mother’s race thing: that whole steely resolve: and it's absorbed by steely resolved children too. The package is terrifying frankly.'

Drunk Mummy said...

Reluctant Memsahib - you are definitely better off out of it. I'm sure the mothers in Tanzania can't be that grim!