What Bank Holidays Actually Look Like

It’s Saturday night. After being shat on by a sheep in the morning, the rest of the day does not suddenly become magical. I go to town to buy shockingly expensive toothbrush heads, and in the car-park I give a man my parking ticket which has another hour left and he smiles and says he does this all the time and now finally someone has given him their ticket, what great karma. And I DON’T make the Karma/Car-ma joke, and this eats me up, ALL day. I go home and wash many, many dishes, feed pigs, collect eggs…

Basically, by Saturday night, I’m at the point where a massive upswing in glamour would be nice.

I’m especially thinking about glamour because I’m redoing my website and choosing images to go with articles I’ve written about 5-star hotels, beautiful lingerie and weekends away. But instead of glamour I get a phone call, from Andrew. He needs help rounding up a pregnant ewe that’s escaped. There is slime coming out her mate’s bum.

Our bank holidays do not look like they do on the adverts. We are not camping, playing on a beach, at a barbeque or even shopping.

On Sunday morning I sit at the kitchen table, so tired I don’t know whether to vomit or weep. Raffy’s new teeth kept me awake from 4-6.30am when, adorably, Bear decided it was time to get up. And during all this the lambs kept Andrew busy. Which is annoying, because the only thing worse than feeling this tired is someone else feeling even more tired. Especially when they’re your husband. Especially when they claim that just because you were in bed between 7.50-9.30am you had a ‘hell of a lie-in’.

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It’s a beautiful sunny day outside. But I am not outside.  I am very much inside, hair not yet washed, dressing gown still on. Andrew tells me I look like ‘one of those people in a retirement home’. We have not done what we were meant to in the garden, the house continues to look like its thrown up all over itself.  (Although this, in itself, is a feminist achievement, non? I am certainly no slave to the dishcloth today). I write this, on a kitchen table covered in Lego, Bear crawling over it. Raff continues to toss bits of bacon out his highchair like a king throwing scraps to the peasants, I try feeding it to him by hand, so tired I absentmindedly lick my own vegetarian fingers.

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But bank holidays are also dog walks with good friends who love your kids, who don’t mind that you’re late and that your husband hasn’t even turned up because he’s too wrecked from being up most of the night. Raffy painting himself with my ice lolly, and chips on the way home. Bank holidays are another friend unexpectedly taking Bear for an hour and offering to babysit if Andrew and I would like to go out for the night. They are walks with a cool kiddie-chariot thing with another childhood friend and her niece, the kids spending the whole time trying to push each other out.  And of dancing to the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Bear, even though he’s demanding mummy stop her singing RIGHT NOW.

Bank holidays are me leaning over Raff’s cot, the backs of my legs about to give out, cradling his boiling hot cheeks in my hands to try to soothe him to sleep as new teeth slowly break through his gums. The realisation that a sticker on his apple has brought him more fun than the box full of toys I spend most of Monday afternoon tidying.

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OK, SO HE DOESN’T LOOK ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY DELIGHTED RIGHT NOW…

Bank holidays are Bear and me making a fruit omelette for breakfast and it actually being amazing – like practically a soufflé. Bank holidays are about us spending time together, getting under each others’ feet, doing stuff together it would be far easier to do by ourselves.

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ELECTRIC CLIPPERS, ‘INQUISITIVE’ ONE YEAR OLD, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Bank holidays are being here, at home, when I could be off somewhere doing something else. I could be in one of those fabulous hotels I used to write about, wearing fabulous lingerie, drinking fabulous cocktails with fabulous hair. But that would mean I wasn’t here, in the guts of family life, bacon lingering in the air, fire alarm going off. And that would be…well, hell, actually.

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