Thursday 8 September 2011

Decorum ... not!

Hmmmm. Funny week really. It's a shock to go back to school after 8 weeks of holiday, early starts and chillier weather doesn't help either.

This week began on Saturday 3rd for me. I don't usually begin a week on a Saturday but it seemed appropriate somehow. On the Friday, the 2nd, I'd closed that week off nicely by dropping off all school kit into classrooms and onto pegs. The items were ironed, labelled, out of my hallway. Smug, Smug, Smug. Never in the history of my 8 years of being a parent have I been so organised.

I woke on the Saturday feeling free and very ready to tackle a week in which I got to be alone with the devastation of the house.

Wonderfully we were invited to a lunch party at the home of the 8yo's pal.(Homes and Garden eat your heart out.) We got a bit spruced up, I wore heels (kissed the wellies bye-bye) packed up a pavlova, booze and children and went off to play.

The weather was behaving itself and we had drinks in a summer house in the gardens. Delightful. All was going well till we sauntered back to pick up the food from the kitchen. Traversing the bridge spanning a monumental drained fibre glass pond, the children spotted a stranded creature, a tiny shrew lost in rodent hectares of fibre-glass. At least he has a drink, I thought gazing at the rain water reservoir in the deepest part of the sloping chasm.

For at least another hour I tried to forget him, block him from my mind but as my intake of wine increased, the wind gathered and the rain started and we toddled back over the bridge to the warm kitchen, my Steve Irwin tendency took hold.

'That's it, I'm off to save the shrew!'

'Oh God' murmured the host, no doubt concerned about a death on his property

I kicked off heels and strode towards the picket fence. I may have been better off keeping my heels on, as I needed to be at least another foot tall to get over the pointy bits. As my eyes watered the host kindly lifted me off the fence and the medical procedure was halted. Phew!

'I'm going to enjoy this,' my husband commented to no one in particular.

By now there was an audience of rubberneckers well-wishers.

Our host then showed me a very deft way to enter the electrified enclosure, [anti-otter kit,]  you roll over the bridge railing. This involves straddling the railing, then lying flat on the rail (I found a bosom either side helped balance...dear god!) before rolling over onto a ledge 5ft above the pond.

Outfit severely compromised, arse examined by approximately 9 children... I made it over... alive...just. Now for the rescue part.

Trying to look young and athletic, I hopped down into the waterless pond, the surface clammy and slightly slippy under my bare feet.

'There it is,' the children shrieked as a brown ball hurtled passed me, it lashed under the bridge to the furthest wall where it attempted to climb some damp moss, clearly desperate to escape. I followed, ducking under the thick beams of the bridge. This was going to be easy, I could pick it up by the tail and put it on the bank.

Funnily enough, the shrew didn't seem to appreciate that I was friend not foe. He wasn't interested in being picked up by the tail and darted behind me to the mini lake of rainwater and algae. I made a valiant effort to get to him but swamp water, fibre glass and bare feet is a bad combination and I was suddenly aware that I was losing the battle of uprightness and would soon lose my dignity too. I felt my trousers to my knees become a bit grungy and in a slight panic, fearing the rest of me might follow, I reached up and clung to the bridge.

My husband was really enjoying himself now! The hostess started taking photos for heavens sake!!.... call the bloody fire brigade or something!

Anyhoo, we did eventually catch the little bugger and apart from the antics associated with getting back out of the blessed rodent enclosure, flexibility in my legs being reduced due to old age, the rest of the day went fairly smoothly. Deep breath.


Monday was wonderful; returning the sprogs to school felt good (sorry and all that but 8 WEEKS!) and all was going well with the week till I forgot to collect them at the correct time on Tuesday and the bursar called me to check whether I remembered I had two children. Oops. Wednesday we went swimming after school and everyone we met seemed to be in a weary mood. The 8yo commented through her changing room curtain,
'Why is everyone crying today?'
'Stress and tiredness.' I offered.
I felt like crying for no particular reason, other mothers nodded in agreement. I think going back to school after 6 or 8 weeks break is like a big change to all our lives and we all go through that Tuckman's Group Development model of Forming, Storming, Norming before we can get to Performing (in June no doubt!)

Tonight is Thursday and we seem to be settling into a routine.

Friday night's a biggie, we're entering loads of categories for the Village Fete Show on Saturday. Got to get the veg done, flowers arranged and all the children's entries in the car to drop to the village hall for 9am. The 8yo has school till 12. I'll update you on our failure success next week in the show. To read what happened at the fete last year (Lordy Lordy!!) click here.


  1. Good luck at the fete, Karma should smile on you since you did save a shrew.

  2. Well done for rescuing the shrew so pleased that you too find a breast either side of a fence railing helps the balance I have often consdiered that too!

  3. Ah Lou! You are brave! Good luck tomorrow! Hope it goes well.

  4. We are judged by our deeds ☺. After sniggering quietly at the thought of you doing a breast-roll over an anti-otter-fence I have to say well done for rescuing the little chap.


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon