Movie of the year (imho)

22 Mar

Walking into Rango, knowing nothing more about it than that the kids want to see it and it stars Johnny Depp is like picking up your drink thinking you are having lemonade only to find that you are drinking soda water.

Once you have adjusted, you will realise the treat is not sweet as you were expecting, but it is something better. You are left, not with a sweet cloying in the back of your throat, but a bubbling sharpness and a single thought. I am more alive than I used to be.

I bet that’s what it’s like having an actual relationship with Johnny Depp (in relation, I mean, to the relationship I do have with him which is limited to simply repeating, ‘oh, yes, Johnny Depp’ everytime someone mentions his name and then trying to look like I still care what the other person is saying). And don’t I wish I had the chance to take that ‘I bet’ from the realms of speculation into lived experience.



21 Mar

At school, the families from Japan have organised a stall selling handmade Japanese craft. Thanks to our eldest child, we have a house that is overflowing with paper cranes and frogs and lilies and balloons, but their sign says, ‘Even one dirham will help us.’

On the way to the final birthday party of the weekend, youngest said, ‘I’ve just realised, I’m the only one in my football team who comes from a country that has English as the main language’. On the way home, he said, ‘Amir didn’t come. He’s from Libya. They don’t feel like celebrating.’

I tried a new hairdresser. Eldest’s teacher’s hairdresser. Eldest’s teacher always looks beautiful so I asked her where she goes. The hairdresser asked the normal questions. ‘Where are you from? How long have you been here? You like it here?’ And when I shrugged and smiled in answer to the last, he smiled an almost-laugh in return and said, ‘You are like everyone.’

I wanted to say, ‘Every day I live here I believe that less than I did the day before.’

At home, the mister said, ‘You look beautiful,’ but eldest said, ‘Oh no, you look just like Miss. I won’t know whether I’m at home or school.’

Lucky for that dermatologist, he doesn’t live next door. He’d never get any peace.

19 Mar

I have spent quite a lot of this weekend standing in the light of the window twisting my head towards the back of my knee and my knee towards the back of my head, trying to work out whether or not that mole is new, whether it has grown since I first noticed it two weeks ago and whether said mole it is itchy because it’s got a bite coincidentally and randomly next to it and, in so doing, comparing said possible bite to another left on the front of that thigh and another on the back of the other. (Another being bite and other being thigh).

I am trying not to spend too much time on the internet googling around for images which will freak me out. I’m sure you can guess how successful this latter (in)activity has been.

Friday morning (an hour in my life)

18 Mar

What’s a priest? What’s sin? Can I have a bandaid? Can I have a playdate with Oscar? Can I have a playdate that turns into a sleepover with Oscar? Have you remembered to put band-aids on the list? What am I going to be doing while he is at the birthday party, I don’t have to do jobs, do I? Have you got a pencil sharpener? Have you got a pencil sharpener that isn’t broken? Is this paragraph opinion or fact? But if Ned Kelly just went around shooting people what good things did he do? If I buy that book of poetry can I have the other Big Nate book as well? Why do you like coffee? When I’m an adult do you think I will drink wine or beer? Can I have another playdate with Oscar? What movie are we having for movie night? What’s intimidating? What’s retrospective? Are you on facebook? Are you playing wordtwist again? If we lived on Kangaroo Island could nuclear power reach us? Could we get drowned by a tsunami? Can I go on mathletics now? Now? Now? Well, when can I go on it? Don’t you think you should go and get dressed now, it’s already nine o’clock? Why can’t we go out and play football now, we’ve finished our homework? What happens if the lava in the lava lamp does spill? But what if it does? Where does the measuring cup go? What happens if you drink rotten milk? Who invented wars? Which dinosaur came first t-rex or stegosaurus? Do you want to play Cluedo? What’s trivia? If we had a fire now, do you think we should escape through the front door or the back? Have we got any carrots left? Can I go and pick some cherry tomatoes? Can you read us another chapter of Holes? Can we have one more? One more? Just one more? Pleeeease? What’s 65 times 16? What’s a mortgage deed? Why did Ned Kelly burn the mortgage deeds? Is Julia Gillard still our Prime Minister? Can actors get married in real life? What about if they have to kiss someone else in their movies? But why do you like EastEnders when it’s just a bunch of people having arguments?

‘Mum can you come here?’ I went, because that’s the kind of mother I try to be. ‘Look,’ he said pointing at the Jenga blocks he had arranged in an apparently random fashion on the loungeroom floor. ‘It’s called the Mom Mall. You’re the only one allowed in it, and it’s totally silent.’

I do love that kid.


17 Mar

I know that it looks like the Middle East is just a rolling ball of conflict at the moment, but there are so many differences between countries in the region that in many ways it is nothing more than regional, and they share nothing more than geography. So while Bahrain is geographically closer to home than anything else has been for me, life goes on as it did before.

Nonetheless, with the mister on a plane for most of yesterday and thus incommunicado, I felt the familiar twinges of the vague uneasiness that I lived with for many years returning. A shortness of breath, a fluttering stomach, a sleep not quite deep enough. It is not a full blown stress and because it is attached to nothing in particular, it is not necessarily something on which I can act, but it manifests itself in sighs and rolled eyes when one of the lads reminds me he needs twenty dirhams for a school fieldtrip and I only have fifteen in my purse. I slam my bag on the table when, because the strap has stretched, I can’t quite reach my keys without first putting down the cake eldest lad volunteered to take to school, the scarf which I need in the office because the air conditioner is crap and the yoghurt I’m taking for lunch.

Last night, I managed to use every bowl in the kitchen – soup, salad and mixing – doing not very much at all (though see volunteered cake above, and know that when I started the cake I was intending to bring it to work to share with lovely colleagues), which led to a great many hours standing in front of the sink an occupation complicated by the demise of the hot water system (yes, again) which meant I had to boil the kettles each time the water had to be changed.

I have given myself a stern talking to this morning, because, you know, boiling kettles blah blah blah…get a grip woman. There’s earthquakes, nuclear leaks, floods, conflict. And no one is even reporting on the Ivory Coast. But then there’s the other thing, isn’t there, because really how do you go on boiling the kettle when others are living through such difficult times. Watching terrible things unfold, it seems on the one hand wrong just to keep on with my simple, privileged life, but on the other, disrespectful not to live this simple, privileged life to the full.

I really like what Deborah wrote only a few weeks ago: ‘and then carry on’. I’ve reminded myself of it many times.

Day by day

15 Mar

Today, the mister, he be forty three (43).

Now, I know, as does he, that 43 comes after 42, which is preceded by 41 and that by 40, which, ten years before was 30, which, in turn, is 15 after 15 and so on, and yet and all the same

forty three (43)


Happy birthday, my love. You know, you’re the oldest person I ever lived with.

Decisions by degrees

14 Mar

The gauge has said thirty five for two days in a row, and so we know that winter, or what passes for it, has now passed.

It is lucky that said decisions have been decided for any decision I make in the heat of anything over thirty cannot be trusted.