New Bike Day.


Regal. Elegant. Eccentric – my new bike. A gift from EE and a vast improvement on the citronella candles he gave me for Christmas. That’s EE all over. Christmas is all dust busters and citronella candles, Friday ‘just because’ is new bikes, book vouchers and fancy face cream. This time it was my new bike. I’m so happy! It’s Dutch and when I ride it so am I. Eager to try it out, I decide to ride it to Sainsburys with the Six year old on her scooter. The decision to bring the scooter is always a poor one and this time was no different.

The entire twenty minute journey (NB – walking alone it takes me ten minutes) was accompanied by the usual ‘let’s bring the scooter’ decision-related bullshit:

“Mummy! Wait! You keep leaving me behind!” (literally ten feet ahead).

“Mummy! My legs are tired, I don’t want to ride my scooter”.

“Mummy wait! My shoe is itchy!”

“Muuuuuuuuuuuuum can you carry my scooter and I walk?”


“Mummy look how fast I’m going!”

Straight into a divot, falls off the damn scooter and uncontrollable crying ensues. With the new bike momentarily discarded on the pavement, I try to fob the Six year old off with the usual “give it a rub” and “blow on it”. When that doesn’t work, I pull out the big guns – magic kisses. They seems to do the trick and we’re off again.

The Six year old has no respect for new bike day. I wish I’d come on my own.

Finally. Sainsburys.

“That’s a beautiful looking bike!” I turn to see a chap as eccentric as my Dutch bike, all the gear, fit as a fiddle, mad as a hatter. “I collect bikes” he explains. “I’ve got twenty bikes, I’ve got one that’s two and a half grand and I can get from here to Warrington in an hour and five minutes, I’m gonna buy a THREE and a half grand one next so that when I move to Llandudno I can pose on it up and down the promenade, I’ve got loads of bikes I’m Sixty three this year”. He’s caught me on a good day – new bike day. We share five minutes of our time. As he starts to tell me all about his health scare (an epileptic fit) I can see the Six year old trying to work out if we know him – we don’t. We listen until he has shared what he needs to share, exchange well wishes and as we leave the Six year old observes keenly “He was lonely wasn’t he Mummy?” She takes hold of my hand and I give it a squeeze, “yes, I think you’re right”.

On the way home the Six year old doesn’t want to ride her scooter again because her foot’s itchy, her eye stings, her legs are tired, there’s a fly in the way, the road is too bumpy and all the usual rigmarole. I think about our new friend on his next new bike day. I push my new bike alongside the Six year old to make the moaning stop and we chatter about our days.

“I’m glad you’ve got a bike now Mummy cos we can do this all the time now can’t we?”

“Yes” I smile “and Mummy can’t wait”.  It’s not even sarcasm.


The Girl With The Coco Pop Tattoo.


EE arrives home at gone 9pm. I have shaved my legs especially.

Within ten minutes a ‘debate’ quickly descends into full on shouting (on my part) and a reddening face (his) . Never before has doping in athletics caused such a furore.

“I’m just saying it’s obvious why they are picking on Mo Farah but the only reason that they picked her results is because she’s pretty”.

EE will ‘debate’ that this is not what he said, but I say he did.

“No EE” I begin, trying to call off my inner raging feminist and failing miserably,

“I think you’ll find darling that it’s because she WON a GOLD medal in the women’s hockey and scored the winning FUCKING PENALTY” – this was an ad-lib, I have no idea who scored the winning penalty but it strengthens my argument so I deliver it as a fact – “NOT BECAUSE SHE IS EASY ON THE EYE!”

“I don’t mean that”

“Well what do you mean exactly? Because what you said was the only reason she is of any public interest is because of how she looks!”

EE knows it’s a trap. He also knows that I am always going to win this argument by default of having a vagina and him not. After trying in vein to scrabble together a reply in which he doesn’t come off as a misogynist he goes with,

“That’s not what I said, I apologise if that’s how it came across”.

Wise man.

Tense silence swallows the room. All eyes are hyper-focused on Tattoo Fixers like it’s the first time either of us has ever seen an idiot with a camel tattooed on their big toe. (it is the first time, who does that?).

A girl drops her trousers.

“What would you have done?”

“What for?”

“To cover up a mole like that.”

“What? On my arse?”


This is a big decision. “Oooh, I dunno, maybe, well … it would have to be feminine and nothing too big and certainly nothing too graphi…”

“I’d have The Coco Pop Monkey” EE interrupts.

“I’m sorry who?”

“Yeah the one off the adverts, you know… ‘We’d rather have a bowl of’… I’d have him swinging across my arse cheek and picking up the mole like a Coco Pop”. EE has clearly given this a lot of thought.

Hysteria descends.

I congratulate us “We would be hilarious on Gogglebox”.

Monday Morning.



“Muuuuuum will you tell her, she’s winding me up”.

6:45 Monday morning.

“If anybody else woke me up like that” … I take a moment to fantasise about all of the unspeakable pain I would dish out to this imagined “anybody else” if only I had the chance.


I settle for muttering the obligatory “for fucks sake” before shouting “Okay! Hang on! I’m coming now”.

Another “for fucks sake” and I’m out of bed and in a dressing down. One breast hangs out unnoticed and the remnants of Sunday morning’s coffee in bed cling to the front. I wear them as a bitter reminder of a life I once knew.

“If anybody else woke me up like that….” I begin as I open the bedroom door.

The Ten year old couldn’t care less, she’s just waiting for me to finish saying words so that she can complain:

“Mum will you tell her, She keeps trying to break my arm”.

I step over the pile of children fighting on the landing and feel my way blindly to the kettle.

“leave your sister alone” I manage as I stumble down the stairs- the full capacity of my parenting abilities reached at 6:fucking:48 AM.

Cheerios are poured half into a bowl and half on to the kitchen floor by the Six year old.

I state the obvious.”In the bowl”.

We all settle in to our morning routine of eating breakfast and ignoring each other. The Six year old decides to play the ‘swimming Cheerios’ game – she’s very good at doing the voices.

The Ten year old stares off vacantly at some point in the distance where she doesn’t hate everybody and life isn’t so unfair.

I sit and silently add up how many more years it is that I have to put up with this shit – Eight more with the Ten year old.

I understand now why all parents are desperate for their children to go to University – Twelve more years of this with the Six year old I conclude – a little disappointed with my answer.

The Ten year old is allowed to cycle to school now, “But not before you’ve tidied that hell hole of a bedroom.” I pick the fight and wait for the abuse:

“Oh my God MUURRRMMMMMME, that’s SO unfair, She never tidies up her mess (points at the Six year old who is wearing a nightie and a floppy hat) and I always end up doing it AS WELL as tidying my own, how is THAT fair? I’m going to be late to meet S now and it’s all going to be your fault! I HATE YOU BOTH!”.

Feeling strangely vindicated for my rude awakening,  I stir the pot further:

“If you had started it when I asked you to instead of standing here arguing then it would have been done by now”. An inaccurate statement at best but, I can see it’s annoyed her so I go with it.

“OHMYGODAAAAAA”  infuriated, she storms up the stairs.

“I’m not even going to tidy anything anyway, I’m just going to sit there until it’s time for me to leave”

“oh are you?”





” I don’t know where you get that attitude from Lady but you better watch it!”

Lady? I’m even getting on my own nerves.

She gets it from me – the attitude.

I’m reassuring myself that I turned out alright in the end as I hear the bedroom door swing back open.

Brace yourself.

She’s crying. Not like the tweenager from hell any more, like my little girl.

We hug it out on the sofa.

“Mum your boob’s hanging out of your dressing gown”

“I know”.

We laugh.

“Only Eight more years” I think.

And there it is – the sadness.




It Just Gets Better.


We’re late. EE has given up all hope of punctuality and assumes his most agreeable manner as I declare that:

“I’m sick and tired of having nothing to wear, I don’t even want to go out anymore! What’s the point it’s not like we can go anywhere nice with me looking like a fucking tramp is it!?”

Another dress ripped off and thrown on to the reject chair. EE retreats downstairs and pretends to watch television for fear of being blamed somehow for my not having anything to wear.  Unsatisfied with my lack of audience I follow him in to the living room continuing to swear about the injustice of it all.

“The blue one’s alright” he says, avoiding eye contact. He can sense the tears are coming and knows that he now walks a fine line between hero and villain.

“I don’t just want to look fucking alright do I?! I want to look nice for a change”… Villain it is.

Twenty five minutes and a good cry later, I have decided the blue one will be alright. Unless…

“Can you check what the weather is doing in Liverpool before we leave please sweetheart?” I add the sweetheart to make up for the last hour of for fucks sakes and I’m not fucking goings and to remind him of what an utter delight I usually am.

“I don’t want to wear the blue one if the weather isn’t like this there.”

Sensing our departure time ebbing even further away, EE dutifully consults the Met Office. For fear of writing the day off to a second round of tantrums and tears, EE puts a positive spin on a 12 degrees and cloudy forecast by declaring that “it gets better”.

I hear “It just keeps getting better and better” – Perfect for the blue one after all.

We leave for the train station, EE mysteriously complete with jacket, socks and cords and me with no coat in the blue one with the gold flip flops.

Forty five minutes later we arrive In Liverpool – 9 degrees and raining.

EE zips his coat around his neck. I stare at him, then down at the blue one with the gold flip flops and then back at EE.

“Warm enough there?” sarcasm provides a thin veil for my rage.

‘Don’t worry it gets better’ EE assures me. “I’m going to kill him” I vow.

We head for shelter in the nearest pub.  The bickering over EE’s dubious forecast interpretation continues. After rum number one EE gets braver and starts thinking that he’s funny, “well, I had to tell you something to get you out of the house and it worked didn’t it? Here we are!”. After rum number two, I agree –  he is funny.

Rum number three. My round. “How’s your day been?” The barman asks.

“It’s getting better”.