Saturday, 3 October 2009

Not a spring chicken?

Originally uploaded by Paul Andrew Photography

It's official, middle age is upon me. On Friday I pulled out several grey hairs before trundling to my first ever coffee morning- a past time for old ladies so my lovely fella informs me.

It wasn't my first grey hair removal session I must admit. And for some time now I've been noting the fine lines creeping in to my visage.

Some time ago I had a work placement in an Age Concern center. It taught me a lot about old age and dispelled a few myths. Most importantly, I took away with me a sense that old age doesn't have to be depressing. What's wrong with drinking multiple cups of tea with friends, reminiscing and listening to music that makes you feel young again. God knows I do that already!

When I left Age Concern they gave me a fantastic poem about growing old entitled 'Warning'. But I already wear a lot of purple. How am I going to mark the onset of my Autumnal years? I fear that if I don't make a statement when the time comes I will be slowly swallowed up by the whole process, not noticing it creeping up on me until it is too late and I'm just another member of the homogeneous old age group.

Of course, Age Concern and the like will be delivering a different service in 40+ years time. It'll be afternoon alcopops with a dash of  Oasis, or perhaps Prodigy for those of us who loved to dance in our youth. I guess I'll have given up with pulling out my uncoloured hairs by then. In fact, why should it bother me now? Maybe I'll let myself grow old and I'll be proud to display the signs of a long and fulfilling life. Maybe from today I will embrace my body and whatever it changes into. Maybe I will STOP pulling out the greys or wistfully picking up pots of expensive and relatively ineffectual anti-ageing creams.

or maybe I will attempt to hang on to my youth for just a little longer.....

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Festival Fun

With August comes the Endorse-It-In-Dorset Festival, our annual outing to cow punk, folk rock, cider swilling mayhem. Last weekend I packed up our camping kit n funky frocks and headed off in the torrential rain straight after a long day at work. Sul's childminder couldn't believe we were going through with it despite the good old British weather, insisting on furnishing me with a spare waterproof jacket for Sul (thanks Pat!).

After taking the same wrong turn at the roundabout that has thrown me the last four years (oops!) we had arrived. Sul had been golden in the car, constant chatter and the odd nursery rhyme for the hour. She was really excited to be camping as ever. Absolutely no concept of rain stopping play. Luckily for me within minutes of arriving at the backstage camping I had located my friends, abandoned my child and enlisted help with tent erecting- if only every weekend was like this. My reservations around muddy festivals and memories of last year's quagmire faded as the laughter, wine and barely edible camping food flowed. It's good to be back.

Thank crunchy for Friday anyway. The sun shone from the moment I got cooked out of the tent and the rain kept at bay for the rest of the festi (right up until it was time to pack away, thanks Universe). The weekend was spent roaming around the small but perfectly formed site, resting a while at the bus bar (available for party hire guys!), checking out various bands in the three marquees, completing my three shifts in the Hospitality Tent and many many hours in the beautiful Kids Area where Sul was entertained and I had a rest. Last Year the Kids Area was voted 'Most Friendly' in the efestival (I Think) awards. I would not be surprised if it won the title again. Highlights for me, or should I say Sul were the Panic Circus and Travellers Playbus. Sul seems to have inherited an aptitude for Circus Skills from the absent parent. Which is lucky as I'm as clumsy as they come!

Oh and did I mention dancing till the wee hours? Sul is just about small enough to fit into her buggy. This means that she can fall asleep on site not in tent. Hurrah! Festivals are liberating for parents who are usually prisoners in their own home post 7pm. Armed with my fella's ear defenders, blankets and all my friends' coats Sul happily snoozed to Dreadzone, Subgiant, Zion Train, Tofu Love Frogs plus plus plus, allowing me to boogie the night away and explore the wonder that is NightTime Festival. The cross section of crusties, hippies, punks and Joe Bloggs kept the party going and the atmosphere friendly. Strange Pixies served Lentil Soup from Mushroom painted Geo Domes (I was given the recipe), budding musicians jammed around the campfire in Strummerville and Northern Soul tunes kicked out of the Wig On Casino. Happy days (and nights). My friend and I decided to move to Wales, make Lentil Soup and employ a 7ft Giant to transport us around in a double buggy. I'll let you know if it happens.....

And what about the great Endorse-It tradition that is 'Ladies Day'. Sporting my Pink Prom dress I joined those other daring men and women (yes, men) in fabulous frocks on Sunday. This year must have been the largest number of men in dresses I have had the pleasure of witnessing.

So a big THANK YOU to the Pronghorn Crew, who not only did a blinding set on Friday Night to get us into the swing of things, but who spend the whole year planning, preparing and delivering possible the best l'il festi on the scene.

We'll see you there next year!!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Bucket List

I was chatting with my Sis and her friend the other day, whilst the kids amused themselves with the dressing up box upstairs, and the conversation turned to jobs. Namely Job Satisfaction. Looking back at our respective career history each of us has taken totally different paths. We did all have one thing in common however- the desire to keep moving on to the next thing, be it a promotion or a different direction.

Now I feel really lucky. My job is varied and challenging. Certainly no room for boredom there. However I remember what a School Governor once said, back in my previous life as a teaching assistant. He said you should change jobs around every two years. You need one year to learn the ropes, then another to feel like you're doing a good job. After that it is time to move on to the next challenge.

I must admit I feel like I'm still learning the ropes at work even though I've been in my current team for well over a year. I'm certainly not planning on scanning the situations vacant ads just yet! But we started to chat about all of our interests and how these could fit into working life. if you turn your hobbies/passions into work how many of us would relish the Monday mornings we so dread? In an alternative reality there is a me who is a Herbalist, or a rock star. Sadly in THIS reality I can't sing so the day job remains safe.

My fella often accuses me of having 20 ideas but only following through with one. I'm not sure that having tonnes of ideas is such a bad thing, but i think I get his drift. If you want to dig a well it's better to concentrate your efforts on one deep hole rather than digging 15 shallow holes all over the place. I'm not great with a shovel so I'll delegate that task to him. Meanwhile I'll continue working down my list of things to do before I die. To humour him I thought I would write a list: my Top Five Things I would love to do before I die but probably never will, if I'm honest and let my fella plant my feet back on the ground:

1. Learn how to fly a plane
2. Live on a barge
3. Rescue stray animals from war-torn countries
4. Read all the books that catch my eye
5. Visit all the countries that are on my List Of Countries To See Before I Die

I may do some small part or a watered down version of these things. Either way I have had the happy realisation that I am totally contented with my life, my job, knocking around with my little girl, drinking tea with friends, being teased by my boyfriend. I wouldn't change any of it for the world. All though I would like to add a number 6 and change the world....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

television au naturel

television au naturel
Originally uploaded by jonnybaker
I was reading Gem's suggestions for tV free Kids
and it got me thinking-
I've always thought that mini me has fairly limited TV use but what are we parents supposed to do at ungodly AM? What did we do before CBeebies was invented??

I'm not proud, quite often she's plonked in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal whilst I creep off to get an extra 30 mins snooze time. It's better all round as it makes me much nicer to know!! But when did this tactic begin?

Well I remember the day in fact. It was May, 2 years ago when I had tonsilitis and no one in sight to help out with my (then) 2 yr old. What a saviour my TV was- my nurse, my babysitter, my salvation!!

Back then I only had your good old fashioned 4 channels. Sadly, since a lovely friend treated me to a freeview box last winter CBeebies has crept into our evenings too. Not every evening mind. When the washing up can wait and the dinner taken care of we while away our evenings with games (Lunch Box game is a favourite). And thankfully with the temperate weather I'm honing my swingball skills- how come my 4yr old is better co-ordinated than me??!!

And how my little pixi loves dressing up and putting on dancing shows for me. Who needs TV? WEll, me actually. It keeps me sane on those tired evenings when I've had a hard day at work, or when the dinner hasn't been cooked and the washing up can't wait. But like with many things in life- everything in moderation, a little of what you fancy etc etc.

TV isn't inherently evil, but I was pleased to read the 100+ suggestions for TV alternatives, and smiled smuggly at the amount of things we already do from that list.