Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fleeting Visit

God I seem to have been inadvertently MIA for over 2 weeks. I just don't seem to get time at my computer these days - which could be considered a good thing, except it has been driving me a little bonkers not to keep up with the blogging world.

The main reason for my distraction is that I had a flying visit to the UK last week. The occasion was a family reunion. Luckily ex organised a flight and before I knew it I was winging my way across the ocean...going home alone for a brief injection of Ol' Blighty.

I was so excited about going home that I didn't manage a wink of sleep on the plane. Bad move. The result was I felt all wibbly-wobbly-woo for the first 3 days, came down with the lurgy for one day and then had one day of feeling 50% before getting back on a plane back to Chicago. Not the most successful of trips in that respect - but oh so satisfying in so many others.

The first 24 hours were the most bizarre. For example, sitting on the tube from the airport I kept overhearing English accents (obviously) and thinking 'oh wow, they're English! Must say hello'. Which is my common reaction in the States. After the first 50 or so times that this happened my brain started to get a little tired. I also couldn't resist stopping in every cafe, shop selling food, WHSmith's or Boots that I came across and slavering over the cake, crisps and chocolate choices, the papers and magazines and browsing through the aisles of shower gels (no-one ever tells you that the choice of shower gel in America is well and truly shite). I practically had an orgasm when I tiptoed reverently into an M&S food hall. No wonder it took me nearly 4 hours to get from Heathrow to north London.

I stayed at my good friend's Soapboxmummy for a couple of days, getting to live her life with Sparkle unattended by my two rambunctious offspring and, oh boy, what a difference. For a start she has just one child. For another it's a girl. And the piece de resistance is that this charming child sleeps till 7am. It was like a fleeting glimpse into a whole other parenting universe. I also got an insight into life in Muswell Hill and I have to say I loved it. Ex used to work in Highgate, so it wasn't as if I was a stranger to the area, but it was different to view it through the eyes of 'could I possibly live here with the boys when I return home?' The answer was a resounding Yes. Who knows where I will eventually end up. A lot will depend on His Majesty, because I still have a dream of us living close by so we can support and co-parent well. And also minimise the traipsing to and fro that the boys are subjected to. But as he has categorically stated time and again that a move to Essex, near my parents, is not remotely on the cards then maybe the north London area could be a goer.

True to form, within 24 hours of being home I had consumed my body weight in Cadbury's and had bought 3 new pairs of shoes. I had taken the idiotic decision of travelling with a suitcase the size of a shoebox, so was a little concerned about how I was going to cart my gorgeous new footwear home. But where there's a will there's a way. It's amazing how much you can cram into a tiny box when you subject it to 140lbs of body weight. Honestly, no contest. That suitcase didn't stand a chance.

I also had 3 celebrity moments, tho luckily none as cringe worthy as Balthazaar Getty, thank God. First, Soapboxmummy and I had lunch at Cafe Rouge in Highgate with none other than the new Dr Who and Petula Clark....okay, okay - so Petula Clark waltzed by (I have to admit here that I didn't actually see her at all but the guys at the next table very kindly pointed her out after she had turned the corner. Good timing lads). Dr Who strode about outside by our table looking all floppy haired and distracted on his cell phone. He's not David Tennant, is he? He certainly doesn't have an arse to swoon over in my opinion, that's for sure.

Then I attended the Kabbalah Centre on Friday night with Kabbalah Rookie and...Madonna, Guy Ritchie and all the kids (minus Mercy) were sitting AT. THE. NEXT. TABLE. I kid you not. Now I know I was meant to be there focused on being spiritual and all that. But it's really bloody hard when there is a full blown music icon sitting just 3 feet away with her ex and her kids. I could say more. So much more. But suffice to say that just when I was about to look like a prize prawn by waltzing over to her to say 'Shabbat Shalom Madge-me-ol'-mucker' she turned away to talk to someone else and I slinked off to plan my next move, which of course never came. Thank heaven for small Mercy's....sorry, couldn't resist.

The family reunion was fan-dabby-dozie in an understated way. I haven't actually seen many of my cousins for years. When I sat and actually worked it out I was stunned to calculate it was approaching 27 years. This was mindblowing to me. How can that have happened? Not to have seen them since puberty?

Growing up I had always spent a week or more in the summer with my cousins in Manchester. We had the best time. What I remember most clearly was declaring to anyone that would listen that I was going to marry my cousin D and chasing my other (mortified) cousin R relentlessly shouting 'kissy-kissy'. I felt a little uncomfortable about these memories on reflection but blithely assumed that plenty of water had pootled under the bridge since then and that they probably hadn't made an impression on anyone apart from myself. So imagine my chagrin when I finally came face-to-face with D and R after a quarter of a century and the first words out of their mouths are, 'hey - I thought we were meant to be getting married?' and 'kissy-kissy!'

After all that excitement it was time to head back to the boys. I have been away from them before for a week, on a couple of occasions, but this time it did feel very different. I missed them so much more. And felt uncomfortable about the fact that they weren't 'at home'. Meaning of course, my home. This is the first personal trip I have had since ex and I separated 8 months and I couldn't help but feel guilty for not being within arms reach. Of course I spoke to them every day, sometimes twice a day, and they were happy as Larry. But for me something was just missing. It was good to be going back to them, despite the fact that I didn't want to leave.

And now I am back and have so much energy I am like a whirling dervish. What has happened to me? I feel so dissimilar to my usual self, feel so perky and frisky and - dare I say it? - capable that I am unnerving not just myself but those around me. The boys in particular are most bemused and keep glancing sideways at this chirpy, springy version of their mother like I have been taken over by one of the characters in their new Aliens In Underpants book. All I know is that I need to make the most of it. It is likely to last 48 hours tops before I morph back to my sluggish old self. And I have a lot to do because in less than 2 weeks I am going to be repeating my Transatlantic journey, but this time with 2 boys in tow. We are coming back to the UK for nearly 4 weeks in July and I am already so excited about it that my tummy is a tensy bit clenched. (Best not to mention the effect it is already having on my bowels...they always were a little sensitive at the best of times.)


  1. I'm missing you already.
    Can't wait for you and your entourage to be here next month.
    Yippee!!! more chocolate and shoe shopping.

  2. Welcome back to blogland - and I just laughed out loud about your story about your sis in previous post - hilarious!

  3. OMG I laughed so hard. You're just like me - I just walk into Boots and stare at the beautiful merchandising. The supermarkets here always seem so messy. And I buy M&S food, which I probably wouldn't if I lived there. My mother goes mad at the amount I spend in there but what the hey! Glad you had a great time. I'll be there in August so don't steal all the sunshine.

  4. Anonymous27 June, 2009

    Madonna? Oh. My. God. Amazing!

  5. He is soooo no David Tennant. Sighhh. And it's amazing how a bit of 'me' time can make you feel so good. Thanks so much for your comments hon. Feeling a bit better today thank God and hoping I'm back on my way up. Hugs.

    Oh, and Madooona too, wow.

  6. Madonna and the new Dr Who? That is higher quality celebrity spotting than I've had in London in the last five years. You obviously know where to hang out.
    Loved your 'ShutUP story' on my blog, by the way....

  7. Glad you had a good visit back to the UK. And nice to see you blogging again!