You did what..?

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I am good at some things. Now then, let me see, what are they..?

I am a good mum (mostly); my sons will never remember me for my creative culinary skills and whenever I start the sentence ‘Shall I cook you some stir fry or shall we ..?’ they both invariably end the sentence with ‘..go to the pub’. I really don’t like cooking. I am a vegetarian and as my husband, John, recently pointed out ‘No wonder you find cooking such a chore, nobody eats the same things in your house’. Funny that, I hadn’t thought about it in that way, I just thought I hated cooking!

I like to think I’m a good friend (you’d have to ask my friends about that obvs) and as I get older, I always try and see the other point of view. For example, if someone seemed grumpy or tetchy with me, in my 20s/30s I would probably have taken it very personally and had an argument or avoided them for a while. These days, if someone is ‘out of sorts’ I usually try and find out whether something else is bothering them. I have been guilty of getting mad with the boys when, in fact, it has been someone else annoying me but they weren’t around for me to shout at. I hasten to say, I always apologise to the boys for these incidents! This all makes me sound very ‘holier than thou’ which I am not but the good thing about being in my 50s (if anything) is hindsight, some wisdom, slightly more patience and to be honest, I just can’t be bothered to get in a tizzy about things these days.

I am a pretty good musician. I play the piano, I sing, I write music, I play the trumpet/cornet and other than my children/husband/parents/poochies, music is THE most important thing in my life. And chocolate. And champagne. Just a minute, someone has hacked my blog…

From time to time, I do something which is so daft, it amazes me, amuses my children and stuns those blessed with the tiniest modicom of common sense. It usually revolves around numbers/sums/maths, not my forte I’m afraid. Dominic and Zachary are both good at maths and science and my lack of numerical ability leaves them both scratching their heads because they can’t understand why I can’t understand things. One time, we parked in town and as I walked back to the car, cursing and moaning, having bought my ticket, 11 year old Dominic asked ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Well’ I said, grumpily ‘those robbing so-and-sos have put up the car parking fee by a whole 20 percent’

‘Really?’ he asked, interested because he likes sums ‘so how much was it before?

‘It was 80p for an hour and now, it’s a WHOLE POUND’

‘Ah, so in fact, they have put it up by 25 percent’

‘No, 20 percent’

‘No mother, think about it. If you divide 80 pence by four, what do you get?’

‘Erm, 20p…I think’

‘Exactly. And they have put up the fee by 20p so that means a 25% increase because 25% of 80p is 20p’

‘What? Oh for goodness sake….well….well…good, I’m glad that posh education your father is funding is going to good use’.

I just don’t get it. I just can’t do it. I look at Zachary’s homework and my brain just frazzles, turns to scambled egg and goes into meltdown so I have to console myself with being a nice mum, a good friend, a loving wife and a lovely dog adopter. We have three. I only meant to get one. See how bad I am at maths?

I once went on holiday to South Africa and then, travelled up to the Victoria Falls on a posh train. There were dozens of young men at the train station, all hoping to be the ones to transport our luggage to the various hotels. I called one over and told him where I was staying. He duly plonked my cases on his makeshift wooden trolley and said he would meet me in Reception. Having used the SA rand for two weeks, I had to work out how much the Zimbabwean dollar was worth and then, give him a tip. I carefully counted out the money and handed it to him with a big ‘Thank you’. He looked down and didn’t seem too chuffed at all. When I had checked in, I asked the concierge how much the currency was worth. He smiled and told me I had tipped him the equivalent of about 8pence. Oops! I dashed back to the train station and managed to find him. I gave him a much better tip and was rewarded with a huge smile but that is just typical of me, I can’t do sums to save my life.

The daftest sums related thing I’ve ever done also involved a car park ticket machine. I bought myself an hour of time so, in went the pound and out came a ticket saying my time would be up at 13.00. I collected my shopping bags from the car and then, it hit me, I had an appointment in town and would need longer than an hour’s parking. So, I went back to the machine and put in another pound. The ticket slid out and guess what? It said my time would be up at 13.01. I had spent another pound and bought myself another minute of parking time…

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

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