I asked “Where’s mine?”

Today I attended the end-of-term presentation put on by the gymnastics group that my two eldest children attend every Monday morning. Having been to one of these before, I already kind of knew that it’s something you go to purely for the sake of the happiness of your children; in terms of showcasing the ‘skills’ they’ve supposedly ‘acquired’ over the course of the term, well, let’s just say that I’ve seen them perform more interesting manoeuvres just walking around the supermarket.

Anyway, they enjoy it and there is something in me – I think it’s the bit that is often seen enthusiastically waving an Australian flag – that rejoices in the fact of them starting the week at 8am with an hour of physical activity, however tame that might be.

But their instructor, oh lordy. Whatever ‘skills’ she has ‘acquired’ in the course of her gymnastics career, banter and personableness are not among them. Seriously. Personality of a dial tone, and a voice like an emery board on a garden paving stone.


After the demonstration (and much enthusiastic clapping) the children were given their medals and certificates. Next, the announcement that there was to be an extra certificate handed out this term: for children who had achieved 100% attendance. Which mine had, and so they were duly called up.

After photos and whatnot, I wandered over to the coach. She regarded my approach warily; last time we spoke, it was because I was insisting that she re-issue their certificates as she’d mis-spelled their surname. She also knows that I’m friends with another parent, a dad, who’s taken her to task about a non-refundable missed (missed by her, not by the child) lesson.

“So that was fun!” I said brightly. “But, um, the certificates … where’s mine?”

Blank look.

“The certificates? For 100% attendance?” I persisted. “Y’know, because like, who’s the one who’s managed to get them here every week? On a Monday? For 8am?”

I’m joking, of course I am. But her complete failure to get it just makes me perverse. She’s still gawping at me.

“Oh! No certificate! I see,” I say. “So – a discount on next term’s fees then, is that it?”

She actually manages to burble something at this point, a fact that is hardly surprising given her refusal to refund my friend the lesson that she’d cancelled.

Finally I laugh. “I’m joking,” I say. “Goodness! Of course I’m joking!”

She’s off the hook, she relaxes, and says something – I could be wrong, because my ears instinctively turn off when confronted with a displeasing voice – about how parents should get certificates ha ha something. I don’t know, something like that. All I know – and I do know that one shouldn’t take pleasure in another’s discomfiture, so shame on me etc etc – but all I know is that, for the rest of the day, whenever I thought of her expressionless, I-totally-don’t-get-your-humour face, it made me chortle.




I started as I mean to go on

Monday is a bit of a special day, isn’t it. Well at least it is for me, although I accept that I tend to subscribe to the bad juju school of thought, where a falter means a fall, and setting the right pace from the get-go is the virtual guarantee of success.

So Mondays are important, as they have the power to shape my entire week. Going to bed and beating myself up for various shortcomings accumulated throughout the course of the day pretty much means that Tuesday will dawn with the black dog camped out on my shoulder. And so it continues. Vicious.


This was my Monday. I was up early, and getting the children well-breakfasted and to school for their 8am gym club wasn’t stressy. I picked up some fruit & veg, and then dropped my youngest at nursery. I went for a run. I ran into a friend. I resisted any temptation of a food-related nature. I returned some ill-conceived purchases (that’s always a good feeling). I mooched around in the inspiring loveliness of the Liberty haberdashery department, and went to check out the new & other stories store (it’s amazing. Slightly disorganised, but it’s early days… and the stock more than compensates). I made calls that needed to be made, paid bills that needed to be paid. Ran into another two friends in town. Picked up the kids, did homework, read stories, fed them a decent home-cooked meal and got them to bed happy and not too far past what might be considered a reasonable time. The cleaner had been, the Nespresso order arrived (could’ve hugged the delivery man!) and my neighbour popped over. Texted my mum. Watched Broadchurch.


It all sounds so terribly prosaic doesn’t it?!! But this was a Good Day. And my bet is that tomorrow will be too.


I went for a run

I really didn’t want to do it today. Every impulse rebelled against it. I was in bed too late and up too early; it’s always a tiresome rush getting the children to school on a Monday morning for an 8am gymnastics session; it was freezing cold, with whirling scurries of snowflakes and a positively Arctic wind. And then there was my general state of mind, a seemingly endless list of Things To Do pressing on my already ho-hum mood and the small matter of my not-great-in-the-cold left knee.

I’ve got a bunch of mottos, many discovered on Pinterest, that I use to whip my sorry mental butt into shape when I’m having one of these days. “You never feel bad after a run, but you almost always feel bad if you miss one.” “The hardest step for a runner is the first one out of the door.” “Yesterday, you said tomorrow.”


So I stuck on an orange top from Runners Need, as orange almost always makes me feel better and I went, although to my local gym rather than the park, and I ran a perfectly respectable 10 kilometres. And, unsurprisingly, the rest of my day felt fantastic. Albeit still freezing!