Monday, 25 October 2010

Picking, Packing, London & Girl Guides

Friday (last) started with a 7am start loading the washing machine and packing the eldest of my children H (Kipper) Boo off on the school bus and my immediate attention on K (Bear) Boo, O' Pops already having left with Dad. After unloading, re-loading washer and transferring to tumble dryer, radiators and any reasonable surface for the 'do NOT tumble dry variety, Me and K Boo went to the gym for a swim (well bob) till I could shower, dry and clothe her and pass her off to Club V for my well earned time at 32 lengths, lunch (mostly on the go) and then she was off to nursery (....... breathe .......)

More washing, drying and gathering of things to pack (and something to pack them in).  My eldest was going off to London with the Girl Guide unit she is in for 4 days and for my (cough.... I mean her) long awaited break with 30 other Guides/Leaders, I had to first make sure that all and everything that was needed was available and to hand for an 11 year old to survive (oh hard can it be) such a trip.

So, on picking up K Boo and waiting for the bus to return for H Boo, there commenced a series of events that can only be described as hysteria and calm, alternating at varying degrees and giving me an almighty headache, that left me wanting to go lie down in a dark, quiet room - no time for that! On with the selecting and packing and debating whether hair straighteners and lip gloss were so essential in a pull along case that had to be big enough for essential gear (including uniform, casual clothing, toiletries, footwear, bread rolls, crips and snacks for 4 days), yet small enough for an 11 year old to get on and off the train, tube and pull for a mile walk to destination Guide hostel. Mission 'almost' Impossible!

The phone rang and the voice of Rob brought me back down to Earth, but not as much as when he said "take-away for dinner Dear". God, I love that man!

The packing debate continued and I resided to sewing on 11 badges that did not seem to matter so much before this moment, to be visible on her bright pink '100 Years of Girlguiding' shirt - but then it's not every day that a Girl Guide gets to make her 'promise' in the grounds of Buckingham Palace after watching therein the 'Changing of Guard' (apparantly a privilege that is earned only through writing a letter to Queeny and is reserved only for the likes of staff, Cubs, Scouts and Girl Guides).  Long after sending her to bed, later than usual and was needed, I was still sewing on badges and preparing packed lunch (for her arrival) and snacks for the 2 hour train journey (Virgin Express, no less!). Bed time 1.30 am!!!!!!!!

6.30 am!!!!!!! Rise and no sign of shining, I then received a telling of for making her 'not so favourite' sandwiches and decided to re-do them, not to please her, but to save myself the moment of being rubbished when she re-opened her 'not so favourite' pack lunch at the Lodge.  It was because I added grapes instead of lettuce to the ham wraps! What's a Mum to do at 1.00 am when she realises the lettuce has ran out - FFS!.

7.15 am and I'm forcing the hand of my Tweenie (in between - not yet teenager - 8 to 12 yr old) from shoving more toiletries and the cast-out hair straighteners in the over-packed case and trying to get her to the door. "It's time to go! Now!"

Short journey and fortunately no traffic or problems parking at Wigan North Western and all the Guides/Leaders are assembled in the foyer for last minute checks and the arrival of the train. 

Then it hits me!  I'm really going to miss her and I hope she feels confident enough to manage and is going to enjoy herself. 4 days from home and she has only just started high school (with 120 complete strangers and 2 friends) which was enough of an ordeal that she has now settled down from (Parent's Evening went well, even if my experience of homework co-operation had not being going 'quite' as well).

I'm really going to miss her and hope she spends the money I gave her and complained so much about ("kids these days don't appreciate anything and expect everything") on ridiculous things that she doesn't  really need and yet thought she wanted so much and enjoys the experience of doing it!!!  I hope she stays up late, even though she has early starts and jam-packed days and that someone makes her lunches for her before they go, so that she can do daft things and spend the time with her friends, wasting the short time she seems to spend with them these days, given the amount of homework they are getting and I hope she is excited about all of the places they are getting to see: Pax Lodge, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge (done it with us, but so much better with a group of her friends), Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, 'Wicked' at the theatre, Crystal Palace, Planet Hollywood, St Paul's Cathedral, right up to the doors of No.10 and an invite for tea and cakes with Lyndsey Hoyle (our local MP), Harrods and picnics in the parks.

I leave the station feeling glad they had us parents go before they all headed for the platform - not sure I could have held it together watching my first born (and 25 girls) board a train for the Capitol without me, in the trusted hands of 4 adults and a couple of Senior Guides.  I pull myself together and head for home.

I waited 'all day' for her to call me and tell me that she had arrived and had a great day and that there was so much to do and lots of fun to come. I didn't want to call in case they were rushing off to somewhere or listening to instructions and she would get told off or feel flustered finding her phone or worse still 'embarrased' that her Mum had called.  I waited all day and then late at night she 'did' call.  I listened intently as she described the Lodge and the games they had played, running around discovering the place, having to pay 75p for hot chocolate and 50p to use the computers to go on Facebook. How one of the girls had turned her 'shared' room into a Salon that evening and offered to do the other girls hair and nails. I listened and I hung on every word and didn't want the conversation to end. Then she said "I love you Mum and miss you" and "You don't have to wait for me to call - call anytime!"  She missed me too and for a Tweenie to admit after only one day away from her 'ever complaining' Mum - that was priceless!

"I love you too" and I didn't mind telling her that I had been in her bedroom, as I do each night when I go up and kissed her pillow this time, as she was not there.  "I'll text first, then call you"  "Goodnight Sweetheart."

Now it's tomorrow evening they return and I have heard how she loved Buckingham Palace and how the guards were a bit scary with big guns and big horses, walking right by them and how she was 'so excited' about making her 'promise'. Excited too about watching 'Wicked' with her friends and taking a picture of Jonny Depp's hand print in Planet Hollywood. I can't wait to hear about St. Pauls when I call later and boy oh boy, I can't wait to collect her from the train station tomorrow.

It will be just 2 days later that I will leave her for 1 week while she goes to Turkey with her Dad for the second half of 'half term' and we (Rob, Me and K Boo) go to Washington D.C.  - time out for myself that I bragged about. Wish she was coming with me!

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