Do you really want this job?

I was talking to a friend the other day about an upcoming interview they had been invited to attend. They were both excited at the prospect of a new job, bringing with it new challenges which they felt they needed, and terrified at prospect of being interviewed, as they hadn’t had one for some considerable time.

Throughout my career I have had many interviews. In fact between 2001-2009 I had to reapply and be interviewed for my job at regular 18 month intervals as we went through various management and organisational restructures!

And, as I moved up the managerial ladder I was heavily involved in interviewing prospective staff. In my last NHS post was responsible for the selection and recruitment for all temporary staff except doctors… So going through applications, assisting with short listing, and sitting in on interviews with various professional leads when it wasn’t nurses being interviewed. And I loved it. I love people watching at the best of times, but interviews are fascinating. They bring out either the best, or the worst in people.

I recall interviewing a lady for a theatre team leader’s post. We asked her something about working under pressure and she proceeded to tell us that the last place she had worked at was like working in a ‘mash tent’ the anaesthetist and I couldn’t look each other. AND she was wearing scuffed white stilettos. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

I have met all kinds of people. The shy, timid ones who you had to coax one syllable replies out of, but actually were brilliant practitioners, to the brash, over-confident ones who had been everywhere and done everything, but when it came to scratching under the surface were not as competent,or confident, as they would have you believe.

So, anyway, from my experiences, I thought I would jot down and share a few useful (maybe) tips in case anyone had an impending interview on the horizon, and yes I have encountered all of the following…….

1. Do not be late. Yes, I know that sounds obvious!
2. Remove your sunglasses. And I don’t mean just put on your head
3. We know you’re nervous, but a limp, sweaty handshake is not good
4. Turn off your mobile phone!
5. Ditch the chewing gum!
6. Dress appropriately. Jeans and trainers may be fine in certain situations, but not all. And if you have to wear them, find a pair of jeans that aren’t frayed around the hem. And clean your trainers!
7. And ladies, if you’re going to wear a dress please make sure it’s not so short that when you sit down and cross your legs the interviewers will not be in fear that they are about to witness a ‘Sharon Stone’ scenario
8. Do not use foul language
9. Do not “bad mouth” your current/previous employers
10 Try and know a little bit about the job you’ve applied for
10 Do not ever address the interviewer as darling/love/sweetheart/babe. if you can’t remember their name a simple good morning/afternoon will suffice nicely thank you

And finally

14 As you leave the interview do not, on any occasion, attempt to air kiss your interviewer!!

So there you are. Follow these useful hints and you’ll have the job in the bag!

Don’t you just love people? I do


Who ? Me?

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a tweet a couple of Sundays ago from the lovely Tracy…..She of mummyshambles fame… say she’d nominated me for a liebester award. “Oh brilliant”, I hear you all say….followed by “A what award”?   


A liebester award is given by fellow bloggers to bloggers who aren’t up there with the “big guys”  We’re the ones who tootle along, sometimes somewhat intermittently, and are always amazed that anyone ever reads our scribbling so. Well, I know I am. And I’m always very flattered when  people like Tracy and others like her, who produce fab writings, take the time to read my inane ramblings.

So what’s next?

Well, it’s now customary for me to pass the love, and nominate some other fellow bloggers for their own liebester award. Answer 10 questions that Tracy has set me, and then set 10 probing questions for my nominees.

So. Here we go

Why did you start a blog? It all started as a bit of a joke when I told a group of ladies I regularly tweeted how many tweets I’d posted. One of them said I could write a book, and then suggested we start a collaborative blog. Which we did,  Thetwitterhousewives Then a few months later someone said I should set up my own blog, and after a lot of persuasion and encouragement I did. And found I really enjoyed writing. Even if it is a little sporadic at times. But I’m a firm believer that if it doesn’t flow naturally and quickly it shouldn’t be written

Favourite quote of all times ? “We ourselves feels that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” Mother Teresa  

Favourite post you’ve written .. The last piece of the jigsaw . It was both difficult and cathartic to write, and I shed many tears whilst doing so

People, dead or alive, you’d  like to meet?  Oh, only 5?! Okay. 1. Stephen Fry. Love his humour and intelligence 2. Audrey Hepburn. She’s just my idol. Beautiful, talented. Funny. 3. David Cameron. Just to tell him what an appalling job he’s doing with the NHS, and try to find out some of the reasoning behind the decisions. 4.Wallis Simpsom. Have always been fascinated by their story, and would love to hear her side. 5. Jennifer Saunders. Because she makes me laugh. Lots.

Do you believe in ghosts ? I didn’t until I started nursing. Working in an old hospital one night an elderly lady called me and asked for a cup of tea. When I took it back the ward was empty, and the bed made. I ran out and asked the other nurse where she’d gone. She said there’d never been anyone in that ward. She asked me what she looked like. I described her and she said “oh that’s Mary. She used to be the laundry lady here years ago. She died about 15 years ago but always comes back when a news nurse starts here” that made me shiver again!

Has anybody ever told you that you look like a celebrity, and who? Have been told I looked liked Sharon Vaughn. I can’t see it. At all, though I wouldn’t mind being married to Trevor Eve!

If you were a character from a movie who would you be? Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.. Who else?!

What book would you want to be stranded on a desert island with ? Dear Scott Dearest Zelda  The love letters between F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda 

 Name your guilty celebrity crush  Robert Downey Junior!

Happiness is……Being surrounded by my children and grandchildren, and having the house resounding with laughter and happiness. Or. A deserted beach at the end of a stressful day

Right so now on to the important business of the evening

*cue subdued lighting and appropriately dramatic music*

and the nominees are………..

awrightdisaster  The honest and amusing account of the dating misadventures of a middle-aged Goddess

Chitchatandpics a lovely blog from a fab British lady living in France. Wonderful photographs

iirritatinglyoptimistic A mum of boys who writes about her life, and, sometimes!, her holidays

40yearolddomesticgoddess  A mum of teens whose blog never fails to make me smile  

grenglish Wife to a Greek man, rolling her eyes and writing all about it

feltarighttit  an open, honest and moving blog about living and recovering from breast cancer

dorsetdivorcee  A divorced mum of a teen and a tween, taking on the world

recoveryfromcml   Another very honest blog about living and recovering from cancer. This time Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia

And now here are your 10 questions:

when you were growing up what was your dream job?

Jack of all trades or Master of one?

Your favourite piece of music, and why?

Fondest  childhood memory?

Book or Kindle?

if you could speak another language which would it be and why?

If you had to choose to live without one of your 5 senses, which would you give up?

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

How did you choose your Twitter name?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

So, now all you have to do is:

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them

Copy the Liebester image from their site and paste into yours

Answer their questions… They’re not to hard or probing!

Choose people to nominate  ( should be blogs with less than 200 followers)

Ask them some probing questions

when you’re finished leave them a message on their blog or Twitter to let them know they’ve been nominated

So, thanks very much Tracy. And keep on blogging everyone. I love reading them






The Rocky Road To Motherhood


Those of you who know me, know I have 3 children whom I adore, and 2 wonderful grandsons
And many of you know that when I was young, and very career orientated, motherhood was the last thing I planned on.

But then there was that fateful flight home from holiday and the decision that changed and enriched my life.

Of course, when couples make the decision to start a family, they never consider that it will be anything but plain sailing. Sadly, for so many couples this is not the case, with some never having the joy of being parents.

And for us? Well, there was no reason to think it would be anything but simple. OH had already had a son from his previous marriage, and I was young… Relatively, and fit and healthy.

How wrong we were. Initially getting pregnant wasn’t a problem. Just maintaining one.

The first time I got pregnant was just before I was due to go into hospital to have my wisdom teeth extracted. (Considerably more painful and scary than childbirth!)

My GP had recently retired and I hadn’t yet met my new one…but thought I should go and see him. We met in the hospital car park as I was leaving after a night shift, and he was popping to do a round before morning surgery. I introduced myself and said why I needed to come to see him. He asked me if it was good news, and spent the next part of the conversation trying hard, and not very subtlety, to see if I was wearing a wedding ring! I made appointment, a pregnancy test was done and was positive, the dreaded wisdom teeth extraction was postponed, and once the ‘magic’ 12 week mark was reached we excitedly shared our happy news with family and friends. It was, what I thought, a perfect and straightforward pregnancy. No nausea or vomiting, no strange cravings, and not too much weight gain, and had felt those wonderful first ‘flutterings’
We were convinced it was a boy and had chosen a name. My little bump was DW ( Daniel William).
Then at 19 weeks the unthinkable happened. And although it’s over 30 years ago, the memory is still vivid today. I started to have terrible, crippling pains. A doctor came, not my own, he told me gently, that I was probably losing the baby, called an ambulance and I was ‘blue lighted’ into hospital 25 miles away. I was given some painkillers, had a big ‘nil by mouth’ post put over my bed, and told to “try and get some sleep”
I didn’t sleep.
The next morning I was told I was being sent for a scan. I tried to explain I hadn’t had anything to drink, but no one listened to me. So off I went. The sonographer sighed at me, said she couldn’t see anything because I hadn’t drunk enough. I tried explaining. Again. I wasn’t listened to. Again. I was sat in a corridor and given a jug of tepid water to drink. There I sat for about 40 minutes before being called in again. It was successful this time. But even though I asked what she could see, she just said “The doctor will be along to see you when you get back on the ward” which she did… And asked me what the sonographer had said. I replied “nothing” to which she sighed and said I suppose I’ll have to go and find out then. She came back and said that I was to remain on bedrest for rest of day and they’d rescan me the next day. I could eat and drink as I wanted.
I was on a general gynae ward and in a bed next to a girl who was in for a termination. I am not opposed to terminations, but did feel it was slightly thoughtless putting me next to her.
About an hour later, I still hadn’t been found anything to eat, and I started to have terrible pains again. I wanted to go to the toilet but wasn’t allowed to. However the ward had strict policy of no commodes or bedpans during visiting, so I tried to hang on until the pain was so bad I couldn’t any longer. The nurse reluctantly brought me a bedpan, and after I had cried to her that I was sure I was losing my baby said she supposed she should move me to a single ward. And that was where my first pregnancy ended. On my own. No one to hold my hand. No one to comfort me.
And ‘DW’, yes it was a boy, laid in the bedpan beside me for over an hour, because the nurse ‘forgot’ to come back to me. How ashamed I was of my profession at that moment.
I had surgery later that night and was discharged the next day. The nurse who discharged me said I should probably wait couple of months before trying again. I went home and packed away the baby stuff I’d already bought or been given, told family.
And wept. Convinced I had done something that had caused it.
People offered words of sympathy, when they weren’t crossing the road to avoid me. And I just ‘got on with it’ like you did.
About 5 months later I found myself pregnant again. It felt very different this time. I was constantly nauseous, couldn’t eat. My GP’s wife told me nausea and vomiting was the sign of a well implanted pregnancy. So I gladly put up with it. We waited 12 weeks again, and tentatively told a few people. At about 15 weeks I woke up and realised I didn’t feel sick. It was a lovely feeling… I ate breakfast and went to work. 2 hours later the pains started. And “DW” no 2 was no more. More surgery. More sympathy. More tears. More beating myself up.
Pregnancy number 3 only made it to 13 weeks, and number 4 to 11 weeks
So when I found I was pregnant again, I just sorted of waited for it all to go wrong. We didn’t tell anyone, buy anything, have any hope.
I was sick morning, noon, and night… But I had been before. I hardly put on any weight. I wasn’t allowed to work. Was confined to bed until 12 weeks passed. But they’d passed before too. I didn’t make any plans as where to have this baby, because I was convinced I never would. When my mum came round (I had to tell her, she’d guessed. Mums do these things, don’t they?) with nursery furniture and a whole drawerful of beautifully knitted goodies… (She was convinced it was a girl) I shouted at her.
We went on holiday to Spain, I didn’t tell the airline I was 26 weeks pregnant. No one knew. There was hardly anything to see. In Spain I fell in love with a shawl being knitted by an old Spanish lady. She persuaded my OH to buy it, and told me I was having a baby girl who would have black hair and blue eyes. I laughed… And morbidly thought I could always bury the baby in it. I was so convinced it would still go wrong.
And I was still being sick morning, noon and night.
When I came back I suddenly looked pregnant! People noticed, but still didn’t really know what to say to me. In case.
But, amazingly, at 41 weeks and 3 days our beautiful black-haired, blue-eyed baby girl arrived in the world as the whole obstetrics team sang ‘Come on Eileen’ at me!
I just held her, for hours. Waiting for someone to come and tell me it was a mistake, she wasn’t mine. But they didn’t. I was a mother. At last. It was unbelievably amazing.

So was that the end of it? After all we’d got this pregnancy thing sorted now, hadn’t we? So when we thought that we’d try for a another baby we stupidly thought nothing could go wrong again.
It did. Another 2 miscarriages later, both early ones this time, and 5 years later son1 was born. Son2 took another 5 years to make an appearance. Though, thankfully, no miscarriages this time.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of being a mother. My children are my world.
But I shall never forget the little ones I lost.

Is this me?


Today the Post 40 Blogger’s prompt appealed to me.  Sit in front of a mirror, look in the mirror and write about what you see.

I tried this morning, but what I saw rendered me wordless. So, here I am again. Hoping that the subdued lighting will soften the blow.

I close my eyes and see a fresh-faced woman with large green eyes, long thick eyelashes, and a crooked smile.

Then open them and look in the mirror

Well… I still have green eyes, but they seem more deep-set than I thought, and the lids are heavier. The lashes are still long and luxurious. Thanks, mainly, to my good friend who owns a beauty studio and offers a wonderful lash extension therapy.

The smile is still crooked, but now the teeth are interspersed with crowns and root canal fillings. And my lips look thinner.

And that fresh-faced woman?

Well… She’s not so anymore.  The eyebrows that were plucked to within an inch of their lives throughout my teens and twenties have given up the ghost, and refuse to grow anymore. In fact there’s not even enough to tint these days. If only someone had told me that HD eyebrows would be all the rage in 2015

The fine blonde hair…. that  used to be long, thick and auburn, but started going grey at 18……I love being blonde. In fact, I’ve been blonde for so long now most people don’t remember I haven’t always been.

And those lines that now seem to be the first thing I see. There’s no hiding from them anymore.  Perhaps the ones around my mouth are from not smiling enough? So I smile. But no, they’re still there, and spreading across my cheeks and around my eyes.  And my forehead ? It looks like a weather map, full of isobars….. Each one a memory of a storm weathered and ridden out.  Miscarriages, bereavements, health scares, professional stresses, teenagers.

But then there’s little wrinkly lines around the corners of my eyes…. I like to think they’re from all the smiling and laughter in my life… And there has been a lot. The birth of  my longed for daughter, those wonderful things children say, joyous family occasions, graduations, weddings, grandchildren, and friends. And I hope there will be a lot more to come…. So more lines to come as well.

So do I mourn that fresh-faced woman?  Well, honestly, a little.  But this is me. And this face tells the story of my life… So far. There are lots more to come.

And the people who really matter to me, love me,  lines, and all.

So I guess all that’s left now is for me to remember to love myself
 Post-40 Bloggers writing prompt No. 48 – Sit in front of a mirror and write about your face factually.

Hi, How are you ?

Your phone rings, and at the other end is a friend you’re not heard from for a while

“Hi, how are you”? They ask. You reply “okay thanks” or some other fairly non-descriptive response “and, how about you”?

Then you realise why they’ve called you…. The cursory enquiry into your well-being was only ever meant as an opening into a full-blown, 20 minute account of how they are, what latest ailment they’re suffering from, how terrible their lives are, and how badly they’re being treated at home/at work/ by friends. You don’t need to say anything… Well, you can only get the odd “oh no/ poor you/really/surely not” in anyway , so engrossed are they in their tale of woe.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I do I genuinely care about my friends and their welfare. And I have some who have horrendous things going on in their lives. But ask them how they are and the normal reply is “I’m hunky dory hun” when I know full well that’s not true, but I also know that when they’re ready to say something they will… And they know I’ll be there for them, in whatever way I can.

This is particularly true of one dear friend who, 9 times out of 10 manages to completely ignore/change the subject/use distraction whenever I ask how things are.. Or dare to suggest they should perhaps slow down/take some time out/see a doctor. So when they do, on the very rare occasions, actually reply by admitting they’re tired/sad/fed up/ unwell. Then I know things are bad. And I wish I was nearer so I could do something more practical to help.

No, I’m talking about the ones who seem unable to get through a week without some drama occurring, that they need to off load….on me. They need advice/help/to tell me a secret. Jeez, I’ve so many secrets tucked away I could be a millionaire if I ever resorted to blackmail!! And, NO, I’m not telling you any!!

Then, after 20 minutes they suddenly remember you’re still there, and finish the call with “ thanks for listening, gotta dash. But if you ever need to talk……”

Once, when there was something particularly grim going on in my life, I did actually dare to try “talking”. Oh my! That was a mistake! I’m not sure if they were shocked at what I was trying to say, and unable to cope… After all, as they said “but you’re the strong  one, you deal with everything”. Quickly followed by “look, I have to go now. But I’ll ring you back later. Now, I’m not sure how much later they meant, but it was just as well I didn’t wait in for them as it was over a month before they rang again. And guess what? Yep, they had a problem they wanted advice on! Obviously any memory of anything I’d started to tell them was long forgotten.

On another occasion someone rang, asked how I was.. I replied with my stock answer, but didn’t ask how they were…..oh my again!
They launched into me…. “Aren’t you going to ask (whatever it was going on at the time) is?” “ I can’t believe you can be so thoughtless” I bit my tongue, apologised and then before I could say anything else they proceeded to tell me anyway, in great detail.

I don’t want to sound as if I’m hard and unfeeling. I really am not. And have lots of lovely friends that I know would be here for me, at the drop of a hat, as I would be for them. And some of those are relatively new people that I’ve met on Twitter, and then in RL. We’ve shared stories and confidences, and it’s been good, and therapeutic to have been able to share some stuff, that I possibly may not have shared with friends closer to home.

I am a fairly private person, and choose carefully what I share and whom with. But , sometimes, it would be nice to think that the “how are you” from some people was actually meant. Or that if they did stop to listen, they’d, maybe, give some indication next time we spoke that they’d remembered any of it.

I really don’t mean to sound like a whingeing old bat… And I certainly don’t want my dear friends to think they can’t tell me anything again, I hope they know me well enough to know I’m there for them when they need me.

It’s just…..


And remember ‘listen’ and ‘silent’ have the same letters in them. And it’s a real skill to “really listen”’ So many people find silences awkward and have a need to fill them, for their own comfort.

In my role I facilitate sessions on communication and often engage groups in exercises on ‘active listening’ I really think everyone should try it. Sit with a friend. Ask them to talk to you for 2 minutes about something about them. You have to listen. No speaking. No asking questions. Just listen. Then at the end feedback what they’ve told you. It’s not easy. The brain is constantly thinking how the conversation relates to stuff in you life, and the temptation to ‘jump in’ is hard to resist. But try it, and you’ll be amazed how much more you’ll ‘hear’

And, please, remember sometimes that ‘strong’ person at the other end of the phone may be desperate for someone to listen to them.

Happy Easter

Another Easter weekend done and dusted. Back to ‘normal’ tomorrow… Except I’m not working. Or looking after boys this week. So actually have a whole week to myself. Almost. Practically unheard of.

Strange to be home on a Friday, it felt like Saturday.

I had fully intended on having a highly productive day doing all those domestic goddess type things that get put  to one side. However a phone call from my friend suggesting a long dog walk saw them swiftly fly out the window! Instead of our usual beach walk, we decided to go into Exeter and do the circular canal walk. It was a lovely late morning and C’s dog was having a whale of a time making acquaintances with half the canine population of Exeter. We walked around the Quay area where I spent many a happy hour in my student days drinking in the local hostelries and dancing the night away in one of the many night clubs there. The pubs are still there, though changed hugely, but sadly the night clubs did not survive. However one of them is now a rather nice pub/ restaurant. Which was dog friendly and enticed us in!


After a lovely lunch and a wee glass of wine we continued on our way, popping into the local Tesco for some last-minute Easter egg shopping. By then though, the ENTIRE population of Exeter had cottoned on to the fact that the shops were going to be closed for a whole day…. And panic buying had set in. We made a hasty exit, minus any Easter eggs.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. My daughter and SIL had invited me to spend Sunday at theirs. She’d also asked son1 and his wife, and son2 who was coming down after work.

I asked if I could bring anything. “Oh yes please” could I bring a pudding. And some plates. And some cutlery….

So I started baking… With a vengeance!

I made a leek and blue cheese tart


A strawberry and poppy-seed cake


Baked a large gammon joint, and prepared the dough for hot cross buns, which I put in the airing cupboard for second proving…. And forgot… Because I stopped and went for a walk on the beach!!


I found the dough Sunday morning when I went to airing cupboard to look for some clothes! So my first job Sunday morning was to finish making the hot cross buns! Which I have to say we’re rather tasty!


Oh, then there was the fudge chocolate pudding requested by MasterChef!



Then all that was left to do was load the car up and hope and pray everything would survive the 26 mile to my daughter’s. As it was Sunday I took the normal approach to Sunday driving……




I’m happy to report everything made it in one piece. Including me, despite the best efforts of the “recently arrived in Devon” city dwelling holiday makers who know the roads and the best way to drive them, much better than we locals do…

Now I normally always have an Easter egg hunt at mine, so this year took the eggs with me, and secreted them around K’s garden for the little men to find.

We had a lovely day. And K had put on a fab spread. The boys were delighted and excited to see Uncle A and Auntie L. Uncle N didn’t arrive until 7, as he was very busy at work and didn’t finish til 6. Luckily SIL and son1 found something to amuse themselves with while we girls sorted the meal!


We were entertained by 8 and his amazing ability as a human satnav… He can give you the route to anywhere!! And 7’s long and intricate details of the different types of ‘dub step’ he knows about. He mixes his own on his tablet and has announced he wants to be a DJ when he grows up. He also wants to write to Skillrex, who apparently is an awesome DJ, because he wants to know how to do a ‘wobble bass’… Or something!!!

The cake was devoured, as was the Choc pudding.. And we rounded the day off playing a game of Tension… Which was great fun… Mainly because our team. The girls + 7 won


I think the boys took it reasonably well



And Monday? Well, the sun was shining . So what better way to spend the day at the beach. My friend came with her dog. We had breakfast in Lyme Regis and then walked across the beach to Charmouth



Then after a coffee, back into Lyme along a coastal path, a lot of it has been diverted due to the landslips there have been, making it very dangerous.  So we walked through the woods.


Then this evening I have finally sorted out all my recipes and put in a folder. I had about 3 years worth of foodie magazines which I have been meaning to sort for ages …. I now have a folder with about 100 recipes in it… Probably 3/4 of which I’ll never make!!! And I HAVE to stop buying more magazines!!

So, all in all, a lovely… And, eventually, productive weekend

I do love my family and friends

I hope you’ve all had a fab weekend too, and thank you for indulging me. Again

The School Gate Posse

As many of you know I was a full-time working mum.  So I rarely did the school run, and a lot of the other mothers didn’t realise I was my brood’s mum!  Then, the days I did make it were often excruciating, because I didn’t fit into any of the groups of mums, and I had to endure “the school gate posse”…. “Oh hello, have you got some form of ID on you?” and other such hilarious quips were thrown in my direction by perfectly coiffed mothers waiting to collect their perfect little darlings.

I breathed  a huge sigh of relief once child 3, Master Chef, was old enough to manage the short walk to primary school with his best friend, and I could wave him goodbye from the garden gate. On the rare mornings  I was home.

Never once did it cross my mind that years later I would once again be running the gauntlet of the aforementioned “School Gate Posse”

But, yes… For the past 4 years I’ve been responsible,2 or  3 days a week, for safely depositing my 2 gorgeous grandsons at pre school and school while my daughter does her bit for the NHS.

.Things haven’t changed very much! Though these days there are quite a few grandparents doing the school run, as working mums are more the norm now. I was considered a bit of an oddity.

Oh, and most of the teachers look as though they are work experience students from one of the local senior schools!

The boys go to the their local village school… A school with over 310 pupils and each year having 2 classes of between 26-30 pupils each.

E is in year 4, and lines up in the playground to go into class, but O, in year 2, still has to be escorted into class in the morning. In the afternoons they’re both met from O’s class.

At first many thought I was the boy’s mum… E and O took great delight in insisting on calling me mummy. Very loudly. And I would get “that” look from passing mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely mums there,Who are friends of K.  And I’ve become quite friendly with them.. We chat, go for coffee some mornings if we’re not busy. And ferry each other’s children in emergencies.  And there’s 2 who now always join K and I at what has become our annual trip to ladies evening at the local race course!

So who makes up the posse?

Firstly there’s the 4×4 brigade. Who, invariably, only live a 15 minute walk from the school, but couldn’t possibly walk. And they park anywhere they see a spot. With total disregard for the safety of their own, or anybody else’s children. On double yellow lines, the zig zag lines of the zebra crossing, blocking local resident’s drives. Every so often the police come and patrol, dish out  a few verbal warnings. Even give the odd parking ticket. Put up big banner say school gates warning people of the dangers. Then for a day or two things quietened down, but soon it’s back to the normal chaos. It is a disaster waiting to happen.


Next, we have the gym mums.  They arrive in full on Lycra and running shoes. iPods strapped to arms, water bottle firmly clutched in hands. But they seem to spend most of their time discussing their latest ‘PBs’ and “you’ll never believe who I saw at the gym yesterday” To actually running. I did consider purchasing some running gear but the boys said they wouldn’t walk to school with me if I did!


Coming up close behind the gym mums are the yummy mummies. Looking like they’ve just emerged from the local beauty salon. Beautifully dresses, high heels, perfect makeup, not a hair out of place… And their little charges in immaculate uniforms and shiny shoes. How do they manage it??

Then there’s the mums who are dropping their little ones off before going to work ( though I have to admit, some days I fall into this category). They stand, well, pace, outside the classroom. (If they haven’t shooed them out of the car and driven off in a haze of exhaust fumes) Constantly checking their watches/phones (parents are asked not to use mobile phones in the playgrounds), and bemoaning the fact that the teachers are getting later and later letting the children into class. Then pushing their way past everyone once the door is opened, because they’re going to be late for work.


Then, of course, there’s the “I just need to speak to you Miss about something” ones. It’s the same ones every time, or seems to be. Little Johnny/Matilda has too much/ not enough homework/Has made you a present/written you a story. My daughter or I rarely need to speak to O’s teacher, but on the odd occasion I have , I’ve given up as I haven’t been able to get within 15 feet of “Miss”

And, finally, there’s the formidable ones gathered by the school gate, who, having dropped off their precious little ones, have to group together and have a good old bitch about everyone and everything!! “did you see what she was wearing/did you know A’s dad is now living with B’s mum/how did C’s boy ever get to be a school councillor”

You can feel their eyes boring into you as you squeeze your way past, and you just know you’re the next topic of conversation.



And then there’s me…. Usually running late, harassed from doing battle with traffic on 40 minute  journey to daughter’s, and being stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. No make up. Jumper on inside out ( don’t ask!) And realising we’ve forgotten homework/dinner money/glasses.

Hey ho… There’s only another 4 years and they’ll both be at senior school and I’ll be relieved of my duties. But, of course, by then son1 and DIL will provably have produced and I’ll be taking theirs… On my Zimmer frame!