Sunday, 4 May 2014


We went for a walk in the woods today, and discovered some impressive shelters made from logs, branches, twigs and ferns. Either Ray Mears had had an barney with his missis and was at a loose end, or the local scouts had been on a bank holiday camping expedition. Either way, some of these structures were better put together than most of my flatpack efforts from Ikea. 

I was still feeling a bit lightheaded* (*hungover) from a day of freedom yesterday. A complicated chain of babysitting arrangements, made months in advance, had allowed me and my husband to head off on a hedonistic day out. We joined up with some friends with naval connections* (*I now have this strange thought in my head of twins, attached to each other by umbilical cords, but that’s not what I mean at all) and hopped on a coach down to Twickenham to watch the annual Army v Navy rugby match.

For a day we relinquished our responsibilities, and joined up with my big brother, some old pals we’d not seen for years, and a bunch of silly but very friendly people we’d previously never met (including two Popeyes and a Captain Haddock). We chatted, sang (very poorly, according to my brother, who has an encylopaedic knowledge of filthy songs and is baffled when not everyone knows the 16th verse), shared a luggage compartment of refreshing refreshments, and along with 82,000 people watched some blokes play with an egg-shaped ball.

I can’t begin to explain how great it is to be responsibility-free for 12 hours or so. It’s a complicated process, sorting out a babysitter for more than a few hours for our daughter. It needs to be someone who knows her well, who understands her ways, who can administer the food and snack regime with ruthless efficiency, and who ‘gets’ her. Add her little brother into the equation, and they have be a mix of Mary Poppins and Supernanny.

Luckily, my mate Kay, booked for yesterday's main shift, fits the bill. Thanks, Supermarynannypoppins. There’s few people in this world I trust more. She knows what’s important about friendship (Jesus, I’m not going to go all inspirational life-coach on you, so stay with me). She gave us the chance to have a frivolous day. And that’s a seriously brilliant gift. 

Chances are that everyone reading this has got someone they know who could do with a day off. Be a human KitKat, give them a break. They’ll love you for it.

Video is The Decemberists - The Mariner's Revenge Song. Nautical, and fathoms better than In The Navy.

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