Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Tea before breakfast every morning, unless I need to wash my hair on a school day and there is no time. Why did I make coffee this morning, why? I don't like it with milk, black or with cream is the only way. Already grumpy, 'milked' coffee and the worst breakfast choice of all-toast. Toast is bread, bread is bad, it serves only to offer temporary comfort. Time to get dressed, easier said than done. I donated 80% of the clothes from my wardrobe to the school (sold by weight to raise funds). I filled 5 bin bags with ill-fated impulse charity shop buys (but now I miss them). Not warm enough for proper summer clothes, I  had to wear a cardigan. "Do I look ridiculous?" His reply; "You look...sensible" 
"I'm not bothered if I look sensible today, sensible will do. But does the cardigan look silly, it doesn't match anything"
"It's good that you look sensible, you're not sensible, so you can pretend you are today, the skirt and vest match,  and the cardigan matches the vest so there isn't an issue, let's go"
Oh, I'd like to go, but the washing needs to go on the line and the boys aren't dressed. Try to be positive, why on earth are you struggling? Let's co-operate! You put the washing out, I'll dress the boys. Everything suitable is in the ironing pile, so here we go again. Track-suit time. The only time the track suits come out is when visiting nanny (the buyer of track suits) and when "mummy is having one of those weeks".  So, mummy looks sensible, the boys look like mini 'wide boys' and daddy looks...tired.
Raisins, cheese, apples, crisps, spare pants, trousers, drinks CHECK.
My phone isn't fully charged, my underwear isn't very comfortable, my chest is tight, throat sore... deep breaths, asthma pump. I have a spot on the bridge of my nose, ripe for squeezing. If I squeeze it, it'll look  unsightly, but I can't bear to leave it. Into the car, which is a skip full of detritus, debris, dirt.  Music comes on louder than usual, competing with tearful two year old (probably tired from disturbed itchy-skin sleep). I start to twitch internally.
Off we go, to Toys R Us, to look for some more pieces for the train track. It's miles away, we pass many an uninspiring industrial estate. We miss the turning, never mind, turn around a mile up the road. I'm not used to big stores any more, I get dizzy pretty quickly, and lose the tiny bit of spatial awareness I have. The boys sit on bikes, the train track section is poorly stocked, we browse and leave, empty handed.
 Cream for their sore skin, must stop at the chemist, must pretend it's for me or they won't sell it (even though the doctor prescribes it for them) and must buy Fairy washing powder to stop their skin getting sore.  Get the cream (pharmasist: "who is it for?" er, me. "Which area of your body is it for?" my bottom. Great lie, she'll never ask to look there.). I forgot to get  the washing powder.  I feel so very out of sorts, I hoped writing this would sort me out, I feel worse.. Tuesdays aren't meant to be like this, I go to my exercise class on Tuesday, I don't have everyone home normally. I can't believe how much of a 'creature of habit' I have become. How worrying.
Strong tea and  run, that is my next strategy, it'll either kill or cure me
Watch this space...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Never meet your idols?

When I was around 15, my friend Laura  showed me a pile of letters. They were replies to a pen-pal request she had posted on Teletext (goodness, that seems archaic now). I was asked to look at the letters she'd rejected, and if I so wished, to choose one/some to reply to. I quickly dismissed all but one letter, the majority were a mere paragraph of immature, badly presented statements, like "I love going out and hate school". The letter I decided to keep and reply to was from John, an 18 year old warehouse worker from Oxford.
I liked John's self-depreciating humour, his passion for music and the way he described his mundane experiences at work. I had no intention of sending a photograph of myself and I didn't think it was important to know what he looked like. My reluctance to send a photograph led John to draw conclusions, I'd get replies saying "don't worry if you're not pretty, I am no oil painting". I tried explaining my thoughts on the picture-swapping, an element of anonymity was part of the enjoyment for me. In the end, he won and I nipped to Woolworths to get some pictures taken in a booth. The next letter I received from John seemed to smack of disappointment. Perhaps he was hoping I was fat, plain, or unfortunate looking. The very thing I had been hoping to avoid ended up happening. "You look so nice in your picture, I don't want to send one of me now..." gone was the humour and lively descriptions of the latest albums he'd spent his wages on. I re-iterated my lack of interest in his appearance, and hoped to (as is commonly suggested to people with issues) 'move on'.
I did get a photograph in the next letter from John, my mum pointed out that he was a doppelgänger for Fergal Sharkey. We continued to write for another year, I can barely remember what I used to write but I still have John's letters. Any references in John's letters to my previous letter seem to revolve around my boredom, eagerness to move away from South Wales, and not having enough money to go to concerts. At 17 I left school and planned to stay with my parent's friends in Oxford for a week, along with my friend Yvette. John suggested we meet up with him and his friend one afternoon. Again, as with the photograph swapping, I was reluctant, but agreed.
My parent's friends live in a quaint village in a rather affluent area in Oxfordshire, I naively thought everywhere was pretty much the same.  On the day Yvette and I were to met John, we were warned it was a 'rough area' by my dad's friend, and he dropped us off. Nothing could have prepared us for our visit to John's house. We had both seen plenty of 'poor' people's houses, and our own homes were fairly modest.  John explained that his dad and step-mum were heavy drinkers. The carpets were threadbare, walls and ceilings bright yellow with nicotine stains. No light shone through the windows as they were thick with black grime. An overpowering musty fug dominated the atmosphere, leaving you almost gasping for fresh air.  We wanted to turn back, but knew our only option was to sit the day out. John apologised several times for the 'mess' but there was no mess, just a neglected shell of a home. We were led to his bedroom to listen to some CD's before his mate turned up. In a vain attempt to 'brighten the place up' a poster of a chimp sitting on the toilet surrounded by loo roll had been stapled to the toilet door. As I imagined, John's bedroom hadn't been decorated since his early teens and was a sad-looking homage to motorbikes.
An awkward twenty minute wait for John's friend ensued, Yvette and I sat uncomfortably as John adopted DJ persona.  The small-talk was excruciating, Yvette and John barely spoke, whilst I tried to crack jokes, failing miserably. The arrival of John's rather enthusiastic friend livened things up a little and we headed off to the local pub. A hugely forgettable afternoon slowly panned out, jokes about the Welsh wore thinner and thinner, I realised how little I really knew about John. 
When we got home, I reflected on the day out with John. Meeting my pen-pal was a mistake, we are different people in a letter, biro on paper. Our following letters were never the same, and soon after we stopped exchanging them, the rapport was long gone.
I saw a post recently where the author (a girl of around 20) suggested a 'Blogger Meet Up'. The response was keenly enthusiastic, at least 30 people signed up for it. I thought back to how meeting my pen pal became the beginning of the end of our relationship. I thought about how potentially disappointing meeting my 'favourite' bloggers could be. You build up a picture in your mind, think "I'd really get on with this person", and perhaps set yourself up for a fall.  I can understand young, single people wanting to 'network', travel the country and connect with other like-minded people, but I stand by the phrase 'never meet your idols'. 
I suppose it could be interesting to find out what expectations people have of your character based on reading your blog.  On the other hand, some things are far better left unsaid.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Work it girl

I have been thinking about returning to work. Children start school full time at three 'round here, that means from January 2012 I will no longer be a fully fledged 'Stay At Home Mum'. I gave up my job in 2008 when I was pregnant with my third son.
I never imagined being a SAHM, not because I liked working or thought I wouldn't cope with the lifestyle, simply because I didn't dare think about it. In my mind, we couldn't afford it, therefore it wasn't an option. Three years later, we STILL can't afford it. The main bills never go unpaid, but food shopping, new shoes, car repairs, hair cuts, birthdays, Christmas and so on are impossible to fund at times. Not once though, have I wished I had a job. I miss nothing about working, none of the clichés apply to me... "Having an adult conversation" Er, I still have them, thanks. "Drinking a cup of tea in peace" well, I like having tea when I want one, not having to wait hours 'til break time. "Motherhood is thankless" where do you work? Not once did I get thanked for going to work. "Being at home with kids turns your brain to jelly" again, where do you work? Unfortunately, for the uneducated like me, going to work was not an exercise in increasing brain function.

My eldest son is 12, I worked part time in a pub when he was 8 weeks old til he was 18 months old. I worked full time at a school from when he was 18 months old to 8 years old. I missed so much, sports days, concerts, outings... I never took him to school, never picked him up. The great thing was spending school holidays with him, this was a treat.  If I hadn't worked, I never would have been able to afford to buy a house on my own, I did the right thing. I am doing the right thing now. The question is, what is the right thing to do NEXT?  Find a part-time job and earn enough money to pay for someone to take the younger 2 boys to school and pick them up? Study, but get into a state because I'm so rubbish at time management? Stay home but feel guilty and panic about what the more distant future holds? Try working from home? Where to start?
I am enjoying my life, I feel quite free, creative, calm and dare I say it important. I fear full-time work will be the oly sensible option. I do not want to be tired, stressed, worried and guilty all the time. That was how I always felt when I worked full time, but I didn't  realise, just though it was normal. Maybe I am not cut out for working and looking after my family, maybe I just can't cope. Or perhaps, I just need one of those jobs where I go to work with make-up on, drink tea, chat and laugh and browse the internet, for now, I'm happy to do all of that from home.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Fight for this love

I witnessed a mid-afternoon brawl in town today. Can't really call it a fight, as the violence was one-sided, a 'beating' if you like.  There were two girls egging on two blokes who were laying into another guy. The guy getting beaten was being comforted by his friend in between blows. Blood poured from a facial wound. I didn't want to watch, but felt compelled to. The girls looked so evil and damaged, they were young but looked irreparably worn. Carrier bags full of cans swung from their hands, language full of hate spewed from their mouths.
 Across the road from the bingo hall where the mêlée was taking place is a church. The playgroup was empting out, mums and dads collecting their precious toddlers. I refuse to believe the individuals involved in the brawl are 'scum'. Call me naive, but I think very few people are born evil. All I wonder is if these people were ever someone's whole world, someone's pride and joy. If they were bathed and fed well, sung to, read to and made to feel special.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Robbie's Trophies

What do you give someone when they do you a small favour? A thank-you card, maybe some flowers of  the £2.99 variety?  20 fags?  Nah, hardly anybody smokes these days. The best plan, a bottle of wine.  Tiny favour, but you may need another one day, so keep 'em sweet. And what does my ever-so-polite partner say when he's handed a bottle of wine after fixing a computer? Why, he says "thank-you very much".
A wine cellar would be a boon, only I doubt the contents would impress Jancis Robinson much. Thing is, he doesn't drink wine. I never want to open a bottle just to sit in front of the TV or browse the internet. I have tried, believe me. I think to myself, "I'll have a glass with my dinner, then another while we watch a film tonight".  This fails, I either end up glugging the whole bottle at record speed, or falling asleep just as the film starts. Alcohol is something I use to boost my confidence, that is all. I can't drink sensibly. Give me a few glasses of wine and I suddenly take on a whole new persona. In my mind, I'm an extremely talented actress, funny, clever, entertaining. This has a mixed reception, and the next day I usually wake with a sense of doom weighing heavily on my chest along with blurred images re-appearing. Images of people trying to back away from me whilst smiling politely and with sympathy. Behaviour like that in the living room with a sober partner trying to watch a film does't work at all.
So, we have 'Robbie's Trophies' as he likes to call them. Ideal to pass on as birthday presents to people who I don't care much about. Ideal to take to dinner parties (if only I got invited). Ideal to hand out as raffle prizes at my middle son's school.
I often daydream about these bottles of wine, and inspired by the film L'argent, imagine scenarios where the wine is passed on and becomes a catalyst for dramatic turns of event.

Would anybody be interested in hearing me explain one of these daydreams? I may start making some stories up about Robbie's Trophies....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

I flippin' despise grocery shopping and that's swearing!*  I did go through a phase of popping into town daily just to pick up what was needed. I soon got fed up of lugging weighty swedes, delicate eggs and smelly fish around. I soon got fed up of being in town, it's an incredibly depressing place at times.
Online shopping was a godsend when my middle son was born. He cried all day every day for 6 months and every time we went shopping for nearly 3 years. I did miss the sensory experience of shopping, I like to fondle the fruits, admire the neon cleaning products with their promise to cleanse my soul ( I said admire, buying leads to depression when the magic wand effect is proven to be fruitless).   Middle son started school, youngest son stopped needing a nap, spontaneity became a new luxury for me. Forget the online delivery service, I don't want to have a 'slot' and wait for up to 2 hours for some whining driver to drop boxes of the wrong food onto my carpet.
The supermarket was sensory overload, I tried and failed. How I longed to live near a neat row of independent delicatessens, maybe ride home on my bike, wicker basket housing a baguette, some cheese and cured meat "here you go kids, it's mamma's take on Findus French Bread Pizza (again)".
My latest solution to the food-shop dilemma involves a popular German budget chain. I just love the ambience, it's like drifting through a silent dream. The store felt sedate, the staff were industrious, focussed, mute. The food all looked so familiar, yet totally alien at the same time.  I bought a swede the size of my head, simply because it was the size of my head. Asparagus was cheap, spinach was cheap, bananas-reasonable, cheeses, the trolley was nearly brimming in no time. I panicked about the meat,I always panic about meat, where the hell did it originate? Some of the packaging looked like a drawing you'd do in art class of a made up brand; amateur, lurid. Unease crept in slowly, the customers didn't look real, were they just robots used to make the place look popular? One guy looked like a mannequin, and his shopping was stacked so neatly, all in boxes, all in size order. Pristine clothes, polished face, he looked just like the 'after' version of some poor bloke who'd been styled on This Morning.
It didn't feel like shopping, it felt like being on holiday and just grabbing anything which looked edible, "let's try this cereal, it looks like something budgies would go nuts for". I know, I am very unfashionably late to the German supermarket scene. I have always shunned these shops thinking they just sold convenience foods, the odd bottle of mediocre wine and a so-so range of sausages.
I conclude, shopping for planned items does not work for me, I like surprises. I like charity shops, TK Maxx, Independent shops, and supermarkets I have never visited before.

Next week-mum goes to Iceland?

* one of 'Mrs Brady, Old Lady' (s) favourite quotes, Viz

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Sad about the boy

Sometimes I feel an overwhelming sadness when I'm people watching. A couple who live nearby have this effect on me. They look to be aged between 35 and 40, and don't have any children. Both are always smiling and seem to be very much 'in love'. I've never seen them look fed up or stressed. A patchwork velvet skirt which nearly touches the floor is what she wears, he wears jeans and a black t-shirt, possibly with a band name on it.
If I see them it is either at the corner shop, or on their way into town holding hands. His walk is self-conscious, his head tilts to one side, he shuffles and looks coy, like a lady on her way back through the pub after going to the toilet. Her walk is more confident, almost a glide, you never see her feet only the giant skirt hovering. Once, I saw him ask the girl at the chip shop if he could taste their barbecue sauce, he only had a tiny speck of it but insisted on giving her 20p for the privilege. I felt sad for him then, something about his eagerness to be 'nice', his stutter and inability to maintain eye-contact.
I know that my brother experiences this same pity for complete strangers, and I explained this guy to him. Soon after, I saw him and was able to point him out to my brother, who works at the University. "Oh, I've seen him at work, I think he's doing a course. He was in a car crash when he was little, his parents were   killed ". 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Teenage Kicks

I sat amongst some teens on their school lunch break today. There were plenty of vacant tables, but I like to sit next to a window, near the door and near 'people'. I do an equal measure of eavesdropping and risk-assessment. If I'm watching the car park, I've plenty of chance to scope out robbers, psychos and potential new people to gawp at.
Today was a real treat for me, I hardly touched my meal and cursed myself for not replacing my clotted biro.
These school kids were in exceptionally high spirits and must have been at the end/coming to the end of their exams. Their polo-shirts had been scribbled on with marker pens, some were in fancy dress and the girls mostly looked like photograph negatives. Orange faces, luminous lips and either black, white (peroxide) or red hair.
Four girls were sat at the table nearest me, the one who thought she was the ugliest was the prettiest and vice versa. Their mannerisms mirrored the typical American 'chick-flick' -  all exaggerated hands, faux gasps in response to statements and unnecessary hair-flicking.  It was a far cry from the immature body language displays of their male contemporaries. The boys were so untidy for a start, fries on the floor, ketchup globules dripping like B movie blood...
In walked the Alpha male of the school year, the girls bristled, I'm sure one of them licked her fingers and smoothed her hair, as a cat does in anticipation of visitors. Alpha male was encased in an electric blue body suit which covered him from head to toe completely.  Another lad had a loud-hailer which he used to amplify the music from his phone initially. Alpha male had better ideas, he used it to order his meal and the whole restaurant was forced to listen.  I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I like to be on the side of the underdog, so I refused to tut, grimace and whine about the teens. they were having a jolly good laugh after a stressful few weeks of revising and sitting exams, what's so bad about that?
Next, I spy a rather unfortunate-looking bunch of females walk towards the 'joint'.  Female 1 was sporting your stereotypical lesbian uniform,comprising white mens' shirt, carpenter jeans, chunky gold chain, leather loafers. A bleached, spiky cropped hairdo, giant cheap watch and gangster swagger pulled the look together. Female 2 looked as though her lifetime of avoiding food in favour of cigarettes and alcohol coupled with a nervous disposition had started to take it's toll. Haggard face, body of a malnourished ten year old boy and the aura of someone you'd rather not look at lest they challenge you to a duel. Female 3 was short, round, and not unlike one of the tombliboos with her top tucked into her leggings.
One of the lads quipped "boys, there's some fit birds on their way in, look"... as the three Supremes entered the establishment, the boys all chortled and snorted. I'm ashamed to say, I smiled to myself.
The girls were getting ready to leave, went to the toilet 2 at a time and took ages, emerged looking oranger and pinker and smelling of teen spirit. The pretty but didn't know it girl read a leaflet aloud "tips for revising, eat well, exercise... a bit bloody late when I've nearly finished my exams!"
'Quite' I thought to myself, 'silly school'.
When the girls left, the trio of trolls (T.O.T) took their seats, much to the boys amusement. The malnourished one spoke, her voice was how I'd imagine a full ashtray to sound were it to be animated in a cartoon. The tombliboo spoke, it was how I'd imagine someone to sound who was imitating a Welsh Valleys accent, slowly, it was Welsher than Welsh. The 'lesbian' spoke, she sounded like the boys on the next table.
 The boys started to mess around a bit, but didn't push it too far, in my opinion. The T.O.T started to voice their dismay, and they DID push it too far. FUCKING GROW UP BOYS. IS IT? FOR FUCK'S SAKE, SOME PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO 'AVE FOOD IN PEACE. Charming.
Through out my time there, two firemen were sat behind me, I couldn't make out the conversation in detail, but it was littered with expletives and sexual references.
I had been to the hospital with my youngest son (2 years old) and decided to treat him to a Happy Meal (shoot me). This was Mc Donald's, a place for kids to eat crap. I liked the teens, they made my day. I didn't like the adults at all.
A middle aged, tired looking lady came to sweep up the fries dropped by the boys. I heard one of them say "sorry love". She smiled, I was glad. My son had a balloon, he was delighted and grinned at the T.O.T. they were busy, trying to 'AVE FOOD. They ate like vultures.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

When I win the lottery....

 Winning the lottery such an easy cliché to get caught up in. Of course, you'd make your family so happy, dishing out wads of cash to them. There's the 'I'd never work again' camp and the 'I'd HAVE to keep working camp'. How often have you heard "all I want is a nice house and a car, holidays every year". or "I'd like to die knowing my family are comfortable"?  Whenever I hear that I imagine a bed made from cushioned banknotes, and a smiling couple floating into it.
I'm not about to pretend I don't ever crave financial security or affluence, but I rarely buy a lottery ticket. When I do buy one, I behave like an excited child, can't wait for the draw to start and sit with ticket in hand expecting to win. I assume every number under 50 which catches my eye during the week is a 'sign'. That reduced yoghurt is calling me, look at the yellow sticker it's beckoning me, 39p. Thirty-nine. I can hear the lottery voice-over man saying it, to me. Numbers will jump out at me all week, I'll jot them down, tap them into my phone and feel a force is guiding me. I'll also do a couple of lines with similar numbers above and below, because it's so frustrating when those numbers are close. Then I lose, and feel cheated, rip the ticket and vow not to torture myself again.
Nobody 'deserves' to win the lottery in my mind. OK, it would be great if it was always won by 'lovely' people who are kind, a bit pathetic and don't have much, of course. However, I just LOVED it when Michael Carroll won. Why did people get so angry? He bought a ticket, his numbers matched the ones on the balls that night so he won millions. Did it make him happy? No it didn't, on the contrary he's even quoted as saying "I wish I'd never won."
I know a lady whose uncle won £1.5 million on the national lottery. His wife didn't do the usual numbers that day because she was in a rush. His wife was also dying. When they won she insisted they move, she'd never liked the house as it was his family home and it never felt 'hers'. They moved, helped their kids out. She died. The kids fell out. He's sad and lonely in a house he doesn't like. I'm not saying that's typical, but a sad example, and the only one I know of personally.
If money was the answer to so may problems, there would be more people becoming entrepreneurs, surely. I hope if you ever win, you give loads to charity, because otherwise the guilt will destroy you, won't it? And you have to start dressing from head to toe in new clothes which look like THEY are wearing YOU. Those family members you never really liked much (and the feeling was mutual)? You'll all get on just great. Fancy holidays, nice car, new house with all brand-new stuff in it with no memories and history attached? Lovely. And when you go to bed at night, what will you dream about?  Please let me know.... 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Tinned ham and shopping baskets

After reading this entertaining post, several anecdotes came to mind. The first is my favourite tale of someone being put off a potential 'date'.
 My friend had met a seemingly eligible chap at work, and waxed lyrical about him for several weeks. "He really looks after his car" not something I can imagine getting excited about "He likes all the same music as me" erm, lots of people like listening to the radio "He's tall, and fit" ok, so that IS a plus I suppose. Much flirting, loud mutual guffaws at double entendres and text message joke swapping ensued, culminating in a suggested post-work meet up on the Friday. Excited and enthused, said friend began her preparations for the date on Wednesday. On Thursday, it all went wrong unexpectedly and disastrously. Friend popped to the supermarket after the gym early in the evening. As she loaded her basket with magazines, oranges, cotton buds and a few other single-girl essentials, who should she spot entering the store? Only Friday's date. It appeared he was with his mother, and luckily, hadn't spotted her. A stealth exit was planned, no way did she want to bump into him, all sweaty, and have that awkward "meet my mum" moment before the first date. As she was about to leave the store, she glanced over her shoulder, witnessing a scene that would lead to her cancelling Friday's date. Mr 'could've been' Right was cradling his basket in the crook of his arm. "He just looked so camp,walking down the shampoo aisle with his mum, carrying the basket on his arm like an old lady,  there's no way I could meet him".
If only he knew what his crime was...
The second tale involves a scene witnessed by my mum. Mum's friend Jane lived in the next street, and had one daughter, in her early twenties at the time.  Saturday afternoons were dedicated to mum and Jane catching up on the weeks' events in Jane's kitchen. Mum would sit and listen as Jane chain-smoked and reeled off tiresome tales of the cleaning chores she'd completed, minor exchanges she'd had with local folk with whom she was on mere nodding terms with, and generally whine. Jane's daughter Abi was ambitious and  desperate to escape her oppressive working-class environment. From her style of dress to her 'put-on' accent and ladylike composure, Abi screamed 'snob' but looking back it was an admirable attempt to better herself.
Abi took various live-in nanny positions, moving to affluent areas and  working for professional couples. Jane would moan to my mum "Abi comes home and says things like 'why can't WE have constant hot water mum?'" One of Abi's ambitions was to meet and marry a well educated gentleman who was 'going places'. Whilst working in Reading, the start of this dream took shape. Abi met a graduate and his well-heeled family, who took to her, despite possibly questioning her background. When the time came for Abi to introduce Mr 'Going Places' to her parents,  she invited him to stay for the weekend. Mum still visited Jane that Saturday, who quickly shared shocking facts about her weekend guest; "His mum must have packed his weekend bag, he had a neatly folded dressing gown and slippers" "I keep telling him to call me Jane, but he still says 'Mrs Davies'". Mum and Jane were sat at the kitchen table, a cramped terraced-house space, when Abi and (let's call him) 'David' emerged from the bedroom.
 Mum described the look of horror she saw etched on a sensible-looking David's face upon witnessing the spectacle before him. Jane sipping Carling lager from a can, cigarette in hand,  Abi asking David if he fancied a sandwich as she opened a tin of ham with one of those fiddly key things, mum and daughter were oblivious to how alien this scene must have been to David. Mum felt equal pity for all three parties, this was a mix of classes, a contrast of social standards and expectation that was NEVER going to work. Perhaps comparable to a typical scene from a Mike Leigh film; uncomfortable, embarrassing, awkward and somehow quite sad.

I'm pleased to report that Abi went on to meet and marry someone just like her, an ambitious guy who complimented her perfectly. They now live in  'nice' area and continue to socially climb and strive to achieve a higher standard of living. Let's hope David did the same