11 July, 2008

The Story So Far

Many months ago I bought some marigold tea, in the mistaken internet-sourced belief, that it would help alleviate my mystery itching. It did not work. What did work was Boots heavy-duty antihistamines. I could not find any marigold tea in the Balham Therapy Rooms, so I ended up buying it off the internet and when it arrived it turned out to be a wholesale-sized package. I have been drinking this weird-tasting tea for months now and it never seems to get any less and there is still a huge tupperware of it stashed in our larder. So I give up – even though it means that I am – gasp! – wasting money, I have finally taken the big step and thrown it away. The way things were going, I could see that two years from now, I would still be thinking a cup of the horrible stuff every day at work, and I don’t even like it.

I’ve just finished reading that Danny Wallace book where he looks up 12 old friends from his childhood. If I were to do that, they would be:

Adlina Manaf
Shirani Oorjitham
Chin Jen Yee
Maznah Hashim
Ronald Khoo and his sister Su Ming – but I have never really lost touch with them, so they probably do not count
Leong Ket Ti – actually I have seen her relatively recently too, her husband is a hotshot lawyer in KL
Sau Kim
Anne Edwards – married with kids and living somewhere in Surrey? Or Kent?
Matanat Mohsin – actually lives in London but thinks she’s too smart for me
Tanya Boyd-Meester – also living somewhere in London, but I tried to get in touch when we got back to the UK and no reply. Huh.
Holly Gillcash – American exchange student. Was going to Georgetown University. Was a lot more sophisticated than us.

I suppose the thing that holds me back from contacting any of them is the fear that we would have nothing in common any more, if we ever did. There would be none of that warmth and recovery of the past that Danny Wallace rejoices in. If anything, I would go away feeling that what I thought I had in the past wasn’t real.

What else has been going on? The Food Upfront woman came round and dropped off compost. LSS has spent the past couple of weeks crooning over it: There’s nothing yet. There’s still nothing. It’s been days and there’s nothing. You’d think by now there’d be something. We have a shoot! We have another shoot! We have nine shoots! But the first one is my favourite.

We are flying out to KL tomorrow for two weeks. Who is going to water our shoots? When we get back, we will not have shoots – we will just have a row of shrivelled dead things.

Having tussled fruitlessly with the NHS for a year(!), I have finally given up and booked an appointment for Mo at Dr Kewley’s ADHD clinic in Sussex. I am fedup with the NHS. In my opinion the best thing they could do is abolish it and make everybody get private health insurance. It is clearly not a sustainable institution.

Curly has been assessed with a reading age of 9 and is going to spend an hour a day with the Y2’s next year. She has taken this with her usual aplomb. Larry got AA’s for everything except PE and Mental Maths in her report card. Ah, I says to her, we must work on your Mental Maths (discarding the PE as fighting against her destiny – I was hopeless at PE, she can be hopeless at PE). LSS accused me of doing the traditional Chinese parent thing – what only 99%? What happened to the last 1%? Hey, if it was good enough for my sisters and me, it’s good enough for my kids! It got me to where I am today – a broken-down unfulfilled wreck, doing a job I hate, fruitlessly striving to propitiate unappeasable imaginary gods.

Accepted an offer on our flat. The guy works for First Direct so at least he should have no problem getting a mortgage. Anyway, I am not holding my breath.

Had first session with the teacher I am coaching for TeachFirst. It was really good! How unexpected.

Working on third draft of my novel. Bracing myself for inevitable rejections, by starting prep work on the sequel.

LSS finally passed his driving test after a saga that made me wonder whether I should not also be making an appointment for him at Dr Kewley’s clinic. First, he never got round to booking the test until it was so late that he would only have one shot at it before his international driving licence wore out. Then he didn’t read the instructions properly so he didn’t realise that he needed to show them the new photocard licence, instead of the old paper licence and passport, so he couldn’t take the test (and forfeited the £56 fee). Then he got home from the aborted test and realised that he actually does have a new photocard licence and it was in his wallet all the time, so he could have taken the test. Then he had to take the kids to school on public transport (gasp!) for a week because his international licence had expired. Then he made us all get up at dawn to get to the driving test centre on time on Wednesday, only to find out when we got there (and had been sitting waiting for half an hour for the test centre to open), that in fact the test was on Thursday.

Anyway, thank heavens, he has passed at last! Cheaper motor insurance – hooray! I realise this is not much of a thing to get excited about, but when you are 44 you have to take your opportunities for euphoria where you can.

Have to start sorting out senior schools for Larry. Someone remind me, if I haven’t done anything about it in a month.

LSS and the kids got on to Southwest Trains for Clapham Junction some time last week (during the whole driving test saga) on a rainy day when the train was jampacked. Larry was moaning: “It’s too crowded. It’s too hot. I’m wet. I’m bored. I want to get off!” She was clearly channelling the thoughts of every single person in the carriage, as everyone laughed. Curly (from the level of everyone’s knees) pipes up: “Why am I down here? It’s all different down here!” Cue for more merriment. Yes, they were the life and soul of the morning commute that day!

Went round to Little Squish’s last weekend to help her clear stuff. I have been longing to clear stuff out of her flat for years. Took the stuff down to Lambeth dump off the Walworth Road. It’s not as good as Wandsworth’s! She fed us extremely authentic Fukien mien, although I did not get any of the little crunchy bits. Came away with VHS videos of the entire Buffy series 1-9, and my old Felix the Cat tin box. LSS replaced her broken toilet seat and reaffirmed his manly credentials.

We went to a PYO two weeks ago and LSS has made 4 jars of raspberry jam and 4 jars of what can only be described as strawberry splot. If anyone needs any strawberry splot, please let me know.


Blogger dgny said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:30 am  
Blogger dgny said...

I can't wait to read it! Please please please, I'll even pay for a copy! I'm certain you'll be the next best thing - and I would know, given bald is the new hair!

Good thing you threw out the marigold tea; it sounded disgusting. I say eat more acidophillus if your skin is still itchy. Loads more.

5:30 am  
Blogger SMW said...

I want LSS's raspberry jam recipe! We are suffocating under excess crops of berries and Swiss chard.

10:08 am  
Blogger FBT said...

ok, but you can't really make jam with chard. You mountain folk are so naive and unsophisticated.

10:10 am  
Blogger ulaca said...

Not as unsophisticated as we urban dwellers. Only Chard I know is the village in Somerset.

4:43 am  
Blogger SMW said...

I was intending to try and fob off some fancy smancy sounding melange on those sophisticated urban folk who fall for that kind of thing but perhaps you saw through my cunning plan.

8:29 am  
Blogger dgny said...

Can't you just freeze chard and use it in lasagna all winter?

Jam is just raspberries and sugar, no? Although I don't know how you can have extras, I just bought a half flat and they were mostly gone before I'd unpacked the rest of the groceries and the remainder (a bit squishy, they were rejects, really) went into a crumble. Yum.

6:23 am  

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