Monday, 23 July 2012


Last week I worked like a Trojan to the point I almost thought I was losing my mind - trying to remember everything for work and at the same time be supportive wife to a depressed Husband (still job hunting god bless him) and a FUN mother to a teething nightmare and an exhausted end of term 6 year old. By Friday I felt on the verge... then I got my period. The period from HELL. It comes about once a year and wipes me out on every level - physically and mentally - and I eat like a horse. What is that about? Anyway, Husband says I am just a joy to live during this wipe out period. All I want to do is sit in a dark room and just ride it out.

So last night Husband and I went to see Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Once I got into my seat - (even though it was 3 rows from the screen - Husband's late booking) and the lights went down, I felt totally relaxed. I slouched into my chair - it was, just like Christopher Nolan described -  home. The cinema is my sanctuary - the place I always escape to when I feel low, or scared, or not in the mood to face the world. I went to the movies as soon as my Grandmother's funeral ended, on a rainy cold Boxing Day in 1998. I just wanted a few hours where I could hide from my grief. A time when I didn't have to think. It is also a place I run to when I'm happy, when I'm excited about a movie, when I get some quality time with Husband, where I try and educate my son. It is quite simply, my favourite way to spend time on my own.

As I sat there last night, gripped by the amazing film - as it is truly brilliant - I suddenly thought of those poor people in Colorado - who like me, were sitting in their safe comfy chair, excited at what delights Nolan and co had in store for us. I thought of how confused they must have been,  disorientated to suddenly find themselves running for their lives - in a real life horror that they could never have imagined.

Who thinks up such a scheme, such a warped and brutal plan? Such a cowardly mission - to attack those unarmed and vulnerable - in their safe haven. But I don't want to give fuel/head space to such an inhuman being. Instead I'm wondering how much blood will be spilt before America reviews it's gun policy? This is far from the first time some nut job has gathered up an arsenal of weapons and taken aim at the innocent... Columbine, Virginia Tech - the list sadly goes on. What will it take for a President to stand up and discount the second amendment? We all know that the Republican party is in the pocket of Washington's powerful gun lobby, led by the fanatical National Rifle Association. But the Democrats seem to believe that the thorny issue of gun laws only leads to their downfall at the ballot box - and so no one is willing to support gun restrictions in an electoral year. 

What are they waiting for, as they cling to some historical law that has no place in modern life - when a simple night out, in recession times when a movie ticket it a treat, leaves folk dead? I just cannot get my head around it. In my mind there is nothing to debate. The second amendment is obsolete and gun control needs to be implemented immediately.

So the front three rows remained unsold. A fear rippled across the pond - a fear to step into the dark quiet coolness and be entertained for several blissful hours. Shame on that man, for desecrating something so holy, so sacred to so many.

And shame on anyone who supports the right to bear arms.

Thursday, 5 July 2012


The night my son was born, Wed June 21st 2006, I lay alone in a shared ward, in a slight daze, bleating for more painkillers while simultaneously trying not throw up - and I reached for the coin munching TV mobile that hung above my bed. I desperately needed to watch something - anything - that made life feel normal again. I had just spent a few gruelling hours in surgery - the section was fine I may add - but agreeing to be part of some study (just to keep in with the anaesthetist) meant I had been shivering, grinding my teeth wildly and jigging around more than a leprechaun on March 17th for a good old while.

And there it was.

When Harry Met Sally. Comfort on a screen. A movie I practically knew backwards. Sally faked her orgasm, and Harry karaoked badly in front of his ex, there was the wonderful moment Carrie Fisher begged 'tell me I don't have to be out there again;' Central Park as the backdrop to the whole tale and those wonderful pieces to camera where couples discussed why they had fallen in love. I lay there, catheter still in,  candula still in, with what can only be described as a nappy between my legs, as everything ached and my head whirred and amongst it all - I felt relieved. Life was normal. When Harry Met Sally was on TV.

This week I was sad to read of the passing of the screenwriter of the movie - Nora Ephron. She was an amazing writer (I confess I have yet to read her books, but I have loved her witty and sympathetic blog posts - the opposite of the Goopster, for sure) and a remarkable woman. Who else could turn a memoir about her Husband leaving her for another woman while she was heavily pregnant, into a memoir and then film starring Meryl Streep?

Things have been rocky here at chez CrummyMummy... no talks of divorce or stropping out the door - but it has been fraught and tense and hard. Husband job hunting 2 months on - me wondering what next? Happy to be working, missing my kids. Happy to be using my brain again - sad to not have a moment to engage my brain in anything other than work and house-work. Where is the time to write, to blog, to run, to be still?

This week a workmate said I seemed sad - and I was. I'd just been to an amazing gathering for a dear friend's 40th - with old buddies galore - and I had drunk too much, laughed enough and fallen over in the street twice, persuading a cab driver to take us 1 mile home for £60.... It had been brilliant. And then, it was over - back from sunny Henley, the champagne and the river, to M25 and a screaming toddler. I felt a little blue. Next year I hit the big 4 0 and  in lots of ways I'm not where I'd hoped to be... just yet.

So, I take inspiration from Ephron. Who I read gave a speech in '96 where she said to graduates 'What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess.  It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you - you can always change your mind. I know: I've had 4 careers and 3 husbands...'

Apparently she loved her 40s, 50s and 60s, saying these where her best years. That gives me hope, the best is yet to come. Most of all I love that she said 'Be a heroine of your life not the victim.' It really is a choice, and it really is that simple in almost all cases. As I start to plan my 40th... I think that'll be the motto I hold onto. The one that makes me feel most normal. Like the world is sane after all - just like that night in the hospital.

Nora, you were one of a kind.