My internet was down for so long – three weeks in fact – that when I had finally waded through the emails for the important stuff that I actually wanted to read, (knitting, competitions, offers on clothes that I can’t afford, nothing at all from people I know), I had gotten out of the habit of blogging here. I have had a lot of funny material over the past few weeks. Not least the irony of trying to take part in a Mumsnet survey on Talk Talk but not being able to fill out the form because my Talk Talk connection was so crap it was probably better off being non-existant than teasing me so.
Then I called my Mother.
For the past 17 months, phone calls to my Mother have existed solely on Skype and not involved anything that could be counted as a conversation because they were either too busy watching the boy try turn off my laptop or the connection was so bad that we just got cut off. Apparently that counted as calling once a week so both parties were happy and I no longer needed to put my mobile on loud speaker and mutter ‘mmm-hmm’ at appropriate moments while I tidy my room because I am not actually listening to the story about how the neighbours cat got stuck in the shed or what barbeque tools they are going shopping for at the weekend. They live in Yorkshire; the only barbeque tool they really need is a shelter.
Tonight my phone call to my mother was plain old, one-to-one conversation. Sort of. We were planning the weekend where my husband is running the Great North Run and we are all heading up there as a big extended family, both sides of our family. Together. In a small hotel. Overnight. The worst part is that I am most likely going to have to spend extended time in a confined space with my Mother, with no escape. Damn my non-driving status.
We all went up last year for the same event but my husband took two left feet. Literally – two trainers for the left foot, none for the right. I’m not entirely sure he finds it funny now but we will bring it up all weekend anyway.
This is how the ‘conversation’ about what were were doing on the day went:
“So, I am going to work out the best place to cheer him on,” I said.
“Well, wait a minute because I have been talking to my friend and she said there is no point we should only go to South Sheilds.”
“Ok, well, I want to try anyway because he will appreciate it. Then at the end we have arranged a place to meet and I get a text when he crosses the finish line just in case we miss it.”
“And she said you simply have to work out a meeting place before the day because on the day all those people will be using their mobiles at the same time and it is like New Year’s Eve, the transmitter cannot cope so no one can get through. You need to make a point to meet him and they have these letter meeting points where perhaps you should make arrangements to meet but do it before the day because there will be no phones.”
“Yes Mum, I know where we will be meeting him afterwards and when to set off.”
That went on like that for another 10 minutes.
Then we got onto discussions about prams. After a lecture about buying the expensive pram yet again (let’s make that once a month for the past 20 months since I bought it), I said that I wasn’t taking it with us.
“Well where will he sleep?” asked my Mum.
“In the sling.”
“In the sling?”
“Yes, he prefers the sling and walking now.”
“Well you need to be careful because it only takes a second for him to run out into the road or for someone to snatch him while you are not looking and you do not want to take a chance with something so precious. You only get one chance, you do not want to take a chance when it could take a millisecond for him to just get run over or anything. You need to get reins for him or else anything could happen.”
“Mum, do you really think I am a careless Mother who does not look after my son properly and puts him at unnecessary risk?”
“I’m not saying that, I am just saying that you need to take care because anything could happen and you need to be aware.”
On and on it went. I think my favourite moment was when she had picked out a place for us to live in Yorkshire, renting off my cousin.
“oh and it had a play room, perfect for childminding.”
“Bit of a commute for the husband though.”
“Yes well he will have to get a new job.”
“bit of a commute for me too.”
I genuinely think that at the end of the conversation she believed she had found us the ideal home to move into when we leave here in around a month’s time.