The mood around here has been a rather somber one. They are sitting at either ends of the sofa. Some of the looks I am seeing as they accidentally cross eyesight, as if looks could kill. There was a bit of a skirmish in the kitchen last night! And they are now, avoiding each other like the plague. This situation has reminded me of a time in Goa, at the apartment I rented in Panaji, (in India) the states capital city. I had arrived there with two very small babies and Bharti, our Indian nanny. She had brought with her a woman named Geeta. It turned out that Geeta was in fact Bharti’s sons, wife’s mother. The apartment was two bedroomed and I had one room and Bharti and Geeta shared the second room with the twins, Tara and Amritsar. The babies slept on the top of the middle, of a double bed and the ladies either slept on both sides, or more often than not, on a folded duvet or a blanket on the hard concrete, tiled floor. Now sleeping on the floor in the U.K. seems rather strange, but in Indian terms, often a two bedroom apartment might sleep up to ten people. In fact, however many people the family might be. Unlike here in the U.K. there is not only the children to accommodate, but elderly parents maybe, a second set of in-laws possibly, grown children, grandchildren, you get the picture. A lot of people (and I’m talking about the middle class also here), people just get used to (at sometime or another), sleeping on the floor. It is accepted that the culture manages larger family units in this way! There is no care for the elderly outside of the family home. And in-laws, sometimes, must just coexist and get along as one big, happy family. Back to the memory of ‘The Falling Out’ then. I was just back from visiting my very good friend Kayla, who had also used the services of a surrogate in India, to carry her embryos to term. Her twins were born a day before the girls. Anyhow, I arrived in to what could only be described as an atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. I did my very best to try and avoid the situation diplomatically, but the two women were not acknowledging one another. They both looked extremely angry and stormed about the apartment in silence. Occasionally they were just looking into space, completely ignoring the other! Other time was spent in separate rooms, or one would be at one end of the living room and the other at the opposing end. The situation was socially dire, but both, quite independently continued to care for the twins, every now and then as required. Things continued in this manner throughout that evening and although I felt uncomfortable, I left it until the next day to broach Bharti on the matter. I asked if she was okay and that ‘This Situation’ had to come to an end. ‘Mr Andi’ she exclaimed ‘That woman will be leaving on the bus, to return to Mumbai the day after tomorrow, in the morning, very early’. I did not inquire at the time, as to what had brought about the situation, but later found out that it was to do with money, not an uncommon thing in India. Bharti went on to reassure me that her mother would be joining us in a couple of days and that I should also forget that I had ever met Geeta! Well, that was that. The mood continued for another day, Geeta disappeared into the ether and Bharti’s mother arrived on the bus – a journey of some twelve hours. I believe that Geeta had told Bharti that she (Bharti) should return to Mumbai and leave her (Geeta) to look after the girls. And for that Geeta wanted to take the lions share of the money. We were paying Bharti very well by Indian standards, forty pounds a day plus a smaller amount for Geeta. It seems that Geeta wanted it all. From what I believe, the two women have not spoken to this day. Bharti essentially asked her to leave the family home in Mumbai and the doors were firmly closed to any possible return. So back to today and last nights big ‘Falling Out’. I am of course referring to Remus and Gracie. Did you really think it could have been any of the children? The dogs were begging, as they do in the kitchen, after our roast pork dinner. I placed the meat roasting tin on the ground for them to share. I think Remus tried his luck and began to nudge Gracie away. She was having none of it, so she growled at him, barked, then snapped at him. Although he is the top dog, she sometimes tries to assert herself over him. And on this occasion, she was successful and Remus ran off, tail between legs. They have been either ignoring each other or sat at opposed ends of the sofa ever since. Very emotional creatures, dogs. But ‘Falling Out’ over the licks from the roasting pan, crazy! I am sure that they will cheer up soon and things will get back to normal. The same could not be said for Bharti and Geeta.
As you may realise, I do not generally do a running account of the day! Though on the trip down to East Devon last month, I chose to do that and I guess in hindsight, it was quite amusing. I just thought that I might do a run through of the last hour today for you. It’s all pretty normal stuff I guess. The dogs have been sporadically charging up and down the stairs, cheekily ‘cat napping’ on our bed. That’s naughty as they are no longer allowed on our bed, due to the amount of white hairs they leave behind and the ‘doggy smell’ is not so good. Thor was earlier shouting from the top floor. He wanted various people to go up and open the baby gate to their rooms. He would be released and the person would return downstairs without him. Then he would close the gate again and start shouting for somebody else to come and let him out. I really must read him ‘The boy who cried wolf’ again. That’s one of Aesop’s best. Anyhow, he is now downstairs watching ‘The magic school bus’ on Netflix and is watching contently. Whilst this was all going on, Caleb was just clinging to Daddy’s lap. It is an ongoing problem we deal with, let’s hope he will get less clingy in time (I blame the previous nanny for this). Now Tara and Amritsar have been shouting and screaming for thirty minutes, climbing on to the arm of the sofa (it’s a four person chesterfield) and running the full length of the sofa and jumping off at the other end. It looked like lots of fun and they laughed a lot. I’m sure if I was five years old I would have joined in. Aaliyah has been shadowing me and giggling, much as the dogs often do (but without the giggles)! Caleb has also been clinging to the balloon that I inflated for him earlier, going into meltdown every time it has fallen to the floor. Daddy and Dadda are tired of picking up and reuniting it to him at this point. For the last twenty minutes the girls and I have been playing piggy in the middle with Amritsar’s purple balloon. Again lots of laughs and screams. Tara prefers to be piggy it would seem. Oh! I have just heard Caleb stringing a good sentence together. ‘Daddy, pick up my blanket’? Actually it is my Schott fleecy hoody. Our game of piggy in the middle finally ended with Tara falling off of one of the sofas, backwards and crying. I heard no bump like the banging of her head, so no big drama. After a rub and a cuddle, she’s as right as rain and sat, like Thor besides the television watching ‘the magic school bus’. Caleb has just run into the kitchen and is tearing a piece of kitchen roll, it usually sits on top of the washing machine. It’s a black, hoover model with an incredibly sensitive touch sensor for ‘ON’. You just have to look at it or sneeze too closely and it just turns itself on. Then you spend five minutes trying to turn it off. Pain in butt, so it is. Caleb spoke up ‘Sorry Dadda’ and then continued with ”I get Aaliyah one too’. He is getting there, slowly but surely. Better start thinking about dinner for the children now. I’m not planning on the family roast tonight, but I might do one next week, in order to update you as to any improvements in our little diners table manners. So watch this space! On the subject of piggy, John and I are planning on Roast leg of Pork tonight with the last jar of last years apple sauce. This year I didn’t manage to preserve jars of plain apple sauce. The crop was poor and most of the apples we had from the our orchard I have used as my source of pectin in ‘Dadda’s Jammin’. A trade secret I am happy to share, none of my well set jams contain any shop purchased pectin (sorry Certo)! Okay dinner calls…
Well it is now late, the little ones are finally silent. And John has just fallen asleep. Some me time finally after lots of ‘pick up’ after my twenty four hours away. Hey, I know all children are a bit messy, but I have spent five years now ‘picking up’ the multitude of toys and scraps and mess, paper, stickers, you name if! I’m tired of ‘picking up’ everything. So the next time we have an open log fire, I feel compelled to use all the sticker books as kindling.
Now that my rant is over, I will remember my arrival home and the Christmas Fayre. Was is worth it? I don’t know, but I did sell thirty jars of that precious commodity, Dadda’s Jams. And the homemade candied fruits and pastilles went down a storm. The head mistress very kindly purchased three for a tenner, two of them being the rather boozy spiced Pear, raisin and rum, the last minute X rated Xmas Jam. Not to be squandered on the children please – and if eaten with chocolate, very likely to blow you away… did I say that ‘Jam is COOL’? Okay so turning over a hundred and twenty quid isn’t gonna make me a millionaire, but everyone loved the homemade sweets. The banner I had printed read, ‘Transcend Your Day’ and that’s what something like a home made jam can do…
The journey home from the school was a tad noisy. Thor in particular was voicing opinions on this and that, Caleb was chilled, Tara and Amritsar were singing loudly and Aaliyah remained fairly quiet. It was not until we debunked the car that we noticed her raffle prize pens had been silently marking pretty much every inch of skin on her body. Tomorrow’s bath will have to be a very long soak before sand blasting her to see if any of her original self remains. She looks more like the ‘Tattoo’d lady in a Victorian Circus. Oh dear, I too am feeling a bit tired! An early night I think. Finally a small recap on last night. Thank you guys for the reunion. You are all wonderful, so sending big hugs. Xx
Reunited with people we care about comes in all sorts of ways. I was going to use the past tense of ‘cared’ for, but I think the present tense of ‘care’ for is really more appropriate. I am missing John and the children today and as I awoke in my Marriott ‘comfy’ bed at the Marriott Royal in Bristol, it was just far too quiet for a Saturday morning. I binged on the full English Breakfast with a mountain of fresh fruit and several glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice. I am now sat on the train for my journey home. I am so happy that I could spend last night with friends from ‘back in the day’ at Vicky’s big birthday party. She looked great, a mum to four children herself. Though the three boys are grown up now, she also has a ‘little one’ (young daughter) herself. Going through it all for a second time, the sleepless nights, nappies and tantrums – I give her much credit for that! Also really nice was the fact that she had maintained such close friendships with those school friends from ‘Saint Ursula’s’ in Redland. Redland was the place where we all grew up. I personally went to Fairfield Grammar as St Ursula’s was an all girls school run by Sister Cecelia back then. But as I said, we were all good friends, essentially living in Redland, a suburb of Bristol. It was also lovely to see Ashling (AKA ASH) who is Vicky’s sister and also Clare, her other lovely sister. Okay it was a great night so, ‘Thank you all’ xxx. Another reunion was just had with my brother Brandon! We met this morning before I boarded my train. I love you man! We don’t see each other so often, so it’s always a pleasure to catch up. My other brother is Paul. He is married to Kylie and lives in Victoria in Australia. Just over a year since we last met up for their wedding at a small chapel on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef. A wedding that was long, long overdue. Love to all. Reunions… always worth a ‘follow up’ let’s not leave it too long until the next one guys (referring to all of you now)?
Back to my train journey home. Sindy (our nanny) is picking me up at the station and we are headed straight to the girls Christmas Fayre. John has all five children on his own today. I will no doubt hear the stories of this mornings breakfast time when I see them. Remember the stall I am manning? Sindy has very kindly set it up for me, so let’s get into the mindset now of Dadda’s Jams. I will let you know later how things go.