People are wondering what happened to my punctuality. I used to be so good. I’d often turn up early for rehearsals and greet everyone with bananacake and coffee, be the first to arrive at parties and help the hosts put out pistachio nuts and canapés (erm … sofas?) and hide the best bottles in the cellar.
Now I’m ALWAYS late. Uncompromisingly late. There’s nothing I can do about it.
Yesterday evening for example, we were invited to a party. Tommy and I that is – L was due to arrive at the station around 10 p.m. so we were going to go to the party and then drive to the station. The party started at 7:30, it takes about twenty minutes to drive down to ye olde village of St Montan (so picturesque that in the summer you can’t drive through the village without backing up at least twenty times to let Belgian-crammed camping vans through) so I decided we would set off at seven, leaving us an extra ten minutes to park and walk all the way up the ooh-là-là si joli stone steps that run along the old castle battlement walls right up to the top where our lovely hostess lives. So we made some buttery biscuits (half of the mixture is still in Tommy’s hair), I dug out a good bottle of wine, we put some pretty clothes on and we were actually ready – hats, coats, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, just before seven. Tommy, who was the first to be bundled up against the cold, sat down with Baloo labrador on Baloo’s stinky blanket by the fire while waiting for me to mummify myself. He farted. He giggled. So did I. He farted again, more noisily this time and did his silly fake laugh which he does all the time at the moment. I laughed at him and so he pushed really hard to squeeze another trumpet out. Then his face changed from that of a cheeky monkey to one of a small chipmunk in trouble.
“What?” I said.
“Mummy, poo.” He squirmed. “Poo, Mummy – me do poo.”
“Really? You’ve really done a poo? Not just a fart?”
“No fart Mummy, Tommy do poo”.
And he was right. A little squidgy poo sat in his pants and I had to delicately prise them off over his socks and boots without getting everything pooed up. It’s a bit like those games with a bendy, wiggly wire and you have to journey a little hoop from A to B without it touching the wire for fear of it going BBBBZZZZZZZZ and/or a small island in the Maldives being blown up. I managed without any mess, cleaned up that little pink bottom, then wriggled another pair of pants and trousers back up over his boots, tucked all the bits in, rinsed out the first pair of pants and we were ready to go. Ten past seven. Fine. I picked up my bag with pyjamas, biscuits and bottle in, turned to switch out the lights and KLONK, smashed Tommy in the side of the head with the bottle end of the bag. I hadn’t seen he’d snuck out the door and was standing just behind me. He burst into tears. I don’t blame him, I’d really klonked him hard. So I scooped him into my arms and sunk into the sofa and we had a good fifteen minutes of cuddles and arnica granules and Tommy telling me the story of his tragic klonking over and over again.
“Mummy do bobo* to Tommy an’ me go a-boum an’ me eating arnica.”
“Yes honey, I know – are you okay now?’
“Mummy give arnica an’ me have a bobo an’ Mummy go a-boum Tommy.”
“I know sweetie. Silly Mummy. Right my little banana, are we ready to go to the party?”
“Tommy have a bobo an’ me eating arnica an’ me have a bobo a-boum.”
We ended up leaving at nearly half past seven. What with no parking spaces in St Montan and getting lost on the windy steps and Tommy wanting to have a pee off the battlements, by the time we got to the party it was gone eight. Not that it matters for a party. But seeing as we were due to pick L up at ten o’clock I had a rather condensed evening which meant I ate way too much way too fast and I was slightly manic.
And of course, we managed to arrive late at the station. In fact, we didn’t even arrive at the station – L had already walked a good couple of kilometres along the road trailing his suitcase behind him. That set the week-end off to a good start.
Lesson 1: Never arrive late for an exhausted man who’s just done a show, taken the set and lighting rig down and travelled 6 hours on trains and coaches, unless you want your driving to be criticised as a running commentary all the way home.
*Bobo : masculine noun (familiar) baby talk meaning any bruise, scratch, ache or pain – ie. a hurty thing. It’s a very simple, useful word and I wonder why there isn’t an equivalent in English.
(Oh – it also means ‘Bohème-Bourgeois’ denoting people who have a bohemian, alternative lifestyle (buy organic food, have their kids go to Montessorri schools, do yoga with candles on) and yet are loaded with cash. I’m the former but not the latter so I suppose I’m just a simple ‘Bo’. )