What a Country Life!

GCSE Revision Evening with elder son. Seems barely five minutes since was attending GCSE Revision Evening with daughter, and heart rather sinks at prospect of undertaking any more Joint and Interactive Revision Activity Tasks in company of other Family Units who all seem to complete required exercises very keenly and without heated arguments under their breath about correct approach to Mind Maps. Fortunately find ourselves amongst like-minded group of son’s friends and their mothers, and have surprisingly enjoyable time; agree that teachers’ recommended methods are probably preferable to own well-remembered exam preparation techniques of procrastination and Vague Reading Without Really Taking Anything In.

To village hall last night for players’ performance of One Man, Two Guvnors. Play much as I remember it from universally acclaimed and sell-out London run, sadly, but manage plenty of genuine laughs thanks to spirited contributions from friend, son’s friend (who has best lines, almost all unsuitably Risqué), and enjoyably unstable scenery.

Spend morning feeling unusually but pleasantly like Banksy as I plaster village with posters to advertise fast-approaching Horticultural Association Quiz Evening.

Aspire, believe, create

In burst of new-term enthusiasm, decide to tackle Paperwork, and draw up Family Budget for year; hope that have overlooked hidden source of income and rifle through old files in hopes of finding some long-forgotten Post Office book. Spend  happy afternoon tearing up payslips from last millennium and correspondence about taking maternity leave in 2000.

Manage brief discussions with children about schoolwork.   Elder son already complaining about Mark Schemes, and suspect that own enthusiasm for To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men may not survive another GCSE course.

All watch Educating The East End.  Am currently planning to be exactly like Ms Hillman.


Town mouse and country mouse

Off to London for retirement party of former colleague. Perhaps in unconscious homage to past commuter life, find self dozing off in warm train, but am roused by hearing one man tell friend about promise to reward daughter for GCSE success, with £100 for every A*, £75 for every A and £50 for every B, making predicted total of over £700.  See no reason to relay this conversation to own daughter.

In further echo of past, journey delayed by Signalling Problems In London Area, but eventually arrive and make way along South Bank thronged with Friday evening crowds. London looking particularly appealing, and feel very happy to be amongst old friends drinking beer by the river; but general consensus that office life is Not Like It Used To Be, and  that I am Very Lucky to spend my days gardening and walking the dog instead. Make half-hearted attempt to suggest there is a little bit more to my life than that, but soon give up and agree, truthfully, that am Very Lucky Indeed.

Keep in the sunlight

Daughter tells me she is Worrying – about a) GCSEs (completed papers); b) GCSEs (forthcoming papers); c) School Prom; and d) Life – and that she does not want to Take The Dog For A Walk or Have A Nice Long Bath  (Query: are my suggestions for reducing stress really so predictable? Answer: sadly, yes). Feel unable to offer any particular Words Of Comfort on a), b) or c), as only stopped having anxiety dreams about school exams when about thirty, and still shudder at memory of own Sixth Form Disco; but take coffee into garden and have good conversation about Life.

Suspect that own worries have expanded to fill vacuum left by work, and am beginning to get unnecessarily anxious about looming Village Fete and Horticultural Association stall, as appear to be only committee member not on holiday or having operation on relevant day.  Huge relief as kind friend offers to help put up gazebo;  then someone else e-mails to say she will bring baskets of flowers; and Hon Treasurer rings to say he has lots of spare plants in greenhouse and would it be all right if he drops them round tomorrow. Feel that this all demonstrates important message about Life, which am keen to share with daughter – but she is out taking the dog for a walk.

Shared experience

Cannot say that am excited by today’s European Elections, but remember the Pankhursts and head dutifully to polling station at village hall. After nearly three decades of voting still worry that will misread instructions and Spoil My Ballot Paper; but feel real frisson of excitement as finally Cast My Vote. Walk home with village electrician and discuss Alzheimer’s, Prince Charles and wish that current politicians were more Inspiring.

Delighted that daughter now has no more GCSEs until after half-term; have found whole experience quite exhausting (and she seems quite tired too).

Corridor of uncertainty

Son has first home cricket match of season; torn between wish to support him and fear that presence will somehow jinx whole thing (can only really enjoy watching sons play cricket if they are not batting, or bowling – and preferably not fielding either). Complete various household tasks that have become suddenly pressing, and eventually head to cricket field; spend remainder of match talking earnestly to various people in pavilion. One young parent confides that he is finding his two year old son A Handful; feel that should offer useful and reassuring advice based on own child-rearing experience, but have to confess that children’s early years are all A Bit Of A Blur, and rather feebly suggest Lots Of Walks.

Daughter’s GCSEs start tomorrow. Relief at finally managing to locate piece of paper telling her where to go for each exam gives rise to welcome (though quite possibly groundless) feeling that It Will All Be All Right.