I have recently discovered Iceland.
It is tremendous. It is filled with food (I would like now to dispel any preconceived notions of nominal determinism and tell you that it sells both fresh and frozen produce) and it is exceptionally cheap. It is perhaps not the food I would feed my children, but that is more because I do not see ‘feeding’ as being part of my parental repertoire. I imagine myself as more of a go-to-Mother for the Sport’s Day Mother’s Race, or lessons in dazzling put-downs and unforgettable quips. The whole ‘bringing the child up’ thing sounds much, much less fun. I will generously leave that to my husband.
Anyway, at the moment all of this is a moot point, mostly because my sister remains unconvinced anyone would want to procreate with me. (My sister is a doctor now, which has changed nothing, except for the fact that she makes spurious pronouncements with a greater air of authority, and is listened to by our parents. Oh, she is also coming soon to a hospital near you. Possibly. That one really depends on where you live). The fact remains, however, with or without my little sister’s annoyingness, that I was in Iceland alone.
There were other people in Iceland, but they were not with me. Iceland is filled with a variety of people, though I am yet to spot Kerry Katona.
I asked the checkout boy about this as I filled out my Iceland bonus card. ‘You can buy this rum for £12,’ He told me in reply. Which is as sensible an answer as any, I suppose. Or at least as sensible a reply one will find in Iceland, which must be why mums go there.
I have started watching ‘Call the Midwife’.
(Yes, I am aware it is long gone from TV, but it’s on my Sky+ box and there was nothing on TV last night. Well, if I’m being strictly, painfully accurate there was lots on TV, but I had seen the ‘Friends’ re-runs 40,000 times and I don’t really care about ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, and it was 9.15pm, so I had missed irreplaceable moments of CSI:Miami.)
‘Call the Midwife’ and I didn’t get off to the best of starts. ‘There’s something wrong with the brightness setting,’ I muttered to myself, as Jessica Raine cycled into a catfight. I fiddled about with the TV remote to no avail. By the time I looked up, Jessica (who is either the main character or a pushy extra who has the means to pay for her own hair and make-up artist) was eating cake with an elderly nun. ‘Brilliant,’ I thought happily. ‘I have long wondered what happened to those Nazi-fighting nuns in ‘The Sound of Music’.
I am so pleased they have re-settled in East London. I wonder what type of cake that is. It looks lovely and moist.’ I wondered briefly if I should pause ‘Call the Midwife’ and bake myself a cake.
I’m glad I didn’t, because fairly soon after this a lady gave birth. Here are the things I once knew about giving birth:
1. It wreaks havoc on your undercarriage
2. It is imperative to get an epidural
3. It is possible to hold your husband’s hand so hard it breaks.
I have always thought I was pretty prepared for the whole thing. Here is what I now know about giving birth:
1. It wreaks havoc on everything
2. It is imperative to boil water. I have no idea why.
3. It is possibly the worst idea imaginable to let any man you wish to find you attractive anywhere near the labour room.
I was pitifully grateful for the low-lighting that the director has obviously decided is ‘atmospheric’.
‘Call the Midwife’ seems to be excellent (I have only watched the first episode, and am painfully aware of other TV series that tricked me into following them to dire second seasons). I would encourage all cake-eating to be done before watching, however.
There are many infuriating things about my therapist, but the worst one is how little she talks about herself. Usually, I just fill in the gaps myself. ‘I’m going away,’ She tells me. ‘So let’s see each other before I do.’ I pop along for a very helpful session.
‘Where are you going?’ I ask her. ‘I don’t actually know,’ She tells me. ‘My husband has organized a surprise trip.’ ‘Hmm,’ I reply thoughtfully. ‘Probably Eastbourne.’
My therapist stares at me. (She does this a lot, but this is a particularly startled stare). ‘I don’t think it’s Eastbourne,’ She replies slowly. ‘I’m pretty sure it is,’ I tell her kindly. ‘Eastbourne is lovely. A bit cold, but lovely.’ I can tell from the look of horror on my therapist’s face that I have not yet convinced her of Eastbourne’s charms.
‘You can go for long bracing walks on the sea,’ I explain. ‘And they have mini-golf. And it rains a lot.’ ‘I haven’t been on holiday for a while,’ My therapist begins. ‘I’m pretty sure my husband knows I would like to see some sunshine.’ ‘There is a small possibility of sunshine in Eastbourne!’ I reassure her happily. ‘At least for a few hours.’ Later my therapist emails to confirm our next appointment. ‘Great,’ I email back. ‘Enjoy Eastbourne!’ I feel that we have made a real break-through. I imagine in the future my therapist will be much keener to talk about her personal life with me.