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Monday, 11 May 2009


Today E and I have been married for 19 years which must go to show that we mean it.

19 years has nothing of importance attached to it. The romantic listings on-line say firmly, in a Do Not Pass Go sort of way, that it has NO traditional materials or symbols or flowers attached to it. So that’s us told. But some more modern set-up, with an eye to a merchandising spin-off maybe, suggests Bronze, Topaz or Aquamarine. Perhaps these 3 sulked and got up a petition because they’re left out of the proper lists.
Whatever, I gave E a card I had knocking about, and he gave me one of a … cat we’d bought in readiness for F10’s Grade 1 piano exam. Think about it, how likely am I to be fond of cats? Exactly. He knows this; I know this; I feel mean for eye rolling; he feels worse for having lost the real card. I feel suddenly very mean indeed that there was a real card at all, lost or otherwise.
I’ll suggest that he keeps it, when found, for next year (but not in that fatal place, a safe place) for 20 years, the listings deign to admit, counts. China, apparently; dull, non? and not necessarily worth hanging around for.

Ever the romantic, my morning was spent in light chores: loos and basins and hoovering. Yum. Then, what next, what next? The washing? Oh, yes, pleasey. Up on the line it went, greedily snatched by a bossy wind, slapping a trouser leg in my face, the lot hopefully half way to Sweden by now. It recalled my wedding day when, with our slot booked at the Register Office for 2 pm, 1 pm found my father and I polishing the Jag. The caterers slouched by, “Looks like rain,” one said, thrilled, her tongue doing unspeakably smug things in her cheek.

Then, since the school is not allowed to administer that lethal narcotic, Calpol, I strolled up to dose F10 with it myself. We had to spend (say it quietly) £95 on an emergency dentist for him yesterday. The x-ray revealed an eye tooth jabbing at other roots. The bit where the inside, the skeleton, meets the outside, ie: teeth, freaks me out. It’s possibly been worse for poor F10 whose visceral screams of pain sanctioned the cheque writing. I'm horrid, but not that horrid.
The dentist furnished us with a bouncy blister pack of antibiotics, red and yellow, as jaunty as Willy Wonka sweeties. The blurb tells us sternly that the E-numbers can induce asthma, seemingly a legitimate by-product in pursuit of pill beauty. We’re also reminded that the capsules are not sweets, and must be kept from children. It’s all gone crazy.

I arrived in the playground just as F10’d been kicked hard on the shin by that nasty little sod who’s tormented him for years and years. They had to take it seriously with me hanging around although F10 growled gamely that it was an accident. Never in life, dear boy, deny the chance to bring a miscreant to book, fair or otherwise. The hooligan was scolded; I gave him a hard, blood-curdling glare, his sullen eyes meeting mine deadly from beneath his plasticky quiff. And then, joy of joys, on entering the office to “record the incident”, we found the headmaster lurking, so he had to say that he would have a word with the brute, too. An anniversary present indeed, quite to put the cat in the shade.

T12 was very surprised that F10 had planned to go into school at all. “Dead cert for a day off, that?” he thought. F10, being more of a studious bent, does not consider mere agony as obstacle to his learning.

Only lightly wounded himself, T12 had had last Thursday off, a day spent in deep hobble, with much gallant wincing, and then checking that all in a large radius had noted said wince and reacted accordingly. Preferably with chocolate, cushions, concern, and an earnest request that he run through the injury again, “Do tell, T12, and yes, please, start right at the very beginning.”

Brushes with medical authority are mercifully slim in our house and I hadn’t had to do a hospital run for 9 years. We arrived there at 8, a few minutes before it opened and despite being the only people there who weren’t staff, still had to endure an inexplicable wait while I overacted beneath the steady gaze of CCTV, a guilt-inducing beast if ever there was. The delay stemmed from malfunctioning equipment so in the end he couldn’t be x-rayed which was tantamount to tragedy.
Most displeased, T12 glanced around for hustle and bustle, admiring whispers; perhaps he might be made a case study of, for future generations to argue over. There was none of this. Just a sturdy lass, bolstered in stiff navy, who called me Mum and prodded and poked. Most miffed he was at being then despatched without much ceremony, having hoped openly for crutches, and silently for a wheelchair. He left his shoe at home (to increase limping opportunities and the need for Brave Faces) and, because it was raining at school on Friday, his poor classmates took it in turns to carry him. The saps.

It didn’t rain 19 years ago and it’s not raining now. Today’s triumph over the brute echoes my mother’s protectively sharp words with the caterers then. Time ticks on, the cast of characters morphs, but things remain largely the same. F10’s stoicism brings tears to my eyes; T12’s drama queenery, vying with his pout that the very limp he so adores meant that he was put in at no 11 in the cricket yesterday, makes me laugh like my father’s fantastic speech did way back then, cobbled together minutes before while he prowled the corridors in his socks, albeit not in search of crutches. 19 years might be mere bronze, topaz or aquamarine, it might have brought me but a photo of a bloody cat, but there’s asparagus and a bottle of bubbles in the fridge and things could be worse. Hoorah.


nuttycow said...


Just think, if you'd killed him 'stead of married him, you'd be free by now ;)

Pondside said...

Bubbly and asparagus - what else does one need?
Enjoy the rest of your (very interesting) day....perhaps you could just sit back with a glass of bubbly and a book for an hour or two.
Congratulations to both of you.

Exmoorjane said...

Big congratulations, the pair of you.....nothing as sad though as getting a card you have already seen and indeed had earmarked for another purpose...
Commis to the boys though on the various injuries and agonies - tooth pain truly revolting. As you know, we have a file a mile long at A&E so have become resigned, if not sanguine.
Happy day, dear hearts...

Anonymous said...

Oooh, nuttycow, thats vicious... us men are complex and misunderstood creatures. Don't be hatin', nuttycow, don't be hatin' ;)

Milla - Is asparagus really the way to go? Perhaps bubbly and a chicken vindaloo? Save the asparagus for your 20th.

Preseli Mags said...

I thought the cards were hilarious. B and I either do that or have a fit of guilt-induced mush and accidentally buy identical cards. Happy topaz wedding anniversary though. And big sympathy on the dental and other hospital emergency (although we didn't have to foot the bill for the dental stuff thankfully. It would have been all four limbs, not just arm and leg.) I hope both patients are better soon.

Carol and Chris said...

Happy 19th anniversary!!! It's our 4th one next week and already husband is making comments about not doing anything to celebrate this year because money's a bit tight (the cats in quarantine are costing us a bloody fortune) so look on the bright side....at least you got a card :-)

Enjoy your bubbly and asparagus

C x

lampworkbeader said...

Congratulations for so may things, the 19 years, the catching of young plastic quiff... but most of all for another very entertaining blog.

Edward said...

Sorry about the card, dear heart. My ancient rheumy eyes mistook the cat for a particular variety of dog, and had forgotten that we'd earmarked this for young F's upcoming pianistic triumph.

I'll try to make it up to you by not mentioning the coat...

Milla said...

mean! the coat was me not going to Lords!
thank you to all other kind commenters.
NC your idea seems suddenly sound, if not 19 years overdue,
Dave, you know that she's right, C&C buy a nice card NOW,
EJ, are you sure young J isn't on the At Risk register. They're like that hospitals.
LWB you are a noble soul
Pondie, a fine idea, and I think I've earnt the right to read some tripe
PM, still wincing at young R's tooth saga, not merely ow but OUCH!!

Maddie Grigg said...

Oh, deep joy, have a happy n..n..n..nineteenth. I nearly wrote nineTEETH there, Freudian slip.

Expat mum said...

Beat you by a couple of weeks! 19 years is a bit of nothing tho' isn't it? My mother was here and was alarmed we weren't that bothered about going out for a "special meal" or something. Perhaps next year.

Faith said...

Oh you'll never let me forget that I moaned about the length of one of your blogs Milla! 19 years, well done and I'd choose aquamarine if I ever get there. Three husbands mean that I've never got very far with wedding anniversaries. Congrats to you both.

Peterwf said...

Wow, 19 years well done.
I hope you enjoy your bottle of bubbles.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Happy anniversary - 19 years sounds pretty special to me, award yourselves topaz, bronze and aquamarine, you deserve them all. Best wishes.


Calico Kate said...

Every year should be marked in some way surely. Many congrats from up here anyway.
Poor boys all sounds sore and I hope is getting better.

Irish Eyes said...

Congrats Mill, obviously you have him totally under your spell - but lay off the asparagus, I hear it breaks spells!!!

What do you get for 29 years? apart that is from reading each others minds without having to speak to each other!

Anonymous said...

Wow - 19 years? I'm impressed! Maybe this should become the Asparagus Year?

blackbird said...

What a day you've had. And what a week- well make that What a wonderful and lively 19 years you've had.

The very best of wishes for many more and enjoy the bubbly.

Maybe you should set aside 19 bottles of bubbly to see you through the year?

ChrisH said...

Congratulations to you and E, well done, dear hearts.

Jeez, I thought you were very restrained the little b*stard who kicked F10 - I would have very tempted indeed to boot him all over the playground. (Hackles rising just thinking about it).

DJ Kirkby said...

Happy anniversary!

Maternal Tales said...

Ooh congrats - 19 years!! Who'd have thought hey?!! And tooth pain - yuck. Hubby is currently in a cold sweat with tooth pain lying on the bed upstairs. Obviously I feel for him, but I'm even more disappointed because we were due to get a takeaway curry tonight and tooth pain means we can't!! ;-((

Anonymous said...

Trusting you had a good day. Another six to go till the big one!

CJ xx

Carol and Chris said...

There is an award for you over at mine :-)

C x

KittyB said...

Bravo for 19 years - happy indeed.
Poor olf F, tooth pain and a kick on the shins. Could you not surreptitiously have nipped the little swine who did it - or perhaps grabbed him by the throat? Oik!

LittleBrownDog said...

Blimey, woman - whilst I dozed for a couple of minutes you've suddenly become a blogging machine of Exmoor proportions. Whatever is going on?

Tip top blog, by the way - so much to enjoy. China anniversary is of course a trip to China. Or perhaps Raffles in Singapore. And I'd definitely insist on the aquamarine/topaz/whatnot memento - nice ring or pendant perhaps. Don't let him off with his bronze Duke of Edinburg medallion. Well, not unless he's given it a good polish and given you permission to flog it on eBay.

Poor old sausage (F10). Sounds most unpleasant. Hope all is better soon.