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Thursday, 26 January 2012


I bumped into Mrs Lovely.
“Apparently, I’m Uber Bitch from Hell today,” she said. “I’d even rather be out here, with Muffin in the rain,” (she indicated erstwhile perfect hair and both of us avoided taking in Muffin who was busy dry humping this footstool of a dog he favours for stress relief). “They all hate me.”
“More than usual?” I asked.
“I’ve lost the router.”

Modern parenting requires that we let our children go on the internet, “for homework,” and onto games consoles, “because I’ve done my homework,” and then – often while crouched over our own phones scrolling and clicking and somewhat glassy-eyed – deplore the beast that electronics make of our offspring and crossly stride round the house confiscating remotes and controls and, in Mrs Lovely’s case of final defiance, the router.

“I put it somewhere safe,” she wailed. “I only wanted Lulu to do her homework but she wouldn’t get off Facebook.”
“Fatal,” I said. A Safe Place has cost us all dear, and I’ve seen scraps break out between random teens in the library over Facebook so resonance was there.
“And I’m just worried I’ve left it in TK Maxx. But that’d be Melanie’s fault.”

Melanie, good twin, it seemed had expressed a desire for heels.
“So I found some, £89 –”
“£89!!” I squealed, “Are you MAD!”
“Reduced … to … £7!” finished Mrs Lovely triumphantly. “They had a six inch heel and I, well I felt like Prince Charming with Cinderella’s slippers.”
“Jeez, six inches! Is she mad?” Some slutty old Cinderella, no wonder she took a tumble come pumpkin time.
“Not. High. Enough,” said Mrs Lovely.
We were both silenced.
“But I feel too tall for heels at 5’7”,” I said.
“Same here,” she said. “But, no, Melanie wanted 7. Or. 8. So I had to take them back and I’m just wondering about the bag, and the router, and would I have thought that that was a safe place?”

We pondered the tippytoey nonsense of heels of 8” and the folly of safe places which often have to be drummed up at speed and regretted later.
“How tall is she?” I asked.
“5’8”. And the boys are all … so high.” Her illustrative hand hovered around our waists. We had munchkin men and monster girls.
“And what about Lulu?” I asked, needing a quick fix of Lulu. It had been a while.
“Shaved hair,” she said, closing her eyes. “All round here, round the back, up the sides. Floppy bit. You can tell she hates it. But she won’t say a word.”

I thought of all the words we don’t say. And the ones we do. Usually the nonsense ones. Lives lived on a level of exchanging trivia and needing something to laugh at to take the edge off. And that sometimes we take an extra turn around the field, despite the rain and the mud and the dogs being vile just because it provides a beautiful void and is in itself a safe place.


Exmoorjane said...

Shit, you've made me cry.

But yes, oh yes...FB/games/crap...and where oh where is the safe place?


Word verif - throw...for what it's worth. And last night I dreamed I was driving you through Cheltenham looking for somewhere to park and you seemed very vague. And in the end I turned down a side street and said, with a flourish 'Ta da! Look at that...' and there was loads of room to park...the lawnmower. :)

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I love the internet; round here, I talk to squirrels and oak trees for those safe moments and interactions. If it were not for the meetings online, I'd turn into a bloody tree. I really do know so few people here; and for chance meetings with strangers, I go to Norwich.
Concerning heels, my daughter got herself some boots that make her push 6ft tall and make me feel like a midget.

Anita-Clare Field said...

Milla, you're back!
I loved this and it's all hugely true and the last paragraph so very moving and poignant. I have just returned from my safe place- talking with my beloved dinosaurs. xxx

Milla said...

thanks to you all. Yes, a little poignant. It's January. It happens! Will try not to let the drought be so long next time and I appreciate you saying nice things.

Jaxbee said...

Lovely, Milla, you got me all sentimental! My daughters' school's pushing for i-pads for every child DON'T get me started, and yes, it's very much a state school. The world has gone mad. Yes, they have their place, yes the internet has its place too but I just wonder what's going to happen when the internet's down at home (as it frequently is here), when their little eyes are bored of the screen, when teenage minds can click over to FB with the mere flick of a switch (school say they'll put in safeguards to make sure it doesn't happen, oh how we parents laughed), when word gets around that 11 year olds are carrying i-pads in their school bags with their uniform advertising clearly just what school they're from. Sorry, I did say, don't get me started.

Love the picture of the heels and the munchkin men.

Keep smiling!

Zoë said...

this makes me so glad mine are now adults

As for the safe place, when you find it, can I come too? xxxx

Chris Stovell said...

Great, some brightness on a dismal, January day. Now, let's have some more soon, please! (5'7"? Goodness, you don't look that tall in your avatar!)

Expat mum said...

Our school is actually trying out I-Pads for one grade in middle school (about 13 year olds). really. Mind you, there's about a PC for child anyway, so it's probably cheaper. However, they're allowed to take them home.....Im just wondering how many of them get left on school buses, in coffee shops and elsewhere. T'will be interesting.

mountainear said...

I'm very pro technology, think it's wonderful blah, blah, blah...and iPads are very moreish.

But. Big but, would really quite like to know more about the rationale behind them being a necessity for school children. And why super expensive, super sexy iPads which don't handle as far as I can see the most common word processing software and are very selective about which printer they work with. Are they being proposed as an alternative sort of library or something? Interesting.

Hope you find that safe place.

Milla said...

Again, thank you for commenting. Always lovely yo hear from people. What I love about The Field is the glimpses into each other's lives, the things that freak us out at home are rendered ridiculous and funny. And then we go home.

Fennie said...

Nice things, Milla - nice things! And a safe place. No Lolly this time I note. Where's Lolly? In a safe place? Maybe in TKMax? One router in, one dog out. Or maybe the router - en route (as it were) to a safe place - crashed into the dog. Dog has indigestion and router is - did you know how high the acid concentration is in a dog's stomach? You get the picture - which is more than the computer does (without the router). Poignant, too.

Frances said...

Milla, I can now think that we do have a fully Happy New Year! Please do not wait too long for that next post.

What you write about what is said and not said and still communicated really rings true with me.

I have old friends with whom a certain shorthand has grown over the decades. At the shop, in my various brief encounters with colleagues and customers, there is yet another version of what is said, not said, yet communicated. I must always be wary of waiting for a hint from the other person as to what might be conversable, and yet often am amazed that what sorts of connections are made.

What you've expressed really did strike a familiar tone. Even without a dog in sight. xo

SMS said...

A lovely post, and so true to life! S

Jake Barton said...

This comment also appears on previous blog post for reasons beyond the ken of a Luddite Grand Master like me. Having now given it its correct home, have decided to leave other comment in place. Two reasons 1) Am too dim to remove it 2) It contains nagging and this blogger needs as much as possible.

Okay, I know I nag you, but this exactly why I do it. I'm uncertain of the word I want to express my feelings of utter admiration. They all seem far too inadequate. I love this blog, adore the blogger to the extent of previously mentioned missing word and beyond.
One day, you will get it into, sadly dense on this topic if no other, skull what a wonderfully evocative writer you are. I yearn for more. The relentless maw of devoted appreciation is never sated. *sorry, pretentious, not to say unworthy sentence there*
Observational writing transcends mere description when it's in your hands. You make me laugh, make me catch my breath, leave me whimpering on the mat like a dog; sometimes all in the same piece.
For anyone unsure by now, I'm a massive fan of this richly talented woman and shall not cease from cajoling until she sets herself upon her true calling: the entertainment and education of a mass market.
With humble gratitude for allowing me the opportunity to read more of my favourite blog.
NB. Not a word of the above is OTT. I may be a frivolous and fickle creature, but on this topic I am resolutely constant.
Unable to sign in properly from this beach bar, so may be forced to be anonymous.
That being the case
jake Barton (Fan)

Edward said...

What Jake said x 1,000,000

Irish Eyes said...

Right on target, as always Milla, loved it. FB [don't get me started] and T K Maxx, well, T~K is my joyride, and they have one not too far away from here!!!!!

Good to see you back.

elizabethm said...

What Jake said again. Just do it for Christ's sake. Just write something every day for a week for a start. Please.

Pondside said...

Love it - how did I miss this? It's soooo good.
I don't understand the need for the latest in every sort of technology - it's all supposed to be a tool not the the goal of education (isn't it?).

Carol said...

*groans* how many times have I put something 'In a safe place' only to then spend weeks and weeks hunting for it!! I once put christmas presents 'in a safe place' I found them in a cupboard two years later!

I think my safe place is my art...I can do what I want there :-)

Great to have you back lovely!

C x

Milla said...

thank you all so much for your comments, they cheer a person up.

Metropolitan Mum said...

That's not a very encouraging post to read for someone who is contemplating further procreation. Argh, darn, who cares, it can't really get that bad, can it?