Most of the time these days I keep a notebook to hand and every time I think of something I may want to write about in greater detail I jot down a little reminder. This habit stems back a few years to when I used to think I had my most genius ideas in the middle of the night, so kept a pen and paper by the bed to record them. I was somewhat abruptly disabused of this notion one morning when I read the notes I had made during the night when disturbed from slumber. The first one read “Property development idea: buy fire station and convert into house. The town doesn’t have a serial arsonist living here so can do without fire station”. At some point during the night I must have woken up after pondering it in my sleep a little more because the next note read “Scrap the fire station idea – couldn’t climb up a pole after a night in the Rose & Crown”.
Obviously I was thinking along the right lines though, for some years later somebody bought the Rose & Crown, knocked it down and built houses in its place. I don’t live in one of them though and I can’t get a pint at the fire station, although I am sure they will have a pool table there – we still have no serial arsonist living here so they must do something to while away the time.
Despite having a near photographic memory when I was younger, the ravages of age and an unspecified quantity of alcohol over a number of years has left it with “QUALITY CONTROL” stickers plastered all over it like the pictures I used to send off to Truprint did. So I’m back to my note-making habits.
Most of them I write about within a few days and I scribble them out as I expand upon them here, but some get left hanging because they don’t fit in with whatever I am rambling about at any particular moment, to be used at a later date. Other notes just baffle me as to why I ever wrote them in the first place. I am looking at one now, which simply reads “Balls – Hungry Hippos”. I haven’t a clue. Flicking back a couple of pages further still, I have one that says “Looked at me like I’d shat in her Cocopops”. I don’t know who the “her” was to whom I refer, or why she was giving me such a look, but it was obviously important enough to scribble down, so maybe one day it will come to me. Or one night – things tend to come back to me in the small hours of the night, so if I keep my notebook to hand the mystery might get solved if I connect the two events.
Of course, Facebook can help with its “Memories” and “On This Day…” features. I often look through my history using these functions but rarely share them as it is a way of boring all of your friends all over again with the same baby pictures that you took a year ago that they weren’t all that impressed with first time around. The old, pre-parent-me used to be of the opinion that all new born babies were actually pretty ugly. And then our two were born and of course ours were the cutest, most beautiful babies ever to have graced this earth. Facebook’s handy look back element allows me to see that I may have got a little ahead of myself and that even Henry and Arthur, as new-borns, on reflection might have been slightly awkward looking and not quite as cute as I remember them. They were still pretty damn fine looking though, even though I do say it myself. And of course, like me, they get better looking with every passing day.
One entry in my journal that I do remember what it was all about was one that simply reads “International flights”. I went into great detail last year about our summer holiday. It was challenging to say the least. It was also in the Lake District in August, so it was more holiday than summer. Even our last foreign holiday was in Iceland rather than somewhere hot. So we are overdue for some summer sun. Well overdue actually, because the last time, no, the last two times we went on holiday to somewhere supposedly hot, it rained. The first time was Ibiza and despite them not having rain for months prior to our arrival, it started raining within half an hour of picking up a hire car. The second time was the Algarve, and again, no sooner had we picked up a hire car then it started raining. Not to be perturbed though, we want to go somewhere hot again.
Mrs Aitchworld’s sister and her husband live in America, have three children between the ages of 6 months and five years old and they think nothing of jumping on a plane to come over to the UK. I can’t think of anything more daunting, but it is possibly the only way of getting somewhere hot, but how we are supposed to get everything we need over to where we need it, I have no idea. The other option is somewhere like France and taking a ferry over there. The only difference between that and a holiday in the UK, other than the weather, is that a route will have to be carefully planned and it will probably mean many stops along the way to keep the boys happy and content, and setting off a week before we need to actually get to our destination, but it is an option and one we are seriously considering. And given that we would take one of our own cars, it would mean that hopefully the curse of the hire car won’t reign (or rain) over us this time.
Back to the notes, there are various entries about teeth in the book. This may sound stupid, but it was only after both boys had cut about four teeth each that it suddenly occurred to me that we should, perhaps, be cleaning them somehow. It struck me that this might be quite difficult to do. And I was right – not since we had to put one of the cats into a miniature T Shirt (for medical reasons – long story) have we had this much of a struggle to achieve something that should be really quite simple. I have heard that crocodiles, once they snap their mouths shut, can be incredibly difficult to coax them into opening them again, and brute force just isn’t enough to cut the mustard. Well, both Arthur and Henry must be genetically related to crocodiles in this respect because no amount of coercion, gentle persuasion or bribery will open their mouths in the presence of a toothbrush if they take it upon themselves to object to a quick toothbrushing.
One note I have made simply reads “Pearl & Dean”. In the early hours of the morning I was reminded of how this particular entry came about. Henry is in the habit, when the sun rises but before we do, of waking up and lying in his cot chattering away happily to himself. Obviously he is too young to form coherent words of any meaning, so instead just makes repetitive noises. It is impossible to write these down, but despite this my attempt at doing so is “Babababababababababa Ba Ba Babababababa Ba Ba…” The only way I can describe it is a tuneless soliloquy of the tune that those cinema advertising giants, Pearl & Dean, utilised in days gone by.
That pretty much brings me up to date and all entries in the notebook ticked off. Except one last one, which I was about to leave and write about at a later date, but events tonight brought it to the fore. I work away quite a bit and when I do I miss the boys. Mrs Aitchworld has tried on numerous occasions to utilise the Facetime function on our devices, but the boys just don’t get it. They just try to grab the phone or the iPad and stuff it in their mouths, not giving a shiny shit that daddy is on the other end of it. Until tonight. Tonight they got it. Tonight Arthur looked at me on the screen of Mrs Aitchworld’s phone and grinned the grin of a cat from Cheshire. Somewhat appropriate, given that’s where we live. At first I thought it was just a fluke, but started to play a game of peekaboo, angling my phone away from me so that I was out of shot, then angling it back again and proclaiming “boo”. This elicited giggles from Arthur. Then the phone was handed to Henry, who also grinned at me and then laughed like a drain when I disappeared and then re-appeared on the screen.
Sometimes, life on the road is good. After a run of nights of disturbed sleep through illness or teething, the odd night on my own in a hotel where I get a night of unbroken sleep, it is great. Other times, like tonight, it sucks.