I’ve been a lucky girl this week. It’s been half term, school’s been out, and the hum-drum has been replaced with a chance for a bit of fun.
Not that sitting behind lorry after lorry on the A17, heading to Manchester is fun. Average speed to Manchester: 37mph. Child-related vomiting incidents: 2.
But it meant that I got to lounge in various pools and steam rooms with my sister at a country club spa. If Richard Herring’s mate is right and heaven turns out to be a personalised version of what you would like it to be then mine will definitely include a bubbly outdoor infinity pool and heated sun loungers. It’s rather a shame that I’m an atheist so if Richard Herring’s mate is right I also won’t actually get to go there.
Still, I got to indulge in my heaven for six hours. Oh so many ways to get wet. Indoor pool, outdoor pool, jacuzzi, outdoor jacuzzi infinity pool, pools with fountains, water jets, showers, and room after room of steam. And to dry off, the option of sitting in a fluffy robe on the heated loungers or popping in the sauna. What hardships!
Add to that some fun with mud, a massage that had my shoulders clicking quite alarmingly, but felt marvellous and a most delicious lunch with champagne. So indulgent. I didn’t miss the kids for a second.
Sadly we had to hand the fluffy robes back and step away from the bubbling water. But we felt refreshed and revitalised, with skin silky and glowing.
Unfortunately the tension soon crept back. Actually, not so much crept as leapt on my back like a panther released from a very small cage. I had to be back home on time the next day to catch the train to Cambridge with Husband to see Richard Herring and his We’re All Going To Die comedy tour. Not ideal then to leave later than planned and then sit in a traffic jam. Also not ideal to have the windscreen wiper blades come loose whilst crossing the Pennines in the rain. Noodles napped through lunchtime and then we seemed too close to home to consider stopping. Except the A17 is a tease, East Anglia’s personal Bermuda Triangle. At one point you’re told King’s Lynn is 60 miles away, four miles down the road you still have 58 miles to go. When you’ve got a bored child and a grizzly toddler in the back and a deadline and a queue of HGVs ahead as far as the eye can see (and across the Fens that’s some distance) it’s enough to break the soul. I could feel knots of tension returning.
On a good day you can do Manchester to King’s Lynn in 3 hours. It wasn’t a good day. We did it in four.
We pulled down the street. No parking spaces. I pulled into the double yellow lines, unloaded the kids and my dad. Then the luggage. Backwards and forwards to the house. One suitcase, one holdall, one bag of toys, another of snacks, a massive bag of bedding, the buggy. The buggy wouldn’t unfold. I tried calm, trying rationally to work out what was catching. It didn’t work. I tried just shaking it. Not budging.
Then, a miracle. Not with the buggy, that was still stuck tight, but a space in the street! I bundled the buggy back in the car and headed off around the one-way system. Red light. Red light. Red light. Please still be a space. Please still be a space. Please still be a space. More shoulder knots returned. The space was still there, but the damage was done. I was as tense as I was before my day of luxury. Only it now seemed worse as utter bliss was such a short time ago.
It was Bedlam in the house too. Apparently it had been decided in my absence that Husband’s mate would arrive to plaster our dining area. There were excess chairs all over the lounge. And in the middle of it a midwife weighing the baby.
No time for niceties though. I had an hour until the train and a family to feed. And as it wouldn’t ever occur to Husband to get any food in, a trip to the shop was needed too. No time to pander to the faddiness of individuals, dinner had to be fast and unfussy. Eggs, bacon and chips all round. A new DVD for Boo to off-set being babysat. ‘Ooh, it’s just like being at the cinema,’ she declared, eating her food from her lap. At which cinema do you get a cooked breakfast?! I might try to smuggle a bacon sandwich into the next film I go to see to find out if it really works better than popcorn as an in-flight snack.
Randomly, whilst I was cooking, my aunt popped by. My aunt never pops by. Normally it would be a pleasure and a joy. This time it meant I didn’t get time to change or do my hair or get ready to go out in any way shape or form. A rare night out with Husband and instead of looking gorgeous and glamorous after my day of pampering I smelt of bacon and had chocolate smudges courtesy of Noodles on my top. It was a good job we were going to sit in a darkened room.
Richard Herring was a joy. I shall never be able to contemplate Hamlet’s soliloquy with such solemnity again: ‘You want to know about death’s dreams and what happens in the after-life, Hamlet, why not ask your dad? He’s been hanging around as a ghost for the past fortnight after all.’
But I do feel as though I could do with another dip in some bubbly water. It’s Mother’s Day next month. I don’t suppose another spa voucher could turn up with my card, please? Although preferably with less of a trek and someone to deal with the demands of real-life afterwards. Just so that feeling of bliss can last for longer than five minutes next time.