Wednesday, June 22, 2005

How hot??

It’s hot. Too damn hot. I recall writing a post not so long ago about light dustings of snow disrupting the trains and closing the school down. And now the sun is cracking the flags and there isn’t a woman in London who isn’t wearing a vest top for work. Where does the time go? If this was a musical blog, I’d be inclined to break into a rendition of ‘Is this the little girl I carried’.

Actually, I don’t mind the sun. Or the vest tops. The only summer fashion I really can’t stand are the flip-flops. When did flip-flops become everyday wear? When I was young (get me! how grumpy-old-man do I sound? I blame the heat) but when I was young, flip flops were for the beach. Now, you see women (and the odd fella – Australians, probably) on their way to work wearing linen power suits and flip-flops. My office is full of women wearing them. Am I the only one that thinks this is inappropriate dress for the work place? Not only do they make the slimmest ankle look fat (check out this week’s Heat magazine. Kate Moss – size 8 – looks like she’s been struck down with elephantitis) but they make the most irritating click-clacking noise with every step. If you close your eyes, it sounds like someone chewing gum, very loudly, right into your ear. My desk at work is on route the kitchen and all day my colleagues walk past on their way to make cups of tea. And I sit by my computer with the click-clacking tip-tapping going by all day. How am I supposed to concentrate on surfing the net with that racket going on?

Maybe it’s the heat that’s making me grumpy. I doubt anyone in London has slept properly since the temperature soared. Scrappino finds it unbearable. He’s taken to walking round the flat wearing nothing but his pants. Typical man. The trouble is, his pants are bright red and running around the flat dressed like that he looks like a blonde Mowgli out of the Jungle Book. I expect him to start singing and doing that ‘oobi doo – I wanna be like you-oo-oo’ dance.

Of course, I should have known there would be a heat wave this week, as it’s Scrappino’s first week back at school after half term. Most schools were off a couple of week’s back, but as Passover was late this year all his school holidays were postponed. Passover wasn’t really late. It’s the same date every year. But you know what I mean. And whatever the reason, Scrappino’s now back at school and to ease him and his friends gently back into his final term, the powers that be decided to send a 30 degree heat wave. Lovely. As if going back to school after a holiday isn’t torture enough.

Scrappino doesn’t exactly make it easy for himself. I try to teach him basic skills in forward planning, but he hasn’t quite mastered it yet. After a whole week off, he remembered at 9.30 on Sunday night that he had some spellings to learn. So I put the TV on mute, turned on the subtitles and tested him on his list of compound-nouns while I watched Big Brother Update with one eye on the screen. After making sure he knew them well enough to pass the test I sent him back to bed. Half an hour later, he’s up again. He forgot to write his holiday diary. The teacher had asked the children to write two sentences every day about what they were doing on holiday. Two sentences every 24 hours sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Fourteen sentences, hastily scribbled at ten past ten on a Sunday night is slightly more difficult. We tried to keep it accurate, but Scrappino couldn’t quite remember what he’d done. In the end we just made it up. But the teacher will think I’m a great mother. It turns out that during half-term Scrappino went on two museum trips, made paper mache models of trains, updated his stamp album, read three Biggles books from cover to cover and wrote a postcard to a pen-pal in France. This year’s Parent of the Year award goes to…

I have to admit that Scrappino’s ability to plan ahead is pretty much matched by my own. Monday morning we both woke up late. The heat. Obviously. Scrappino tries to find his uniform and I remember that I’d washed it the previous night but forgot to hang it out to dry. So he has to make do with a slightly damp uniform for his first day back. Well, it’ll help him to keep cool, I tell him. I then go to make his lunch and discover that his lunch box has not been emptied. And it was last used before the half term holiday. Lovely. Have you ever wondered what a 10-day old peanut butter sandwich looks like? Or a spilled Scooby Doo yogurt, left to fester in a hot plastic container? Not the best way to ease yourself into the week. It was a revolting mess, but somebody had to clean it. And that lucky somebody was P’s cleaner, who’s still covering at my flat while P is away. As I said recently, worth every penny. Finally, we leave the flat, lunch in a plastic bag, school trousers nearly dry, homework completed (if dishonestly) and walk to school. Half way there Scrappino suddenly screams out “Swimming Kit!” and we have to head back again to find a towel (laundry basket), trunks (ditto) and goggles. Maybe that Parent of the Year award was a little premature?


Blogger timecharger said...

lovely. the 'every female office worker in london is wearing a vest top' bit is excellent. and I agree about the flip flop craze. skinnem all

5:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And. i. thought. i. was. unorganised.!!!

11:44 am  
Anonymous Baldricka said...

And I thought that the flip flop wearing trend was just over here!

1:23 pm  
Anonymous Baldricka said...

We thought of you and laughed a lot when someone walked into the house having come back from shul wearing the aforementioned footwear!!

8:39 pm  

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