Month: July 2017

Is 3 my magical number? Or is it a load of dangly bits?

This is a weird thought I’ve had for a while, for at least three months. It might be my imagination, or it might be real, but it feels as if the number ‘3’ is important in my life. Here is why:

Firstly, I am the third of three children so three was an important dynamic to me growing up.

Me and my two siblings

Secondly, most of my important friendships have been as a threesome rather than a twosome or foursome (or five-, six-, sevensome).

Thirdly, the houses I have lived at have been the following:

  • 18 (1 + 8 = 9 and 9/3 = 3)
  • 134 (3 of course, and 4 – 1 = 3)
  • 7 (see below)
  • 4 (take 7 from 4 and you get 3)
  • Then I lived in Amsterdam and I lived on the 9th floor (9 / 3 = 3)
  • Then Japan – Japan is a country pregnant with number significance so there lots of 3s in Japan
  • 2 (well, there has to be one exception I suppose)
  • 18 (see first house)
  • Blenheim Cottage (no house number – but the postcode was OX7 3SJ – there’s a 3 there and the house had three stories)
  • 24 (the number 3 comes between these two numbers)
  • 33 (no explanation needed)
  • 21 (2 + 1 = 3)

Blenheim Cottage – a three story house.

Fourthly, I have three children so that three dynamic continues in my life.

My three boys

Fifthly, I would describe myself as juggling three things: family, work, art.

Sixthly, I have three parents: a mum, dad and step-mum.

Seventhly, my birthday is 25th (5 – 2 = 3) of the 12th (1 + 2 = 3) in the year 1971 (1 + 9 + 7 + 1 = 18 / 6 = 3).

My birthday tree

Eighthly, I have lived in three countries: the UK, the Netherlands, Japan.

My favourite Japanese cat

Ninethly and finally as nine reasons is divisible by three, as I write this I am 45 years old, 4 + 5 = 9 / 3 = 3.


And as a final thought, I’ve finished writing this blog at 3.33pm!

Time is a messy scribble

This is a weird thought I’ve been having a lot recently. I’ve been a fan of Marcel Proust for a few years now, ever since I first picked up a copy of his mighty Remembrance of Things Past and started to read (and yet to finish).

This man again?

Arguably the most profound narration from Proust’s huge tome, which is composed of a number of novels, is the description quite early on of what happens to the narrator’s sense of time when he tastes a madeleine. This moment of remembering has coined the term a ‘Proustian moment’, which refers to how a sound, sight, sound (music), smell, taste or happening can trigger a flash back of strong emotion to an earlier time.

Proust’s cake

Through his writing, Proust examined what is perceived, and also what is remembered, and the repeated and ever-present links between perception and memory.

This interests me because I find the idea that time is a linear yet intangible ‘something’ completely meaningless. Many people, it seems, see time as something invisible that they live in and they travel along, as if they are a dot travelling along a long line that stretches from birth to death. They accept it as natural and dependable as the air that they breathe.

Is time like this?

I don’t see time like that at all. Time disturbs me. I see time as a big cumulus cloud with me in the middle.

Time, if it were pretty

If time were a line and I had to draw it, it would look something like this.

My theory of time

Time often feels as if it is traveling at a constant, linear fashion. Yet, there will be a moment in time’s journey, when I’m in a building I’ve been in before, or smelling a smell of the past, or tasting a taste of my childhood, or thinking about someone who has long left my day-to-day existence and I will get what I can only describe as a time-carrying emotional wack in the stomach. It can be a good wack, or it can be a bad wack.

I also have these time-carrying emotional wacks when I am driving. In fact, I get them a lot when I am driving. I also get them at Zumba, when I’m trying to sleep, and when I’m waiting in a queue. So they are sometimes triggered by an external stimuli (a smell or taste) and sometimes triggered by a total lack of external stimuli (boredom). Time exists in the chaos and the void.

So it may be n number of years since an emotional event happened, good or bad, but I can be thrust back to that event just as suddenly and unpredictably as I can not be thrust back to it. The idea that time heals, is utter rubbish. Why? Because time is a cloud, it isn’t linear. It doesn’t just have speed and direction. It has position as well. Perhaps the physicists need to step in at this point and make the observation that they have made many times before that you can either examine the velocity of a particle or it’s position but not both.

This theory is called the Uncertainty Principle. I therefore propose that we create an Uncertainty of Time Principle as well. Time is like a particle. We can see the position of time in our minds, or the velocity it is travelling at (with us along with it), but we can’t see both together.

If I could control my emotions and prevent the lack of or all-encompassing stimuli to the senses, then time would be predictable. But I can’t and it isn’t. So I have to accept that this is how time is. Time is woolly. It can’t be measured.

There’s no point fighting or seeking the emotional wacks, they will come when time wills.

Jayden K. Smith – who are you?

Last night I received a number of messages such as the below. This was a hoax. There are a lot of news items about this hoax. Lots of other people received this message.

One of many messages I received last night.

So today I decided to try to imagine who Jayden K. Smith might be. Why? Because I don’t have enough work to do at the moment and it’s fun. Is he real? Nobody knows. He is to me though.

This is what I have come up with.

He’s 23 years old. He lives in a small provisional town in the West Midlands. He has two younger brothers. They are called Simon and Adrian. He’s white. He’s 5’8″ tall. He’s not hugely tall compared to his contemporaries but he’s happy with that. He’s tall enough, he thinks. He doesn’t like to stand out in the crowd.

He still suffers a little from acne. He had very bad acne as a teenager so it isn’t as bad as it was. He has wispy blonde hair, it is short. He has a bit of a fringe though. His face sports a largish nose, big lips, and a light beard (its not really a ‘beard’ as most people would know it, perhaps a better way to describe it would be ‘a few sprouting hairs’).

The K stands for Kenneth. It was his granddad’s name. Jayden likes to go by ‘Jayden K. Smith’ rather than Jay, or Jayden, as he thinks it makes him sound important.

His favourite colour is purple.

He likes triangles.

Jayden finds this image very pleasing

He once met Jeremy Corbyn. That’s his claim to fame. He’s quite proud of that. He has voted for Labour ever since.

Jayden has met this man

He can touch his nose with his tongue.

He is more of a dog person than a cat person although he doesn’t currently have any pets. When he leaves home, he has decided, he’s going to get a dog. Or perhaps not, it depends on what he is doing at that point.

Jayden would love to have a dog such as this one

He has a good appetite. He has a high metabolism and doesn’t seem to put on much weight whatever he eats. If anything, his stomach is concave. He loves Nandos and goes there as often as he can. He will more or less eat anything though.

Jayden loves to eat here

He has a favourite white baseball cap. He mostly wears bleached jeans, trainers and football tops. He supports Aston Villa. He always has. He doesn’t know why. His dad did so he does. His dad died a couple of years ago from a heart attack. He was devastated. He hasn’t really gotten over it if he’s honest. He lives with his mum and brothers in a three-bedroom semi detached 1930s house. His brothers are both still at school. The house has a nice back garden with lots of shrubs and an apple tree.

Jayden lives here with his mum and brothers

Jadyen K. Smith has a degree in computer science. He got a low 2.1, which he is really happy about. He’s currently working in Asda (he only graduated last summer) while he decides what he wants to do with his life. He isn’t really putting in a huge amount of effort into looking for a proper job yet. He figures that he has plenty of time. His mum is a school cleaner. She hasn’t nagged him too much about his career. She’s enormously proud of his degree. He was the first of his family to go to university (although his dad was very clever).

He believes himself to be more-or-less completely heterosexual. He’s never had a serious girlfriend. He’s not hugely bothered though. He lost his virginity when he was 16 at a party. She was called Helen. He really liked her but it didn’t really go anywhere. She’s now living in London. He’s not sure what she does, something media-related. They are Facebook friends.

He has a few real life friends: people he knew at school and a few from Asda. He goes out about twice a week, mostly to the local pub but sometimes into town.

Jayden K. Smith isn’t very passionate about much in this world. He doesn’t have any hobbies as such, besides creating a Facebook hoax in his name and a vague interest in football. He’s completely overwhelmed by how many people fell for his hoax and how far and wide it spread. He has no plans for any other such hoaxes. He is quite happy living his rather quiet, non-passionate life. He is hoping that by this time next week everyone will have forgotten about him.

That’s it, that is Jayden K. Smith.




Nobody enjoys Sports Day and nobody admits to it

This is the weird thought I had today at my youngest child’s annual primary school Sports Day (he’s in top infants, or Year 2 for you younger people out there).

Shortly after waking this morning and realising that today was his Sports Day my reaction was not one of joy, elation, excitement or anticipation, it was one of annoyance and irritation. My second reaction was one of guilt at feeling annoyance and irritation. I reprimanded myself: what sort of mother doesn’t enjoy Sports Day? I don’t know of any other parent who feels the same way as me. But then I wondered, it this just another example of one of tose Things Nobody Admits To? There are a lot of Things Nobody Admits To but that’s a future blog entry.

Beanbags and hula hoops – the main ingredients of Sports Day since 1955

I don’t enjoy Sports Day and I hope that I’m not the only one (otherwise I really am a horrid mother). I didn’t enjoy it as a child and I enjoy it even less as an adult. Why? Well, I’ll tell you. There are a number of reasons and here they are.


It is the same every year.

Since having children I’ve attended at least 11 sports days. I’ve watched them toddle, jog, canter, skip and run in front of me. I’ve seen them throw beanbags into hoops, jump as high as they can, stumble over hurdles and slide over the finish line. I’m bored of it. The formula doesn’t really change much. I’m more than regular bored of it. I’m bored to tears by it. Sports Day has changed little, if at all, since the 1970s when I was at infants school.

This photo was taken circa 1980 on one of my sports days (I think this was the after sports day picnic)


If they have Sports Day why not have Maths Day or Art Day?

None of my  three boys are particularly athletic. They like maths and art. They are good at maths and art. They’d win maths and art races for sure. They never win running races. They don’t look to me like they are enjoying the whole Sports Day experience that much so since they look a bit miserable, therefore so do I.


Parents are expected to attend unless pinned to the ground at work by an elephant 

Sports Day means that I have to forego work for a whole morning. I am paid by the hour. It costs me £40 to attend Sports Day (on average). The timing of Sports Day is never convenient. They either start half an hour after school drop off or finish half an hour before the end of school and this entails a lot of hanging around and more small talk (see next point). So Sports Day actually costs me more like £50. Do I sound grumpy? Yes.

He so badly wants to go to Sports Day


Sports Day is hell for introverts

I have to sit with people I don’t know (at least this is the case this year as we moved to a new school in January) and wait desperately for someone to engage me in conversation.  This is painful. I’d rather take my laptop with me and do some work thereby negating the above point, at least a little bit.


Parents are more concerned about capturing the moment than enjoying the moment

See point below about ‘bringing out the worst in people’. All parents and grandparents have their phone out, and pointed at their child, as the race happens. Nobody is actually watching their child run. They just want that ever important photo. Yes, I do this too.

My middle son running last summer – good photo, eh?


The Great British Weather

It is usually borderline freezing cold (having said that, today was a glorious day).

We are having fun, honest!


Sports Day brings out the worst in people

I am not a ‘cheer ’em on’ type of mum. Today, I found myself sat sandwiched between two groups of screaming women who kept jumping up to holler ‘Leighton! Leighton! GOOOOOOO!’ or ‘COME ON SUMMER! RUN! RUN!’ They got on my nerves. They did it for every race. I have no urge to do that. I also witnessed one mother pushing a second mother out of the way today when the second mother lept up to cheer her son on thereby obscuring first mother from taking a good photo of her son. That really did happen. It was quite aggressive. I’m surprised second mother didn’t give first mother a knuckle sandwich. Now that would have made Sports Day more entertaining.

The one thing I do like about Sports Day is the mummy race. However, this is the element that brings out the worst in my personality. I know my children won’t win any races (and they accept that, as do I, as part of life’s way of saying ‘you can’t be good at everything and your skills lie elsewhere’). However, I am good at short distance running so this is my time to shine. I love the mummy race. As soon as the teacher in charge exclaims ‘and now for the mummies’ I have been known to leap up and be the first on the start line, with gritted teeth and a determined glare. I have won past mummy races. I once missed one because my youngest (who was three at the time) needed a poo. I had to hide my irritation that day but boy was I irritated.

My moment of glory

So at least today I had the hope that there would be a mummy race and I might leave these Donnington mothers as dots on the horizon as I glided gracefully over the finish line, arms raised, sweat poring and joy oozing. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. At the end of the last children’s race the teacher in charge announced ‘thank you all for coming, we’ve had a great day, bye bye see you in half an hour’.

So today was definitely a hip hugger sort of day (yeah, it wasn’t so bad really), not granny pants but no go commando either (which isn’t a good look on Sports Day anyway, especially during the mummy race if you are wearing a skirt).