Busy, Busy, Busy: 2013 365 Challenge #346

My Angel

My Angel

Phew I haven’t stopped yet today, and it’s only 12.30pm. I was up at 5am again (see yesterday) but as daughter needed the toilet, I was good, kind Mummy. I used the time to get the tattoos off her arms ready for today’s Nativity (they’ve been on for two weeks, and only scrubbing with vaseline removed them!)

I then sat down and finished formatting yesterday’s post, completing it nicely at 7am ready to start the breakfast run. (Only to notice, at 11am, that I forgot to schedule it properly, so it hadn’t gone live. Doh!)

Packed lunches made, washing on, children dressed and fed, school run completed, free coffee from Waitrose acquired, crackers purchased for meal out tonight and back home again by 9.20am. Then a mad dash round to wrap my Secret Santa gift, test and wrap the gifts for the kids from Grandad, so I could get them out from underfoot (dancing speakers, very cute!) and a search in the loft for something to wear this evening. That yielded a massive haul of clothes I haven’t seen since they were packed away over a year ago, when hubbie decided to redo our bedroom wardrobe. I’ve been living in jeans and fleece jumpers ever since. And low and behold there were skirts and tops galore. I felt like I’d been shopping, without the expense. Marvelous.

My view!

My view!

Then I had to be good and sit down to write tomorrow’s installment, as I have the dentist in the morning, and my son home all day. Quick piece of toast for lunch, while chopping vegetables for hubbie’s dinner (I’m such a good wife!). Then just enough time to walk the dog now before I go and collect my mum, who is coming to the matinee Nativity performance with me.

Hubbie is attending tonight’s performance with our son, while I go out and celebrate Christmas with my good ex-colleague friends. After being up since 5am I’m not sure I’m going to last all that well. Pass the coffee, please! 🙂

P.S. The Nativity was adorable. Reception children played a silent tableau while older children narrated and everyone sang. My view was limited but we had a chance at the end to take decent photos, which thankfully stopped all the adoring parents and grandparents from snapping away during the show. Genius.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire gritted her teeth and dived into the waves. It was essential to get fully wet immediately. Wading out slowly just prolonged the agony. Flicking back her wet hair, she tugged at the board tethered to her ankle and climbed onto it, ready to paddle out into the surf.

The need to concentrate finally drove the thoughts from her cluttered mind. On the long drive down from Swanage, and during the endless night at the hostel, her head had hummed with words. Was she doing the right thing, leaving Conor so quickly? Should she call it off for good? And if she didn’t go to work for him, what was she going to do at the end of the contract, which really wasn’t that far away. There was no rainy day money in her bank account: she couldn’t afford to be out of work even for a few weeks. The leftover money from Robert, which her conscience told her she ought to return, and her temper said was hers by rights, was put aside to hopefully replace her much-missed tablet.

Icy water crashed over Claire’s head, as her brain returned to the problems it had been tousling with, instead of focussing on remaining upright on the speeding board. She brushed the foam from her face and laughed, feeling the tension leave her with the joyous sound. You couldn’t be angry or grumpy or sad in the ocean. It didn’t care. The sheer expanse of indifference put the world into perspective.

Dragging the board up the beach, Claire toyed with having one more run. Guilt pricked at her, as she remembered the report. Thoughts of her assignment led to thoughts of Conor and she flicked them away with a toss of her tangled hair. Instead she concentrated on another idea that had popped into her mind during her surf. She needed to call the boys. With everything that had happened during the Carnival, and afterwards, it had slipped her mind that she didn’t even know if they were still in the country.

She stomped up the beach, angry with herself for letting Conor fill her head when she had responsibilities. I took those boys to Mum’s house, the least I could do was make sure they were alright.

A familiar wave of sadness washed over Claire, as she towelled herself dry and pulled on some clothes. Even though she wanted to do something for herself, there were still people who relied on her, who had expectations.

Will Conor just be one more person wanting something from me?

The words left a bad taste in her mouth and her heart grew heavy. She retrieved her phone and scrolled through for the number, waiting for it to connect as she headed back to the car.


“Mum? Hi, it’s Claire.”

“Well, it’s about time you called. That’s just like you, to dump your nephews here and then disappear off the face of the earth for weeks.”

Claire bit her lip. “I haven’t disappeared, I’ve been working, and it’s only been two weeks. Besides, the phone works two ways, you know. You could call me.”

There was a tiny pause, and Claire wondered if her mum would retaliate. Instead she huffed a sigh and said, “If you’ve called to talk to the boys, you’re too late. They’ve gone home, thank goodness.” She seemed to realise that wasn’t what a grandmother said of her grandsons and quickly added, “Not that I haven’t enjoyed having them, but they’ve eaten me out of house and home.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I missed them. Did Francesca come and collect them.”

“Ha! If you can call it that. She refused to leave the airport. Checked into a hotel and told us to take the boys there to her. That woman. No wonder Robert left.”

That was too much for Claire. “She might not be the easiest woman to get along with, Mum, but in case you’ve forgotten, your precious son left to get engaged to a girl half his age. He’s not really the victim in all this.”

“Well, we don’t know the full story,” her mum blustered. “Anyway, it doesn’t pay to interfere.”

Claire snorted and coughed to cover it up. There was no point getting into a row with her mother. She said goodbye and hung up the phone, vowing to Skype the boys that evening. She felt bad to think they’d left the country without her being able to say goodbye.

If that’s what dating Conor does to me, then I’m better off without him.


4 thoughts on “Busy, Busy, Busy: 2013 365 Challenge #346

  1. Just reading this makes me tired….and yet what wonderful activities you are involved in. Plus, you’re doing the writing. Amazing!

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