I made one slight strategic error on Monday and I am now having trouble walking. I knew I had a bit of a marathon ahead and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to wear my new boots. It all began fairly well in the scheme of things. Daughter two had to be dropped at school early as she was in a Shakespeare festival. Daughter three could be dropped with her at a friend’s house near the school. Daughter one said she had no lessons till second period so she could go to school via the train and tube and accompany me as I had a conference to go to. Only son had shown signs of being unwell the night before, but seemed to make it through the night with no fever.
I dispatched him to breakfast club with some Calpol for a sore throat. We were running slightly late by this point because daughter two needed packed lunch and packed dinner and some money for the day in case she could get some cooked dinner and because the school had planned to take them to the cinema. I gave her a 20 pound note. She asked for a tenner. I had specifically kept the tenner for only son’s school dinner money. At the last moment, I realised she had switched the 20 for the tenner, meaning I had no change for the school dinners and the breakfast club. Arg. So I had to go to the corner shop. Hence the slight lateness.
Daughter one commented on the long walk to the tube as you have to park around 20 minutes away at that time of day. It was all downhill. My boots were beginning to hurt. Daughter one had not factored in the walk to her timing for getting to school…But we were on the tube. My phone had 10% battery as I had forgot to turn the recharger switch. I brought the charger with me in the hopes of recharging it at the conference. I was a bit worried the school would ring to tell me only son was not feeling too well. Would the 10% last until the conference?
I arrived at the conference after a slight detour and all was well. I had arranged, as you do, to cram some social life into the lunch hour. Years pass between me seeing most of my friends so I had decided to take some action. I headed for Regent Street to meet an old colleague. I then decided to walk back to the conference as it was only one stop. The boots were hurting a little bit more by this point. I got back to the conference and when it had finished I headed off towards the Shakespeare Festival in the direction of Old Street, intending to walk up to Shoreditch where the festival was. En route I rang my mum, who had done the school pick-up, to find out if only son was feeling okay. He was, though his throat was sore, but daughter three was feeling ill…
My plan was to find a cheap cafe/McDonald’s and some wi-fi and catch up on emails and write up the conference. Unfortunately, Shoreditch has undergone a rather wholesale transformation since I was last there. There were no McDonald’s or indeed cheap-looking cafes to be seen. I walked round and round, by this time limping. I gave up and went to a hipster cafe with wifi where I met up with my partner. The good news was that daughter two’s play was first up in the Shakespeare Festival. The bad news was that they had to stay to the bitter end for “feedback”. We sat through what seemed like an interminable performance of Macbeth and went out in the interval to look for a normal pub. Any old pub. There do not appear to be many in Shoreditch. Instead we went to a newsagents and bought an apple. We were really starving by this point as we had not eaten. By around 10.30 the festival was over, the feedback had been given. Daughter two was exhausted, having given her all to the role of Tybalt. She dragged me in the direction of Liverpool Street where, lo, there was a KFC.
We returned home to news of a fall-out between daughters one and three. By the morning I could barely move. It was only Tuesday.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.