Sunday, 5 April 2009

Slow Speedboats and Mediocre Lunches

The weather was glorious today and it really did seem a pity not to get out and "do something". I excused myself from the man and son discussions about exactly what it was we were going to be doing. I've been involved with such discussions before and I don't really contribute anything useful other than the occasional "Well, I'm not doing THAT", "Over my dead body" or - in extreme circumstances - "If you think I'm going to do that, I'll divorce you". I think I react that way as really all I want to do on a Sunday is be single again, buy a broadsheet and a tabloid and compare the news in both, eat something somewhere very quiet and drink copious amounts of very good wine - oh, in interesting company ... that would be important too!

So, it just seemed sensible for me to stay well away from the decision making process and shut up. I contented myself that whatever ghastly activity The Joshua and DH came up with, it couldn't be so awful that it wouldn't end in a lunch that I wouldn't have to cook.

Speedboating was their preferred method of Mummy torture this week. I was ready to go but several more circuits of the "what should we take" cycle had to be gone through before anyone else was. In the end, "what should we take" comprised bread for the ducks and swans at Christchurch Quay along with a camera to take pictures of said ducks and swans eating said bread.

And off we went, Josh & DH building themselves into an entirely unnecessary frenzy of excitement at the idea of half an hour on the river. I hadn't taken much notice of boats at Christchurch Quay on previous occasions but, inspite of Josh's insistence to the contrary, I was pretty sure I'd never seen any speedboats there. It's quite a narrow, busy little stretch of river and even if there were speedboats, they'd have to go very slowly. I won. There were no speedboats. There wasn't a prize for winning this competition of my own making. If there had have been I'd have opted to have gone home again but - no - we were there and come hell or high water, we were going to go on a boat. And so we did.

I don't ever purport to be an expert in parenting skills and wouldn't dream of saying that I am anything other than a haphazard, slightly crummy mummy but I will offer one piece of advice. NEVER let an 11 year old take the wheel of any boat be it a speedboat, a motor boat or even a plastic one in the bath. It's a mistake. A huge mistake. And, if you happen to ignore this heartfelt warning, then salvage something by NEVER letting a DH aged old enough to know better sit next to the 11 year old boy.

Josh didn't quite grasp that a boat takes longer to react than a car and therefore one must "steer it gently". We were swinging from side to side of the river narrowly avoiding other motorboats, some very expensive looking boats, jetties, buoys, bridge uprights. It was a very long half hour in the company of two people who had suddenly become waterborne maniacs. I didn't bother to remonstrate with them - they wouldn't have heard me over their own cackling enjoyment. I sunk further into the boat, turned my collar up and put my dark glasses on. I don't ever want to go to Christchurch again and, if I do, I don't want anyone to know that it was me on the river.

Disembarkation was the best bit of the whole trip and at least, I thought, I have lunch to look forward to - and I do so love a lunch that I don't have to cook. Although, by that time, even that was losing it's appeal.

I tried to look as enthusiastic as possible on the way into the restaurant but to be honest, I'd gone off the whole idea of food. The menu is a good one, the atmosphere pleasant, the staff helpful but the service long-winded. And Josh who'd been up at crack of sparrow's fart, walked the dogs with DH and spent a goodly length of time in the fresh air, was SO HUNGRY. We ordered, we had our drinks (I've never downed a glass of wine so fast in my life), we waited. And we waited and for good measure we waited even longer still. Two glasses of wine weren't producing the desired chilled out effect that I'd hoped they would. Eventually we were served. It was "okay" but expensive and really ... not worth the wait.

I gather Gary Rhodes has just opened up a restaurant in a hotel alongside Christchurch Quay - and I'd like to make it abundantly clear that I wish we'd have eaten there instead! (I'd also like to make it clear that I like Manola Blahnik shoes and would prefer to live in a mews cottage in either Bayswater or South Kensington rather than Catatonia by the Sea ... this kind of statement seems to produce interesting follows on Twitter but I've yet to receive any free gifts. Thought it might be worth a try here. Nothing ventured nothing gained).

Back at home after the adventure, what else would one do other than just relax? One would, of course - completely irrationally - decide to clear out one's office ... but that's a story for another day!


  1. haha! Funny post...I love the slinking and sunglasses bit! Totally cringing with you there hun.

    As for the Mews in Bayswater - well the Soroptomists have a lovely hotel on Bayswater Road - only £50 a night - book yourself in there, (as for the single room at the top of the stairs! ;-)) and pretend that it's your own private pied a tere in the city Darrrrhling! lol! ;-)

  2. Greetings RM. Thought I'd pop by as we appear to be following each other on Twitter.

    A boat probably isn't the best thing to let an 11 year old loose on; you need more space. How about a light aircraft?

    Incidentally, if Gary Rhodes opened a slaughterhouse, would it be called Rhodeskill?

    I look forward to more posts.

  3. So it looks like you can now add Speedboating to your 'Im not doing THAT list'....

    Doesn't sound like much fun!

  4. Goodness me - you're awfully brave. I do like the phrase "crummy mummy"!

  5. You always make me smile but this time I was laughing out loud! Last time I sailed out of Christchurch was about 1987 and we got caught out in a wicked storm on a small sailing boat on my birthday!

    Catatonia by the Sea is a classic! :-)

  6. Very nicely written and it made me laugh. I love mucking about on boats - must be my Cornish childhood - but I'm always glad to get back on solid, non-wobbly ground. I'd happily live on a houseboat if it wasn't for the toilets ...

  7. Even though I knew how much you weren't looking forward to this I still cackled like a maniac reading the actual episode through!

    Can we do it like Thelma and Louise next time? Was there any local cowboy crumpet to pick up or should I bring my own from home?

    p.s. ManolO Blahnik sweetie. xxx

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