Parenting, twins, life, work and worries.

Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Trains, buses and trams = stress

Posted by shinymac on March 3, 2008

I have returned from a lovely weekend away. I decided some time ago that I would whisk the kids up to Scotland for a break whilst I’ve got time off from work, so we booked bargain fares on the train, and went on Thursday.

I took my little notebook/diary type thing, thinking that a 2 hour train journey would allow me plenty of time to scribble away and take notes, and instead, I ended up with earache from two 4 year olds who couldn’t stop showing me their drawings of trains, sheep and people. It was a good journey though, and we all had plenty of food to munch on that we’d made and packed earlier in the day.

Once we got to Carlisle, we had a wait of around 15 minutes for my aunty to come and collect us, and as we drove over the border, we encouraged the kids to cheer and wave their arms about. They sat there stony-faced and silent, and would not even smile. (They were being incredibly shy!)

We chilled out at her house, and waited for Stevie to come home from school. She walked in all grown up and tall, and totally changed from the last time I saw her, all contributing to my feeling old. From then on, I never saw my kids! They followed poor Stevie and her friend Shannon all over the place, and I started to feel as though I’d lost some limbs! I have to admit however, that I did enjoy it, it felt like a bit of a break, and I relaxed knowing that they were safe in Stevie’s hands.

We had a chinese, we had drinks, we had visits to shops where I found some plain cheap plimsols I’d wanted for ages, and I even managed to squeeze a night out in, where I discovered the most gorgeous garlic mayonnaise, which lingered the next day regrettably. All in all, we had a great time, and I can’t wait to go back again, or for them to come and visit us in Manchester.

Unfortunately, the end of a relaxing break tends to lead to stress, and this was no truer than the events of yesterday and today.
We got to Carlisle to discover there were no trains running whatsoever, due to high winds causing a freight train to blow all over the tracks on our route. So, we were faced with a coach journey to Preston. As the coach filled up, the driver came out to tell me that there were 2 seats left, but they were separate. Now, anyone who knows my children would know that there is no way in the world they would sit away from me, next to a stranger on a huge bus that they’ve never been on before, and I explained this to him, using “they’ll cry their eyes out” as the clincher. Thankfully, he asked some kind man if he would move, and the 3 of us squeezed into two seats together. As we drove past countless grazing sheep and the beauty of the Lake District, Evie had a little snooze on my knee, as Marley sprawled out in the seat she had all to herself. We ate chocolates and drank Ribena, and finally we reached Preston, where we had to get a train.
When this train pulled into Manchester Victoria, we went to the tram stop for our tram home. We waited, and we waited, and we waited, for what felt like hours, and no Altrincham trams came by. Eventually, we decided to just get on a Piccadilly one (ticketless!), and change there to get home (with ticket!).

We walked home from the tram stop, laden down with suitcases and bags galore, looking like a trio of pack-horses trudging through the town, and poor Marley gave in and fell over sending her little tartan suitcase and a Tweenies bag flying over the concrete.

Finally, we got home, and bursting for wees and so hungry, we discovered my Mothers Day presents. 2 books I’d wanted for a while, which is better than chocolates when you’re trying to lose weight!
Alex came home soon after us, with a pizza in hand, and smiles and cuddles for the kids. Oh, how they had missed him, and this was so evident when they saw his car pull up and ran to the door shouting “WOO-HOOOOO!”.

Today has provided me with further stress. I’ve found out I can’t have the time off I wanted incase we manage to get tickets for Glastonbury, or manage to find work at Glastonbury, and my work have such ridiculous rules regarding it, that I feel like telling them to shove the job up their bums. It’s complicated to explain, but they have holiday “ceilings” which means only so many people within the store from certain departments can have time off at the same time, but our department are grouped together regardless of whether you work days or nights, and also with the office, who have nothing to do with our staffing. It’s not like we cover their work or they cover ours! So I am not happy, and I’ve told my boss this. I don’t know if this will help, I think the only thing that will help will be to leave. Yes, that would help my sanity, but may not help my purse.


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A day to remember

Posted by shinymac on January 19, 2008

Sometimes I sit and wonder what I would’ve been doing this time so many years ago. I remember back to times when my sister and I used to go up to Scotland for our summer holidays. They were always good times, back then, when I was obsessed with buying fashion and beauty magazines, back when I could get away with short skirts and flirting endlessly with the Scottish boys. I remember staying with my Aunty and being allowed to stay up until 2, 3 or even 4am talking about spirits, having takeaways and discussing other family members. At a really young age we would do the same visit almost every year during the summer but instead of staying with my Aunty, we would stay with my Nana and my Papa; my dad’s parents. My Nana used to tuck us right in the big double bed that my sister and I shared, with a million blankets, and shove a hot water bottle or two in with us to keep us from getting cold in the night. During the day, my Papa would lay on the floor in the living room on his front, with his grandad glasses on reading his newspaper or his magazine, which I am sure was called Journey’s Friend. His dog Bunty would be laid on his back, peeking over at his paper, or just guarding him from us kids who she thought were some kind of threat to her Master. Once Nana and Papa moved into a bungalow and began to obviously age, there was no longer any room for us, so we stayed at my Aunty’s house down the road. I missed the Coco Pops for supper, and my Nana telling me whenever I refused any food how fresh it was, as if that would change my mind. I don’t recall my Papa actually saying a lot. He was a man of few words, but he was passionate when he did speak. Despite his history as a Protestant, and an active one in the Orange order as a youngster, he welcomed my Catholic mum into his family, and treated her as one of his own. They shared a special bond both being from Ireland, and he felt that connection with her. One time, just after I’d had my kidney removed, and probably the last time I ever saw him, my dad told me to show him my impressive scar across my side, which I reluctantly did, only to be met with a kind of moment from him as he shared his operation stories with me, and tales of how he had to be cut right across his middle and right down his front. On this day in 2000, he passed away. The last time I spoke with him was just after midnight on 1st January 2000 on the phone whilst at my brothers house. I’m glad he managed to see in the millenium, and I’m glad I wished him a happy new year just over 2 weeks before he went. My dad took his death incredibly hard, we all did really, and he is sadly missed. Now he has Nana with him, and Bunty and Judy (a dog he had later in life), so we know he is happy. Thank you Papa for the moments we shared, although there weren’t many, but I will never forget them.

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