Humour

How To Be British

I saw a newspaper headline yesterday and annoyingly enough, I can’t bloody well find it now. The general jist of it though was that a new study has shown that something like 75% of British people want immigration to be halted, especially Eastern Europeans (if anyone has the link, please hit me up with it in the comments). Now, to be fair, tabloids should generally be taken with a pinch of salt, so I’m not going to start doing an Uncle Albert-style intake of air, but I am surprised that it’s at 75%. I’m not sure about the demographics of the survey participants either, which is a factor.

However, in the spirit of giving, I thought I’d give any Eastern Europeans, or indeed any immigrants, some tips on how to truly integrate themselves into the British way of life and avoid the (blatantly middle-class) glare of disapprovers. Here’s the Mum’s the Word guide on How to Be British.

Be Shit At Your Job

This particularly applies if you’re a manual labourer, though far be it from me to stereotype. If you do, however, do something manual and want to appear truly British in doing so, this is what you need to do. When asked for a quote, make sure you make the job sound akin to single-handedly building a replica of the Great Pyramid. Suck air over your teeth a lot, make lots of hmmm-ing sounds. When you do eventually get around to giving a quote, make sure it’s 4 times higher than you’d normally charge for it. Tell the client that it’s going to take at week and then drag it on for over three months. When actually performing the task, be as conspicuous as possible so as to disrupt the person’s life and spend a large portion of the day making rasping noises with your throat to hint that you want another cup of tea.

Claim To Know A Gangster

This one particularly applies if you’re living in the South East, but no self-respecting true Brit can resist dropping in a reference here and there to how their Grandad was bezzy mates with Ronnie and Reggie, or how Pate Tate was like an Uncle to them when they were growing up. No-one is truly British without a story about the Krays, in fact I think they’re thinking of making it part of the citizenship requirements. Adopting phrases like “It’s not a bit of me” or cockney rhyming slang will also help greatly here.

Put Up With Shit Service

There is nothing more quintessentially British than allowing someone you’re paying to treat you like shit. Stroppy waiters, dodgy shop staff and customer service agents who don’t know the meaning of the term. And don’t forget, the worse they treat you, the more you bend over and take it like a good little Brit. Make sure you still leave a tip, even if you’re certain that was a bogey floating in your soup.

Insist That The Majority of Your Food is Tasteless Sludge

If food isn’t in pie form, it’s foreign muck. If you holiday abroad, make sure there’s a pie and mash shop/chip shop/greasy spoon at the resort, otherwise you’ll starve. Declare garlic to be disgusting and any meat that’s not roast beef to be pointless.

Dress Appallingly

This.

Pearly Knobbers

Pearly Knobbers

 

(Disclaimer: Please be aware that this post is entirely tongue-in-cheek. I’m proud to British and all that jazz, this is just a response to more tabloid fuck-wittery)

 

Family · Parenting

The Same As Everyone Else

I got a bit of a bollocking last night. I got home from work and a rather grumpy-faced Sausage said “Mummy, I still have a white t-shirt in my P.E. kit”. Her kit got sent home for the Christmas hols and I dutifully washed it, ready to go back. Only, on the Tuesday of her first week back, P.E. day, I realised that I’d not gathered all of the items up and put them in her bag and said-items were now spread far and wide throughout my chaotic house. I managed to locate her shorts, drummed up a pair of white socks and dug her plimsols out from under a pile of new toys, but the yellow, logo-embroidered t-shirt was nowhere to be found. In desperation I shoved a plain white v-neck into the bag, knowing that this was just as acceptable under the school’s uniform code, with promises to Sausage to replace it with the yellow one later that week.

Obviously, I forgot. Skip forward to today and Sausage has had to endure four whole sessions of Physical Education in a white t-shirt and, apparently, this just isn’t good enough.

Having been previously oblivious to the importance of the yellow t-shirt, I enquired as to whether she’d been told off for wearing a white t-shirt instead.

“No” was her reply.

Hmm. So, I asked, does anyone else wear a white top?

“Yes, the twins do”

Right, so if you’re the same as the twins, what’s the problem?

“Because everyone else wears yellow and I want to be the same as everyone else” she said.

And suddenly, it all became clear and my childhood came flooding back to me. I think, as an adult, we get so caught up in defining ourselves as one thing or another that we forget that, for the kids, it’s mostly about fitting in. Conformity is key and anything different will have you singled out. It’s like an innate survival instinct.

As an adult, and even as a teen to an extent, being ‘a bit different’ can be a great thing. But to a child, it’s the worst thing in the world and it’s suddenly become clear that it’s our jobs, as parents, to do what we can to facilitate that conformity.

When I was a youth (around 11 or 12), the Adidas track suit was king and if your trainers weren’t Reebok or Nike, you were a total loser. I got bought a black Adidas track suit with white stripes and I lived in that bloody thing until it was swinging around my ankles. But, it was a uniform and it fitted in with what everyone else was doing. That track suit got me through some tough times.

So, tonight after work, I’ll be going home, searching through the ironing pile and getting the yellow t-shirt ready for tomorrow, when I’ll extract the offending white garment from Sausage’s satchel and make the world, her world, right again. Because, while conformity might not be my cup of tea, for the moment it’s everything to Sausage and that’s just fine.

Family · Work

Living For The Weekend

If you read this post, you’ll know that I went back to full-time work a couple of weeks ago for the first time in Sausage’s life. It’s not been entirely without event but that’s a different post for a different day. I’ve been trying to make the most of the evenings with my little family but once I’ve battled my way home through rush hour traffic, got changed, had dinner and watched an episode of The Simpsons, that’s basically it.

Up until now, and especially since we got our car, we’ve very much been able to please ourselves. Obviously, once Sausage started school we had to follow a routine to an extent, but with Husband working from home and me being unemployed since April, my time has been my own. I could go to the supermarket when everyone else was at work, I could run any errands I needed to run or I could simply sit on my arse and watch Jeremy Kyle and eat crisps if I so desired. Boy, how things have changed!

This weekend, we’ve had shopping, a kids party, family stuff and various other things to do, all on top of trying to catch up with a week’s worth of washing, tidying a house that looks like several small bombs have gone off in it and keeping a dog and a 4-year-old stimulated enough that we don’t end up with a riot on our hands. Usually, I wouldn’t sweat it, I’d think “It’s okay. I can do stuff while Sausage is at school next week” but now I simply can’t.

It’s been a real eye-opener, if I’m honest. I think I’d forgotten how busy places can be on a Saturday and even a Sunday. We made a trip to Ikea and Lakeside on Saturday and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a busier shop than the Swedish furniture place. And don’t even get me started on how rude everyone was. It’s like they get to the weekend and forget their manners (if they ever had any in the first place!).

We enjoyed our dinner, at a restaurant called Strada, which is a chain of Italian eateries. The food was absolutely lovely, I had the lamb shank which was served with a rich tomato sauce and fell off the bone. Husband and Sausage had pasta and pizza, both of which were freshly made and delicious.

I know we’ll get used to having to do things at the same time as everyone else, but at the moment it feels totally alien and a complete chore I’m honest. Any tips on how I can learn to cope with it all would be gratefully received!

For discounts at Italian restaurants check out this netvouchercode

 

Blogging · Family · School

Going Public

A couple of things have happened this week that have made me think about the way I feel about my blog. Firstly, a new work colleague suggested that I add her on Facebook. I post all of my new posts onto both my personal timeline and my blogs page, so if I were to add her on there, she’d become aware of Mum’s the Word fairly quickly. Secondly, I was talking to one of the mums of a girl in Edith’s class and she mentioned that she was friends on Facebook with some of the other mums. Although I was already friends with two other school mums on there, I realised that I was cagey about who I added because of them seeing my blog.

The thing with blogging is, although I’ve now met several other bloggers in real life and consider a few of them to be very good friends, I mostly forget that real people read what I write!

I had a message the other day from some who was in my class at school. She got in touch to let me know that she really enjoys reading my posts and that she felt like she knew me even though we’d not spoken in over ten years. I was so touched that she took the time to make contact and it really made me think about the fact that, even though I’ve been pouring my heart onto a computer screen for the last two and a half years, the thought of people reading your thoughts is quite an abstract concept – until they tell you!

I like to think that this blog is a pretty good representation of me. I’m brutally honest about my thoughts and feelings, probably to my detriment at times, but I find it hard to censor myself for the most part. What’s the point of writing if you’re not being honest? If my writing wasn’t authentic I’d be better off writing fiction, surely? But, when you put your heart on a page, you leave yourself open to a lot of stick.

I think it’s mostly paranoia. I reckon other bloggers would agree that writing a blog is brilliant when people comment on your posts or engage you via social media about something you’ve written. I’ve had debates in my comments that I’ve been thrilled about, even when people are being negative about my opinion on something, but by contrast I have this overwhelming fear that I’ll write a post and then walk into the playground or my office and see people whispering about me or judging me in some way. The stupid thing is, they probably do that anyway, everyone gets judged by their peers, but it’s one thing being judged and it’s quite another to serve up a WEALTH of material for people to judge you on.

I asked in my fave parent blogging group on Facebook whether I should say “screw it” and go public and I had a mixed response. Some said that they have hundreds of co-workers who read their blog and they love it, others blog completely anonymously and wouldn’t have it any other way. Someone also made the VERY cogent point that basically anyone who knows how to Google could find my blog anyway, without very much effort at all.

Basically, I’m in blogging limbo.

Am I right to be scared? What would you do? Perhaps I’m missing a trick and I should be littering my every path with my blogging business cards?! Who knows.

Family · Humour · Life

So, You’ve Eaten a Horse Burger?

Horse Meat

If you read the news/go on Twitter/listen to the radio, you’ll no doubt be aware by now that several major supermarkets have cleared their shelves amidst findings from an independent report which showed beef burgers to contain up to 29% horse meat. The chances are, if you’ve eaten a burger from Tesco, you’ve probably eaten horse. Are you horrified?

I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that they’ve sold cheap horse meat under the guise of beef is wrong for MANY reasons. The cultural implications are mind boggling, especially as 85% of the burgers also contained pig DNA, so many a kosher Jew are probably feeling rather upset right now. Also, just for the plain old fact that if you PAY for beef and you get horse, that’s morally and financially wrong. It’d be called fraud in any other circumstance, surely?

But.

What I don’t get is this; people are up in arms simply about the fact that they’ve eaten a horse and I just don’t get that mentality.

Why is a horse more sacred than a chicken, a cow or a turkey? With Christmas just gone by, are we not upset about the TEN MILLION turkeys eaten in the UK alone? I understand that people keep horses as pets and we’re all quite precious about not eating animals that are cute or handsome, but if it were a choice between my family needing food and Joey running free in the paddock, it’d be horse casserole for tea, I’m afraid.

I’m not hugely worldly when it comes to food I’ve tried but I’ve eaten kangaroo, deer and veal (though I will admit I wasn’t properly aware of what veal was before I ate it) and I just don’t get this thing that humans have about prioritising one type of animal over another when it comes to meat. Most people probably now know that pigs are as intelligent as dogs and while that’s led to a rise in the number of people keeping pigs as pets, I bet it’s barely affected the number of bacon sandwiches eaten by us Brits.

Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to why a horse is more important than a cow?

Until then, I’m going to be avoiding beef burgers; not because I don’t want to eat horse, but because if I’m buying beef it’s because I want to eat a cow!