Marooned in the Modern World

In conjunction with my book "Swiss Family Suburban" this blog is from my diary; the diary of a wife and mum in a world where neither is valued highly. Beth Bill.

27th November 2009

Tonight we helped Grandma and Grandad with a Victorian Market stall. Grandma, Grandad and Em dressed up in Victorian costume - a great excuse to try on an old (adjusted) bridesmaid dress of mine - was I ever that thin?! Em and I also did some busking, which was fun.

We also held an outdoor market stall to try and sell off some old stock. We'd written signs proclaiming that everything must go for £1 but nobody seemed to be reading. An alter-ego seemed to come over me and David and I were true market vendors shouting "Everything £1" "Everything must go"! What a hoot!

The boys were employed in playing runner between the two stores, carrying change and keeping us all in hot drinks and burgers. I think Grandma must have lost all her profit to burgers that night! It was great fun though.

21st November 2009

Sang Verdi's Requiem. Hhmm, that should drive my Christmas blues away! The family came to watch and it was a nice change for the children to be watching me - I do practise what I preach! Mind you, it's such a long time since I've performed with the choir (I've only just re-joined now the children are older) that I was terrified, so I got a taste of how they might feel. Imagine what a solo would feel like. Yikes. Actually, now I come to think of it I don't think the children do get that nervous. Jonti certainly doesn't. It must be an age thing

Some friends also came to listen. This was their first choral concert and they really liked listening to Latin, it just washes over you.

12th November 2009

Em played for a Christmas Lights switch on with her flute choir. I realise that this is going to sound grouchy, but I really struggle with this aspect of Christmas - 'shammy shimmer'. I've noticed that children always cry when they meet Santa, and I don't blame them. (On that subject, I thought we told our children not to tell lies). There were some folks dressed up in Elf suits (looked more like goblins to me) and some poor little girl was absolutely terrified - crying uncontrollably. It all seemed quite shallow and sordid.

However, the music was lovely. I always think a flute choir sounds like a very breathy pipe organ, or a melodic steam train - very pretty!

8th November 2009

Our choir joined in a British Legion Memorial Service for Armistice. Anything related to the WW I & II brings me to tears, but I managed to keep singing. This was quite a feat as we sang In Paradisum from Faure's Requiem - very moving. A relative of Sir Reginald Mitchell spoke at the event, and that was very interesting. There were some laughs, too. A local Am Dram group acted some sketches from Dad's Army, which was funny - but I even found that a bit teary. The thought of a group of old men doing 'their bit' brings a lump to my throat just as much as packing your kids off to go and live with somebody else.

When we first started home schooling we spent a week living on WW II rations. I don't think I was ever away from the sink that week, everything needed peeling! We spoke to our elderly relatives about what they ate and it seems that they always had a pudding. Ordinarily we don't have a dessert and the food that week was really stodgy - we were stuffed! I guess that just because things were on the ration list doesn't mean they were always available, so perhaps there wasn't as much as we had that week.

We did try and "Dig for Victory" but our efforts didn't do very well. It's fortunate we didn't really have to survive on our own produce. It kept the children busy nevertheless!