Another week gone, another week beginning. And in between, trying to remember to breathe! This is my usual round up of our weekends, lest I forget – in a fog of lunch boxes and trombones and swimming kits – that it’s the weekends that are the main reason for living in this crazy, beloved city of ours.
But first – this was my first post of the week on my Instagram feed.
It’s the weapons in a working mum’s arsenal – nails painted (every Sunday, in front of the Gilmore Girls. You can see a few smudges on my nails where I laughed!). And the bag changeover. Red Paul Costelleo this week (last week black Osprey – both presents from my wonderful best friend who’s also my son’s fairy godmother).
I should say upfront that I use the term ‘working mum’ with caution. I believe that all mothers are working mums, and all mothers are full time mums too. Because what on earth is a part time mum? And who can say that mums who stay at home with their kids aren’t working? So working mum and full time mums are daft phrases, and I shouldn’t really be lazy enough to use them.
So what did we get up to at the weekend?
Noodles at Pho
As I wrote last week, Chiswick Boy’s new favourite restaurant is Pho on Chiswick High Rd. We tried it out for the first time last week and Chiswick Boy has been begging to go back. He wants to be a “regular” – a “local, where they know what I want when I walk in the door.” Children love routine, it’s true, but we all yearn to be somewhere where we’re recognised, that’s comfortably familiar and still exciting.
I call it the Cheers effect. We all want to be “where everybody knows your name”.
Well Pho don’t know Chiswick Boy’s name, but to their credit, when we went back this time the waitress unbelievably remembered Chiswick Boy. She remembered where he’d sat, and what he’d ordered. Remarkable! He was incredibly happy – his ambition to be a ‘local’ fulfilled!
I had a Phojito (their take on the Mojito, with rice spirit instead of white rum).
We went for the chicken wing starter that we fell in love with last time. And I had another beef brisket noodle soup (although went for the hot and spicy one this time, which I preferred.)
Chiswick Daddy went for the broken rice with chicken (because I wanted to try it) and we did a lot of swapping, which is the way to eat out!
Chiswick Boy had the chicken wok fried noodles from the kids menu again and the gorgeous home made lemonade, followed by mango sorbet.
It was very atmospheric sitting inside watching the rain drip off the awning. Because I rarely go into Chiswick at night, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how lively it is.
I’m a city girl – and I love seeing the lights of still-open cafes at night, with people spilling onto the road and rushing through the rain. I’m comforted by the noises of the city and even as I write I’m comforted by the gentle swell of traffic outside.
The golden age of cinema
On Sunday we had a fabulous afternoon watching a Buster Keaton silent movie double bill with live organ accompaniment – at our lovely local Musical Museum. We’re blessed to have such a great selection of museums and attractions nearby. The Musical Museum is a little known gem nestled in Brentford, not far from the wonderful Watermans.
All of us in our little family have a passion for cinema, and it was wonderful to show Chiswick Boy how films were shown in the early days of cinema. Sitting in a packed audience, on the balcony, chuckling involuntarily along to classic clowning on screen, is a wonderful release.
There was a shiver down our spines when the glorious Wurlitzer rose from the depths of the floor, with the fantastic Donald MacKenzie improvising a score to the films (with some insightful repartee as an introduction).
Urban sprawl and urban beauty – a brief aside
As I wrote above, I am a city girl at heart, and I love the urban landscape. London, even leafy Chiswick, is a city of contrasts.
You get this:
And you also get this (it’s a medical centre behind the High Rd).
If I was Hounslow council, I would commission some teenagers to spray paint a mural on it.
Lots of people get cross about graffiti, but I think it has a certain beauty. Not rude words scrawled in black spray paint or marker pen of course. But well done, thought out, pieces of art, or even words in aesthetically chosen colours. (Although risking life by getting so close to the train tracks isn’t something I condone of course.)
La vie français – and a walk in the park
On Saturday we had a fun stroll through our favourite park, Boston Manor Park, enjoying the wintery sunshine that almost made it seem as if spring was on the way (it seems to have been the longest winter ever – but then I think that every year).
At the French Fair at Olympia, I did my annual daydreaming about what it would be like to live in France with chickens and goats and a vineyard, home schooling. (Quite what I’m doing for dosh in this daydream is never clear. Perhaps I’ve made it as a full time blogger, with a bit of wine making on the side?)
As well as being a place to flog property, there was a vibrant French food and craft market.
I came back with a bulging bag of literature about houses I won’t buy. I got swept up in the excitement and left my details with a couple of French banks to get a call back. I am much more likely to buy a string of onions then I am a house in France. But I can’t shift the dream that la vie francais is for me…
A lifetime of pictures – and a quick hack
On Saturday morning we also spent some time sorting out Chiswick Boy’s prolific artwork. If your child is into drawing and painting (and which child isn’t?) then you’ve likely amassed thousands of pictures on bits of A4 paper, like us.
So we’re on a mission to get all the pictures out of boxes, drawers and tottering piles, and stuck into A4 hardback books.
We’re re-purposing some old hardback work notebooks of mine, which have out of date notes in. Of course, A4 pictures are just too big for comfort to stick in an A4 book – the pages hang over the edges and the whole thing looks messy. So we’re trimming each picture before sticking it in with green pritt stick.
Chiswick Boy will eventually have a whole row of hardback books, with his pictures in. He’s having great fun revisiting all his old pictures, and he’ll have fun flicking through the books when they’re finished too.
Of course some people just throw their kids’ pictures out after a bit, and I’m sure those people (perhaps you are one of them?) have wonderfully tidy houses and don’t live buried under the clutter we do! But I just can’t bear to throw away any of Chiswick Boy’s pictures. Someone at the office once told me that they throw away their child’s art as soon as they bring it home from school: straight after the ‘oh that’s nice’, it goes into the bin.
What do you think of that? Are you an ‘admire and throw away’ person, or do you religiously store each little piece of paper that your child has scrawled/doodled/painted on?
And what do you think of graffiti – bone fide street art or a public nuisance?