Soap Opera Stylie

My life is basically Eastenders without the theme tune and the complicated family relationships.

So that’s a bit shit.

On the other hand, you know, it gives me something to write about, and it makes people want to stand next to me, in that way you stand next to stunningly awful people at weddings in the hope that you will look better than them in the picture.


We got through First Holy Communion.

I disgraced myself at the endless, endless, joyless practice at which I only caught the last twenty minutes (I am thankful to say), by laughing until I actually wept real tears when Tallulah did her ‘soaring like an eagle dance’ with such bad grace she looked like a really sulky chicken.

The actual event was not joyous in any way, for me. Not that it was for me, except for the fact that I have had to fund this project through the yin yang and give my fervent and unwilling support all the way through.

Tallulah, it has to be said, looked stunning in her dress, and did enjoy herself, which is good, because if she hadn’t it would have made me want to fling myself head first into a mincing machine more than it actually did, which was quite a lot.

It went on for about a week. It really and truly did. In earth years it was about two hours, but in real, emotional pain terms it was a week – possibly two.

I emerged, blinking, into the sunlight with a raging stress headache where I had been actually gritting my teeth in an effort to be lovely and not run amok with the holy water, flicking people and screaming.

I am grateful it is not the middle ages and Jason no longer has the power to lock me in a convent when he gets fed up of my peri menopausal whining. I would totally be going Medieval postal in a habit.

Things would have probably been more bearable had she/we not been preparing for this since last October. People have trained to scale Everest in less time. My wedding took less time to plan than this. I thank the tiny baby Cheezus his very own self that Confirmation will not take place for at least two years.

The massive family feast and enormous chocolate cake from Patisserie Valerie that Uncle Robber provided afterwards went some way towards making the day a generally more festive occasion it has to be said.

It is said that God works in mysterious ways. Clearly he does. Through the power of Uncle Robber and his ability to pick a monster delicious cake.


I am having the most appallingly crapola time with Oscar’s school admission situation. It is so very terrible that yesterday I was too incoherent and incandescent to even consider committing words to paper that didn’t have a lot of asterisks in them.

Basically the city council have fucked things up in spectacular fashion.

This is despite me calling them as soon as I had been to see the school we wanted, explaining my situation and asking for their advice as I had never applied to a junior school before.

This is despite them physically sending me all the forms, rather than me accidentally filling in the wrong forms online, me hand writing them all, sending them back, then calling to check they had arrived etc.

This is despite me then following this up with phone calls at regular intervals to make sure that the forms were not lost, in the wrong place, had been correctly filed, were the correct forms, and that I had indeed been doing the right thing at the right time in the right way.

I put my application in in February. I have called them four or five times since then.

I should have heard last week. I did not hear. I called yesterday. It took three phone calls, and me being on hold for nearly an hour to establish that they had in fact given me totally the wrong forms for the wrong application process and all the way down the line, despite my repeated asking for clarification, etc, had persistently and doggedly stuck to the lie that they had in fact given me the right forms and I had done the right thing. It emerged yesterday in the first phone call that I would not hear now until the end of June about Oscar’s place and there was no way I could alter this, appeal this, change this at all, even though none of what had transpired was my fault, and the first lady I spoke to attempted to make out that it was in fact a) my fault, b) something they had told me all along and c) perfectly normal and acceptable and I was just being a bit whiny and difficult.

When I enquired what I was supposed to do given that by the end of June there will only be two weeks of the academic year left, there would be no places left (they are already full as it happens), and I would have no right of appeal until September because the appeal system is random and quite often doesn’t happen over the summer holidays, which leaves me, my family and my son up shit creek, she said breezily: ‘Oh well. If you don’t get the school you want we just give you another one we have chosen.’ As if that made everything alright. When I pointed out that when this happened with Tilly they had offered me a school that was in effect a sink school that nobody for ten miles around would actively choose to go to, whose only positive on a universally crap OFSTED report was that they managed to keep children in school who did not want to be there, she gave the telephone equivalent of a shrug, and suggested I speak to her supervisor.

Two more phone calls later, the last of which was actually conciliatory and after regular council hours, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt (not that I had one) that this whole fiasco is the fault of the council, and it seemed my best option was still to wait until they fail to give me a place at the end of June and then appeal and hope they might hear the appeal in the summer holidays, although there are no guarantees.

Today I did some more digging and phoning and there is a slightly better scenario, but one in which, yet again, I am forced to apply immediately for a place for this term for Oscar in the partner school of the one I actually want him to go to in the hope that this will then force the hand of the council to give him a place at the school we want next term, much as I had to with Tilly last year. I will probably also have to go to appeal this term too.

I am not happy. Not happy at all.

In fact that is the understatement of the decade and if I allow myself to think about it too much I actually start to pulse with a kind of hulk induced rage.


The bee situation is probably, possibly now clarified.

You may recall the idea of having the easy bee hive which turned out to be not easy due to the fact that the bees are bumble bees, not honey bees, and they die off etc.

I have been looking at honey bees. They are complicated, and hard work, and expensive to set up. Cool. Absolutely, but all of the above, and we are right now in peak honey bee season when they are all swarming and dancing and getting jiggy and it is all ACTION! for bees, and if you don’t know what you’re doing it can be utterly pants. Expensive dead bee shaped pants.

So then I looked at the easy bee hive again, but my friend showed me that last year’s model which was only £99 with bees, was actually prone to wax moths, which apparently eat all your bee population before they can prematurely die. Which is nice. And, if you want the new, improved anti wax moth bee hive it costs £150, which still leaves you with a lot of dead bees in three months but no wax moth killing etc.

I was conflicted.

Then I rang the local bee keeping association and spoke to a very nice lady who talked a lot of sense.

Here is the plan.

No easy bee hive at all. Rubbish.

Join the bee keeping association for £30 for a year.

Start going to all their talks, demos, classes etc in September. These happen round the corner from our house (win), these will let Tilly decide if bee keeping really is something she wants to do, and gives us time over the winter and spring to sort out bee supplies and save up etc.

Hopefully, if she is still interested, by this time next year we can set up proper hives with real bees and do all bee related stuff with joy and bee longevity.

We have talked to Tilly. She is very happy with this. We are very happy with this.

Now we just have to figure out what to buy her for her birthday apart from bee keeping association membership.

My head is full of forms and phone calls and rage, and Jesus jet lag, and bee information and today Oscar was really poorly and coughed his way through last night and the day with a whoopy, croupy cough and a raging temperature and had to stay home all day, and refused cake for lunch and that made me very worried. And now he is all better, just like magic and I am floppy with relief but still a bit overwhelmed.

Cue the music…

7 responses to “Soap Opera Stylie

  1. I am so happy to hear Tilly will be joining the beekeeping association 🙂 they’re normally so lovely and it’s great that younger people are getting involved. Definitely sounds like you made the right decision and good luck with it all!

  2. I find English schooling so confusing. In Canadian public schooling, you go to the school of which you are inside the boundaries of. If it is too distant, they have to supply busing (rural/very young) or you take public transit. The funding goes with the child. If they have suddenly too many students, they hire more teachers/transfer them and, worse case, put up a ‘portable’ classroom in the schoolyard (which, admittedly isn’t brilliant to trek to/from in the winter). They occasionally redraw boundaries as populations shift, but siblings always have priority in order to keep the family at the same school. There are a few specialised programmes, for which you may go to a different school (french immersion, gifted, IB, science or technology focussed) that may have qualifying criteria or require a lottery, but everyone has the same underlying basic curriculum. Granted, if you live in an area that has a school/Principal you are not fond of, you don’t have a lot of choice except moving or private schooling or at the high school level going to one of the special programmes, but there is a lot less angst/paperwork, and all schools are reasonably good.

    As a single working mother, I would have been in deep trouble trying to deal with your trek to so many different schools each morning and afternoon. Do they just expect that all children have a stay-at-home parent that can dedicate hours each day to transporting children? Best of luck sorting things out for Oscar. Fingers crossed for you!

    • The problem here is that there are not enough schools for the numbers of children in the area all the time, particularly now with the birth rate booming and school places as rare as hen’s teeth. There are several schools in our catchment area (i.e. the geographical area we are supposed to pick the schools we want from, and to which we are apparently entitled to a place), but the quality varies hugely from school to school.

      When you apply you have to put three schools in order of preference. I NEVER do this as generally I have chosen one school I know I want my child to go to and I do not want them to fob me off with something that ‘will do’. The problem then is that they offer you whatever is left. Whatever is left are always the failing schools which everyone with half a brain does their level best to avoid sending their children to. There are always places available at these schools because most people who are in any way bothered about their child’s education will do anything to get their children out of these schools.

      I’m lucky in that I am happy to home school until I get what I want, or am offered an alternative that I am happy with.

  3. Tilly birthday suggestion – Zoo keeper day
    and a pair of purple doc martins?

  4. Excellent suggestions both, but tortoise wins hands down.

  5. Might Tilly entertain the thought of her very own tutu, if all else fails? Or, perhaps, Oscar might want one?..

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