I spent a whole Sunday with my deranged parents...sorry, that should read...estranged parents and two of my meddlesome off-spring and I haven't been feeling quite the 'full ticket' since.
I drove a two hundred mile round trip to visit my father, accompanied by my mother, who kept up a constant stream of nonsensical chatter, two kids that argued and fought the whole bloody journey and crammed into the boot/backseat was my sister's 6ft venetian blinds.
(I cant even be bothered to go into the 'blind' story, but needless to say they will probably be the most well-travelled blinds in the world once they reach their destination, which is The Netherlands, because Jaye didn't pay for shipping!).
I chatted with my mother about blogging and writing and how much fun it is to meet other people. She gave me a withered look and said, 'What do you want to do all that writing for?'
Me: Because I enjoy it.
Mother: It must take up all your time.
Me: Not really, but I do like it. It's like a hobby.
Mother: You're not being 'groomed' are you?
Me (exasperated): What would I be 'groomed' for?
Mother: Someone might whisk you away and you'll never be seen again.
Me (spluttering with disbelief): Who is going to 'groom' a 40 year old woman with 3 kids and want to lure her away?
Honestly! Sometimes this woman's mind beggars belief!
After two hours of listening to this kind of crap, it was a relief when we finally arrived at Father's.
I have not seen him for 3 months because of my study, exam, the students staying with us and generally life getting in the way and it did sadden me to see a deterioration in his physical appearance and his mental health.
However, despite this and the fact that my parents have now been divorced for about ten years or so, it didn't stop them falling back into their old patterns.
My father seems to have become besotted with Cliff Richard of recent, and put on a DVD which he turned up full volume and started to click his fingers and dance to.
I was aghast! Cliff sodding Richard, belting out for all and sundry to hear.
Mother turned the volume down by the remote and then Father turned it up again manually. Every time Father turned it up, Mother turned in down. This went on for a good 20 mins, with Father exclaiming, 'What is wrong with this telly? Its not as loud as it used to be'. He'd forgotten there was a remote for it.
My mother has always been a bit sneaky.
My parents behaviour had captured Olly and Amber's attention, who had now finally stopped bickering, and were watching my parents with amusement. I just rolled my eyes.
We then had to bugger about taking the 6ft venetian blinds out of the car, to fit the back seat back in the car, in order to get everyone loaded up and go to the park. It was a right pain and I lost my temper when my fingers got trapped and ranted about how my sister was too tight to pay for shipping costs.
After much ado, we finally got to the park and it was lovely. Games of cricket, a lake where people were playing with their little motorised boats and a pretty cafe. It took an absolute age to get to the cafe, with father shuffling along at a snails pace and Olly, who kept running off to chase the cricket ball.
I bought lunch and we settled on the grass sunning ourselves. Unfortunately some insect was also hungry and took a flipping bite out of me. My arm has now swollen up to the size of a balloon.
We managed to bundle everyone back in the car, dropped father off at his home and more messing about with those blasted blinds ensued.
We finally said our goodbyes.
Me: You wont forget we came and took you out will you Dad?
Me: Just now.
Dad: Why? Where did we go?
Me: To the park! With the lake and the boats and the cricket.
Dad: Oh, yes! That was nice.
He had probably forgotten by the time we drove to the end of the street.
On a different note, there has been a lot of unusual activity going on at my neighbours house Nil Points. (See Got My Goat for description of irritating neighbour).
He has had a lot of visitors, this time in twos or threes. Looked like they were all paying homage to something, bringing gifts of Frankincense and Muir no doubt. I think his wife has dropped their sprog. It could also account for the fact he has not banged on the wall for a week. Finally, he must have something else to occupy his teeny, tiny, bird brain.
I wonder which bird Nil will turn out to be, the one on the left or the one on the right. Either way I'm feeling a tad 'birdbrained'.