When I returned from my divine time in Disney, I had to drive straight to Mummy’s Holland Park abode to collect the irritants. From the way she had told me to hurry back to Angleterria, I was anticipating a scene of the utmostest calamity and devastation at her place, but none did I find. All cool: Max hiding in a wardrobe with his iPad so as to avoid his grandmother’s ban on Minecraft, and Milly, somewhat thinner than I remembered (but people always do seem thinner after a sojourn in the northern Americas, don’t they?), half-heartedly doing a jigsaw at the kitchen table, underneath which she held her phone, Whatsapping away with her little friends. They’re so cute at this age. It really is incrediblé how fast five year-olds can type. She has barely learnt to write, but wow can she Whatsapp! That’s my girl : )
Mummy was at the Aga, making juniper berry venison with Jerusalem artichokes and unfeasibly small onions (I do love her cooking! I wish we had more home cooking at my house hashtag sadface.)
She insisted on telling me absolutely everything that the children had done over Xmas and New Year’s – went to Auntie this, saw cousins thems. I wasn’t in the least bit interested, but her focused obliviousosity gave me the chance to message Phil, and to catch up on all the important Facebook news I’d missed during my journey back. I refuse to pay for wifi on planes. Upper Class tickets are expensive enough as it is! I’m not going to subsidise the poors in Economy a penny more than I absolutely have to.
The next thing I heard was Mummy saying, “blablabla-bla-bla-bloo, so you’d be wise to leave now, before the traffic gets bad”.
“Oh”, I replied, “I thought we ought to stay the night. I’m really rather jet lagged, and my chi is flip flopping all over the place, as you can imagine. And you’re doing my favourite sups: juniper berry venison… with Jerusalem artichokes… and unfeasibly small onions. So it would be nice for you if we stayed to keep you company…” –
“Emma-Jane, have you heard nothing I’ve been telling you? I have someone coming round later for dinner. Which is why you’d better get the children’s things together, and go home. You know what the traffic’s like. Or have you forgotten? Not quite the same as Singapore!”
[Ha, like I didn’t know that! I had just spent millennia getting through customs and driving from the airport in the pelting rain. Had it been Singapore, it would’ve taken me half an hour from the time the plane landed to be lying in my rooftop pool with a bottle of Veuve Click. Like I didn’t know!! How totes dare she?? Rub salt in the wound much, Mum-ski?! What a b***h.]
Not one to take things personally, nor blow matters beyond reasonable proportion, I said, “Fine!”, and stormed off to gather the irritants’ paraphernalia, apparently quadrupled in volume due to Xmas presents. They had quite enough stuff already, without people bloody giving them more! There’s nothing for it: we’ll just have to move to a bigger house. I’m sort of running low on money (dunno where that vast sum my father gave me went, though I should really know given that I did an online accountancy course when I sacked my accountant), but I could just get a job or something.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it isn’t easy to fit three people and shedloads of luggage into a Maserati, but given that needs musted (Mummy was not d’accord with me leaving the gifts or even one of the children at hers), I had little choice, did I, dear readers? As we squeezed into the car, I informed her in a completely not passive-aggressive way that, by demanding our immediate departure, she was risking the lives of two of her precious grandchildren, and her only daughter (apart from the other one, my sister), whilst simultaneously depriving said daughter of much-loved juniper berry venison with Jerusalem artichokes and yes, unfeasibly small onions… Which basically fed into and compounded every other moment of deprivation, disappointment, and dreadfully dire mothering she had perpetrated against my person from conception onwards. As I made sure to let her know.
We said goodbye – well, she said goodbye to the kids – and I sped us home, at least enjoying the roar of the fine engine and the appreciative glances from gentleman drivers. The open road reminded me that I was free, and in spite of Max and Milly’s protestations, I put the top down. With the wind in my fiery locks and Beyoncé blasting loud, I felt myself to be on Orchard Road again (somewhat chillier, of course), recalling the days of cruising from one happy, warm place to another happy, warm place.
Then the car in front came to a halt, as had every car beyond for as far as my azure almond eyes could see. It was really cold. I turned the music down, and flicked the switch to raise the hood. It took almost as long to cross London as it had to cross the Atlantic. I say “almost”, only because I am not prone to exaggeration.
Thanks to Mummy’s salt rubbing, I am now missing Singas more than ever.
So this was me after last night’s gig in Soho. I’m doing my happy face like a true pro, but inside my extremely awesome biker jacket, my heart was sobbing, “Take me back to Singapore!”
Potential repatriates take note. It’s not great.