Sunday, 11 April 2010

Keyhole of Opportunity

The school (or nursery, in my case) run isn't the most fun part of the day, not least because of the pressing issue of what to wear. There's the fact that the Princess's nursery is a good 15-minute drive away, which entails readying 3 recalcitrant children, grabbing packed lunches and changes of clothes, dragging everyone out to the car and then taking on the other school-runners in traffic. At the other end, it's the same in reverse, minus the traffic but with the addition of polite chit chat, children poking The Bub's head, the reading of a settling-in story which somehow results in half the kids at the nursery hanging around my ankles and finally, trying to extricate Master C, who's by now upset at least 3 other children, tipped out a few boxes of puzzles and is not happy about being parted from his sister for the day.

So on the all-too-infrequent occasions that the Bearded One starts work late, I seize the chance to leave the boys with him and relish the relative ease of one child.

Driving back through nearby Chi Chi Village, I feel relaxed; serene even. Ah, the freedom! I stop at a zebra crossing for a pedestrian. A boutique lies to the left of me; to the right, a gourmet deli. In front of me: a rare and golden opportunity. I reach out with both hands, and grab it.

"Terrible traffic ... I've barely moved in 10 minutes ... bloody school run mums. Yeah yeah, road works too " I say into the phone, eyeing the clear roads with not a shred of guilt. "Everything alright there? I may as well just pull over and grab some bread and a coffee - you want one? Back soon." I park, run into the boutique and tear clothes from the rails.

I'm just in Primark skinnies, an American Vintage tee and Ash hi-tops but a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania top is nothing short of transformative. I've never much seen the point of all that draping and asymmetry before but I look instantly longer, leaner, better. Hang on though: so does the assistant hovering at my shoulder - and she's not wearing VWA. I turn, stare at her, turn back to the mirror. Yep, as I thought: fairground mirror. Oh well, that's £160 that I don't need to spend, I guess.

It's not just the mirror that makes a Bobi maxi in Caribbean blue work, however - it's perfect: just the right weight for a flattering drape and a shade of blue that makes my olive skin look like I've been on holiday for a month. And if I were going on holiday for a month, that keyhole detail at the bust would be fine. Not so great, however, for a summer of local parks and sandpits, especially given the high proportion of dads around in these recession-stricken times. On the other hand, it might make me somewhat popular. Certainly more popular than I will be with the Bearded One if I don't hotfoot it home pronto. Bugger! The bread. I bolt across the road to the deli, buy a loaf and chuck it in the front seat of the car.

"Sorry," I pant, huffing in to a remarkably calm, albeit messy scene. "Those Village mums, all in the deli with their poncey coffee orders ... took ages ..."

The Bearded One looks at me through narrowed eyes. "Uh huh. So where's the coffee I asked for then?"


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