Friday, 1 March 2013

Two Weekends Ago (Surprise Surprise)

I finally got round to seeing Les Miserables last night. Me, Holly, B and Kayt went, tissues at the ready. Obviously I loved it and I cried on and off throughout... But the experience confirmed my suspicions that I should stop going to the pictures until I can afford to hire out the entire cinema for myself: other people just aren't very good at watching films. Towards the end, people laughed whenever Jean Valjean started singing and when he sang the words 'who am I?' someone shouted: "Jean Valjean!"


Also, I knew Kayt would make a joke about Jean Valjean being a paedophile because her mind is a dirty dishrag. Once the lights came up, I accused Kayt of sullying the good name of Jean Valjean before she'd even said anything and she went, "Ey! Nobody strokes their daughter's hair like that..."

I used to think that I wanted Hugh Jackman to be my Mr Lover Lover, but now I think I just want him to be my dad.

Does that awkward silence mean I should book myself in for some therapy sessions?


Now I can tell you about the exciting thing that happened to me two weekends ago!

(Define 'exciting', I hear you say, well let's say it's half way between finding a fiver in your pocket and a magic carpet floating through your open window, with a little mouse sat on it, singing 'Proud Mary' and dancing like Tina Turner.)

On the Friday morning I got a Facebook message from my mum's friend Mandy who've I've not seen for about ten years. (It's weird because we're not friends on Facebook, yet not only did the message not go into my 'Other' inbox, the one that I almost never check, but I received the message on my Blackberry, which  only alerts me to Facebook stuff when it can be arsed.) This is what the message said:

Hi LBM, Mandy here.....what are you up to this weekend? Your mum and stepdad are coming to stay for my 50th birthday party on Saturday....I was talking to your mum last night and she was saying that she's really missing you....Just looked at flights to heathrow - and they are not that bad (in price) thought it might be fun for you to turn up for the party too (I will pay for your ticket and pick you up from heathrow which is just down the road from us) - you can come to the party and stay here saturday night - then fly back sunday/monday? Let me know! M xxx

Money Karma in action, biyatch!

I replied straight away that I would be up for it, obviously. I'd actually been really looking forward to having Sunday lunch at T.C and O.J's, but it would have to wait for another weekend- my mum never goes to London and the chance to pull off a theatrical, Cilla Black-style 'surprise surprise' was too good to miss.

The fact that I was supposed to be working at my au pair job on Saturday morning wasn't a factor in my decision making-the family and I both know that Saturdays are bullshit. All I do is play with the toddler for a couple of hours while the parents 'go shopping' i.e. eat brunch/drink coffee/hide out upstairs, hungover. The only reason I continuously drag myself out of bed on a Saturday morning after little or no sleep, bleary-eyed and light-headed and wishing I could pull off sunglasses; is because admitting that my presence on Saturdays is superfluous would be like pointing out that The Emperor is stark bollock naked: yes, Saturdays are a bit pointless, but come to think of it, what is the point of me being there any day of the week? The next thing you know I'd be packing up my Cinderella Room, humming that little-known Craig David tune: 'You Don't Miss Your Water ('Til The Well Runs Dry)'.

Anyway, I told the au pair mum I wouldn't be able to work that weekend because my mum's friend had offered to fly me to London to faire une surprise. Maybe she thought it was an elaborate lie I had fabricated to get out of work, but she just said 'ok' and that was that.

I was so excited, but also thought something would probably go wrong. I didn't allow myself to think it was actually going to happen until Mandy forwarded me the confirmation email- she'd bought the flights and I was going to see MY MUMMY!

That night me, Kayt and Julia were supposed to go and see SBTRKT at Social Club and I'd been looking forward to it for weeks... it was bloody cancelled, wasn't it? They said it was a 'family emergency' which sounded pretty dark and they've since rescheduled it for the end of May.

So that was disappointing (although, in a way it was lucky, because if I had gone I would have taken my passport for ID and maybe it would have been stolen) but we had a good night anyway- me and Kayt went round to T.C and O.J's and drank a lot of gin. They had their friend Sarah staying who is an actor so we chatted about drama school and we all played The Name in a Hat Game. We were going to go to Chez Moune, but before we knew it, it was 2am, so we decided to stay for one more drink and just go home. Suddenly, we were on our way home and it was 6am...

The next morning I left Kayt's at noon to go to the airport, feeling excited but slighty nervy with Travel Panic as well. On my way to the airport, my mum messaged me asking if Mandy had been in touch with me... Turns out my stepdad had told my mum that Mandy asked him for my email address. He'd told her not to bother contacting me as I would probably be really busy! Luckily, he hadn't mentioned to my mum what Mandy had wanted to ask me, so she still had no idea. As I sat on the Roissy Bus, watching the sludgy suburbs of Paris slipping away, I chatted to my mum on Whats App about how I was on route to my au pair job... HA.

The whole thing went without a hitch. I felt quite glam, trotting about in my heels, looking for the British Airways Check In desk. I half-hoped I would get talking to a lovely business man/music producer who- just like me- lived  a very exciting, jet-set lifestyle, splitting his time between Paris and London. Obviously I didn't meet anyone (otherwise I wouldn't be blogging would I? I'd be holed up in The Ritz, ordering room service and waiting for my new lover/financial backer to come back from work so we can discuss how he's going to turn my blog into a book... woah what was that? Oh, it was just Emily Pankhurst rolling over in her grave) but I did have a nice flight. We touched down in London at 14:40, meaning I had travelled back in time, as we left Paris at 14:50.

Mandy picked me up from the airport and we drove to her house which is only about twenty minutes away. It's one of those areas of England that feels really alien to me- it's all woods and country clubs and weird chains that nobody up North has ever heard of (Wild Bean Cafe, for example).

My mum and stepdad weren't arriving for two hours, so we had plenty of time to discuss 'the surprise'. Mandy thought that I should open the door to them, but Mandy's husband thought I should hide upstairs and come down once my mum had settled in a bit... Mandy's two kids were running around getting more and more excited and we were worried that they would blurt it out as soon as my mum came through the door. In the end, we decided that I should hide upstairs. Mandy would make them a cup of tea and then, when she asked them if they wanted biscuits, I should come in with the biscuits.

Suddenly Mandy's son was shouting, "They're here! They're here!"

I ran upstairs and hid in the little boy's bedroom. All the lights were off and dusk was falling. It was that soft, half-light that always makes me feel sad and excited at the same time. I lay on the bed, my heart pounding, listening to their voices downstairs. I heard my mum's voice and it was really weird. It was one of those moments that you want to savor forever, the anticipation of surprising my mum, the light and the stillness and being completely alone, birds singing somewhere beyond the back garden...

"Do you want any biscuits?" Mandy said loudly.

Her two kids both came running up the stairs 'to get the biscuits', but I was already out of the room, walking towards them and down the stairs...

I walked into the kitchen and came face to face with my mum, who was sitting down at the breakfast bar. She put both hands to her face like that scream painting. (In dramatic moments, I always make a note of how somebody reacts, in case I ever have to re-enact it on stage.)

Needless to say, she was very surprised. Later on, when she'd recovered a bit, she said, "But you told me you were going to work today!"

Ho ho ho.

Mandy was having her party at the local health club, it was like a proper English 'do'- the caterers served curry, rice and poppadums and the DJ had one of those weird, cheesy voices that slide up and down and he played a lot of ABBA. I couldn't believe how cheap the drinks were. I was the least drunk person there and also the youngest, by about ten years... At the end of the night I went round collecting all the balloons while everyone else danced energetically to 'Gangnam Style'.

The next day we went for a walk in the woods and then we went for fish and chips. Then, at about half four, my mum and stepdad had to drop me off early at the airport, because they'd already made plans to have lunch with my stepdad's friend who has just had a baby. I got a bit teary while I was waiting at the airport and told myself to remember the feeling, otherwise I'll never leave Paris.

My flight was delayed by an hour, which meant I had to wait in the airport for three and a half hours in total. I eventually got home at about half one in the morning.

And that was the end of my little, unexpected adventure.


  1. Awww, that's so nice that you got to see your mum!

    They probably don't have mince and cheese pies in the UK, cos nowhere does (whyyyyyy?), but the Wild Bean Cafe in NZ does the BEST mince and cheese pies! And when I was a student there was one handily located within 5 minutes' stumbling distance for my regulation hangover pie, energy drink and Sunday paper. Good times!

    1. Mince and cheese pie? I wonder why they don't do them in the UK, it sounds so English! And yep, it was really nice to see my mum. If only it was as easy for you to nip back to New Zealand...

  2. Mums are nice.
    Gwan's Mum x

    1. Haha it's so cute how you both read my blog!

  3. That sounds like an excellent made for the movies kind of weekend :)

    1. Ha, maybe a 'made for TV movie'...

  4. I've always dreamed of just showing up at my parents' house in Canada to surprise them, though I worry one of them would drop dead from a sudden heart arrhythmia.

    So glad you got to spend a weekend with your Mum. This post had happiness and excitement coming out of every pore :)

    P.S. It's Crystal - too lazy to sign into Google