Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Category: Life (page 3 of 12)

Story of mum – the dad edition

You may remember from my post about Britmum’s live that one of the few sessions I truly enjoyed was that run by Pippa from Story of Mum. I had the pleasure of chatting with her over a beer in the evening about the Story of Mum exhibition and quite honestly I loved it. I loved the idea of mum’s doing something together to remind the world that they’re not just mum’s, they are a whole bunch of other things too and shouldn’t be defined by that one word.

Now you may wonder what the hell this has got to do with a dad who writes a blog? Well this awesome exhibition is on it’s holiday’s at the moment and is visiting a different blog each day. That blogger then gets the chance to add something to the exhibition. Which is where I come in with a world exclusive. Yes, that’s right for the first time a dad is hosting this exhibition. Yours truly and I definitely don’t feel under any pressure to get this right, no sireee!

First the curate bit

Here I’m required to share something from the exhibition galleries, there are many photos, videos and poems written by mum’s in the exhibition but one really grabbed my attention. This beautiful video by Betty B describes so well the emotional rollercoaster I’ve seen the lady of the manor experience in her time as a mum. But I like how through all the challenges Betty sounds so excited and passionate about being a mum. Yes she is many other things as well but she’s proud of being a mum and all that comes with it.

Do take time to watch this video and also have a look at the many other wonderful entries into the exhibition that you can find on the Story of Mum website.

Now the create bit

So now the tough bit, my entry into the exhibition, I feel very honoured to be the first dad hosting this so I hope my entry can live up to the challenge. I did think about getting a photo of the lady of the manor in here with her ‘I’m a mum and…’ entry, but actually I’d like to share the below prose with you which captures how this dad see’s mums and one mum in particular who amazes me every day.

Mum.  Mother. Mummy.

Many names but the same meaning, a loss of identify, of personality.

But deep down it’s still there, a glimmer every so often of a life that seems so long ago.

The tidal wave of parenthood takes over, washes you out, strips you down.

But you don’t panic, you stay calm, fight the urge to scream. Mostly.

One day you decide enough, you take control, you restore the balance.

The same person, but different, that smile returns. A glint in your eye.

A reminder of where it began. This adventure we embarked on together.

My best friend, cake baker extraordinaire, owner of the best smile in the west, red wine lover, Peanut M&M addict.

Oh and greatest mum in the world. 

story of mum exhibition

Dear Lady of the manor….happy anniversay

Dear Lady of the manor,

Anniversary cardsWho would have thought when we had that first snog (and yes it was a snog, we were teenagers) 14 years ago that we’d be here celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary.

What is even more amazing is when we house (and dog) sat for friends of your parents in 2001 and spent hours talking about how we’d like a house in the country like that with dogs and children we never knew we’d end up living 1/2 a mile up the road! Yet here we are with our close to perfect house in the country, 2 gorgeous little children and a crazy springer spaniel.

Not only that we are, for now at least, realising our dream for you to be a stay at home mum. We’ve been through a lot to get here, but we’ve worked hard and more importantly worked as a team. Matilda and Henry have definitely tested that team work at times but whenever we’re apart it’s absolutely clear that we have achieved what we have because of each other.

It’s easy to forget the ‘us’ in this relationship now we have 2 little people to think about, but the spark is always there, it never goes out. Your kisses can still send tingles down my spine, a waft of Clinque Happy gets my heart beating faster and a flash of your smile with a glint in your takes me right back to the day we met.

I love that day by day we are creating our own stories and history, I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

Happy anniversary my beautiful girl.


The Fool

tipping 114

This isn’t how it’s supposed to be

I don’t want to be angry.

I don’t want to resent spending time with you, I shouldn’t feel like playing with you is wasted time, that there is something better to do.

But it’s hard, full days at work then often meetings in the evening. Trying to provide for my family so they don’t have to worry about food on the table. Making sure I ‘grow’ and ‘work on my development areas’ so that at the next appraisal I get a pay rise, any pay rise.

Fitting in the ‘me time’ when only the birds are awake, dragging myself out of bed to get my much needed fix of running. But even this time isn’t sacred, a downward spiral of who can get up the earliest where soon I might as well not go to bed.

I shouldn’t get annoyed at you for this but I do just like when you grab my leg and start whining to be picked up when I’m trying to write a blog. I shouldn’t, but I do and I hate myself for it.

One cheeky smile or seeing you ride around the house on your trucker and the guilt hits me. This shouldn’t be about me.

But sometimes it feels like it needs to be.

I don’t want to be angry.

A window into my mind

Music does funny thing to humans doesn’t it? It has such control of our minds whether we say we like music or not. The playing of the opening 5 seconds of a song can immediately transport you back to another time and place. You can smell the place, you can feel the emotions you experienced at the time and you can describe it in intricate detail.

The power of one single song to instantly change your mood for better or worse. We all have them, songs that we listen to when we want to relax or when we want motivation for running. Songs that we listen to when we want to remember or when we want to forget. Songs that remind us of someone and songs that make us cry.

When I listen to Elton John – Tiny Dancer a little montage plays in my head like in a film of my gap year in Vancouver. Of all the places we went, the people we met and the things we did. I can remember sitting around a fire on the beach on my last day sharing one last beer with friends. I see the face of the lady of the manor as she arrives at the airport having not seen her for 4 months. I see the road trips in a clapped out Volkswagen Jetta and doing Chinese fire drills at traffic lights. I see the magical Christmas day at Whistler where it was just me and the lady of the manor in the cheapest hotel in town.

The whole of Urban Hymns by The Verve takes me back to being a teenager, the long summer holiday after finishing GCSE’s when I couldn’t get enough of new music and bought 2 CD’s a week on payday. Paul Weller – Moon on your pyjamas instantly transports me back to snogging the lady of the manor in my bedroom as a little 17 year old, a teenage romance that we could never imagine would bring us here.

Croyde bay

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to heaven means Croyde bay and surfing to me, the first place I heard it as we travelled down in a mates VW Campervan. 4 guys in the van and I think we all had a bit of a moment as conversation stopped and we just listened.  Body rockers – I like the way you move reminds me of my older brother who was bloody obsessed with it for a while.

The list goes on and of course keeps getting bigger with each day that passes, alas you can’t choose which songs are picked so there is always a risk that One Direction feature in there.

A fascinating characteristic of the human mind and I hope I never lose that window into my memories.

A class act

Not since someone first published how to work out your porn name (or the festive elf name version) has Twitter been so obsessed with one topic as today. It would seem that despite all the claims of “I’m an individual” or “why do we always have to categorise things” that at heart us Brits truly are obsessed with class and which part of the hierarchy we fit into.

Ben on beach in France

Holidaying in France, middle class surely?

I don’t think there is another country on the planet where the concept of class is so ingrained in the psyche as Britain. We may think that we’ve left behind the days of Victorian Britain where there was this real distinction between working and middle class but it would seem the reality is something different. Sure there may apparently be 7 categories of class now with some weird and wonderful names but it all boils down to the same thing doesn’t it?

We want to belong to a group and we want to be able to complain about the people in the other groups.

I have no doubt the Daily Mail is having a field day over this topic, blaming the rich politicians who studied at top universities for creating divides in society while at the same time claiming that those at the bottom cause cancer and probably killed Princess Diana. (I haven’t checked but is that close?).

My problem in all this is that I don’t think I fit a category, I’m unique (or as the lady of the manor says “you’re definitely one of a kind”). I have a 4×4 and a Springer Spaniel yet I run with him in lycra not walk him in Barbour. I went to a former polytechnic university yet I’m  now a chartered accountant. I buy meat from a farm shop yet I wear Next not Boden.

Well now I just feel lost, which category am I supposed to be in?

Perhaps I’m just confused? Yes that’s it, I’m in the confused class. The confused, sausage eating, good life wannabe, crazy runner class. It’s somewhere between chav and too posh to push.


What class would you be in if you could choose?

Toilet cubicle ghosts

Warning; this post contains toilet based humour, if you are about to eat or of a nervous disposition you are advised to proceed with caution. Side effects may include laughter, vomiting and disgust.

Picture the scene; you walk into the toilets at work to, you know, drop the kids off, and head towards the cubicles. There are 3 cubicles in these toilets of which one is occupied so you head for the vacant one at the other end (no one ever uses the cubicle next door do they? that’s just bad toilet etiquette).

You take your seat and get on with the job in hand.

A few minutes ensue as it’s best not to rush these things isn’t it? Especially when there isn’t a toddler trying to open the door and see what you are doing. During these few minutes there isn’t a single sound from the occupied cubicle.

Not a sound.

Not a single breath, fidget, rustle of clothing.

You mind starts whirring. Perhaps the door looks looked but actually isn’t? No way to test that because you’re not going to try and push the door are you? Maybe the person has passed out from the exertion? Again I’d rather wait for someone to notice a missing person than ask if they’re ok.

So what now?

Well you will of course do a sneaky look under the cubicle from the sinks to make sure there are some feet visible. This time there are. But who does that? Who sits there quieter than a mouse listening to you go to the toilet? What are they hiding exactly? It’s no secret what they’re doing so why not get on with it?

To be honest it freaks me out a bit that they just sit there. Next time I may well bang on their cubicle door in the style of Sheldon.

That’ll show them.


Sunny drive to workThe last few days I’ve found myself with an extra spring in my step, singing and laughing along to the radio on my commute rather than simply trying to stay awake.

Why you may ask? Why the sudden good mood? Was it the annual valentines day treat from the lady of the manor? Actually no, something far simpler.


All of a sudden it is daylight for pretty much all my commute to and from work. Not only daylight either, daylight with blue sky and the sun shining. Weather that is good for the soul, that helps us defrost a little bit from our semi hibernation over the winter.

It’s probably also one of the few times that I actually want to listen to the professional warblers Elbow “throw your curtains wide, one day like this a year will do me right”. (and repeat 50 times until the song finishes, song writing seems pretty easy doesn’t it). Sums up the feeling perfectly I reckon.

So here’s to the dawn breaking, to snowdrops and daffodils, to birds singing and lambs in the fields, to green grass and windows wide open, to going out in a t-shirt and the removal of socks.

I can almost smell the first BBQ of the year.

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