Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wrestling with the sticky backed plastic

Like childbirth, you only remember the horrors of covering schoolbooks with plastic just when it is all just about to start again. Every year I fall into the same three traps, a) assuming it is going to be much better this time around, b) that of course we must have rolls of contact, as the sticky backed plastic is called here, lurking around in the house, there is definitely no need to buy any more, c) it won’t take any time at all so we can leave it until the last moment. Once you combine these factors with a small child whose stress factors reach the operatic heights of an ageing diva hitting a top note as she wails that the books have to be covered TODAY, you are into uncharted territory with a dawn raid to the newsagents followed by a half hour intensive session of book covering over the breakfast table. Weetabix and toast were shoved out of the way as both youngest child and I painstakingly cut out book-sized coverings. At this point the fun, and the bad language begins, for those Brits old enough to remember it is like some ghastly episode of the Generation Game. It is completely impossible to get the plastic onto the book without lines and bubbles everywhere and as I discovered last year when you try to ease the plastic off to have another go you rip the book cover beneath. Both youngest child and I looked somewhat dubiously at the end product. “They’ll do”, I said firmly and packed her off to school. Inevitably the rest of her classmates are guaranteed to have the kind of mothers who can cover a book without wrinkles in between whipping up gourmet suppers and a round of cupcakes, however just think of the fun she will have moving the air bubbles around.

Lawn now covered with chicken wire arrangements designed to protect the grass seed beneath from Pluto’s ravages. Pluto is currently lounging provocatively on top of largest patch of chicken wire, presumably waiting for sprouting grass to tickle his tummy before he digs it all up. Oldest child inspired by Valentine’s Day tried to persuade Simon that he secretly does love the dog. Simon was quite firm in his denial.

All this talk of secret love made me think however what every female wants, or rather needs at this time of year, is an unsolicited, anonymous, romantic Valentine’s card – it would put a spring into all our steps. I write this somewhat wistfully as I have only ever had one mystery Valentine’s card – and rather pathetically my mother and Jean our cleaning lady were the twin suspects in that one! Anyway something to note in your diaries for next year - ensure February is a happy month in the Ling household, either send me a valentine or offer to help covering books.

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