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Memoirs Of An Embarrassing Mother – Part Three

Illustration courtesy of Ruth Pickering

Naming a baby isn’t the easiest job in the world. So many things to think of, so many names to avoid. Try and find a name that suits the baby and doesn’t upset any family members. How did we go about choosing a name? We actually bought a book, read it through hundreds of times both coming up with suggestions. Can’t choose that one. I used to go to school with someone with that name and they were really odd! Can’t choose that name with our surname, it doesn’t sound right.

Then it was the complicated initial effect when we did have a potential name. What do the letters make up? Having worked in offices dealing with people, you would be absolutely amazed at the names people have given their children. Sometimes I wonder if it was purely for the laugh or to make dinner party conversation. With Social Media these days even the simplest of names can have negative affects…. Just take Susan Boyle for instance!

We weren’t going to be like that we would cover every eventuality. After spending months deliberating, we had guessed we would be having a boy. Family history had something to do with that. I am still not entirely sure, 25 years later, we ever even had a girl’s name! That could have been another whole embarrassing story!

We decided on the name Daniel for the first name. I had a great Uncle Dan, we both like Daniel and both liked Dan – sorted. Middle name, we wanted a family name. That was easy there were so many Henry’s on both sides of the family that this was the obvious choice. The baby would be Daniel Henry Austin. Couldn’t think of anything that would embarrass him either as an adult or child, other than his mother telling the story, when baby Dan is 25. Daniel was born at Rush Green Hospital in Dagenham and much to everyone’s amusement the nurses and midwives thought it hilarious that the baby had got personalised sheets from the moment he was born. Personalised sheets we asked? Yes all the bedding is stamped in big letters DHA (Dagenham Health Authority). You can’t always cover every eventuality but as they said even Royalty doesn’t have personalised sheets that quickly!

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Memoirs Of An Embarrassing Mother – Part Three

Illustration courtesy of Ruth Pickering

You know you are getting older when……..

Sports Personality of the Year at school. I arrive late as my coaching class doesn’t actually finish until the presentation has started. An amazing technological feat is going on. Names change automatically as people give their speeches and photos match the names and awards. I sneak past everyone to get to my seat right at the front of the hall. Pull out my “oh so important” speech notes. Panic sets in as the hall is so dark I can’t read my notes, Realising how important my typed words are to the whole evening, I whisper to the person next to me, who I might add is not of the age where reading glasses get more vital. I had printed my speech in a large font but not taken into account the lack of light. The stage had spotlights and my colleague told me I would be fine when I was up on stage. I had every confidence until I stepped up to the podium. Read my notes – I don’t think so, First thought wing it, second I can’t do that as if I get my names in the wrong order the whole evening will be ruined. Seconds seem like hours as I made some rambling talking up, about not being able to read my notes and asking for some help. My saviour!! One of my teaching colleagues jumped up with a mobile phone torch which she held over my notes. Hey Presto, that large font did work after all and I could read my speech. Saved by a torch but I certainly got more of a laugh than my typed words would ever have done. Tonight it is the next awards evening and my typed words will be so large that I will be able to read them even if it is almost pitch black!!

 

 

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Memoirs Of An Embarrassing Mother – Part Two

Illustration courtesy of Ruth Pickering

Whilst standing at the bottom of a ride at a water park in Spain (Aquapolis in Torrevieja to be exact!), I was aware of a large family group standing next to me. It appeared there was a family grudge match about to take place on one of the water slides.

Grandma was racing her three grandchildren. The whole event was to be recorded on a video camera for posterity. The rest of the family were standing at the bottom cheering, mostly it has to be said for Grandma. The more the crowd yelled, the more people gathered at the bottom. The race was set to start, nerves must have been jangling at the top of the ride as the racers took up their start positions. Grandma looked terrified. The grandchildren looked excited. The lifeguard at the top held his flag in anticipation. Flag held high and then dropped with the race commencing.

It was a good start from all, but with Grandma definitely being the most sedate. The three grandchildren were all in close contention as they were getting close to the finish. Grandma was shrieking loudly as she was speeding down the slide. The children landed with loud splashes heads bobbing up yelling “I won” almost simultaneously. The three of them stood up just in time to cheer Grandma on for the last few metres of the slide. Not only were they yelling and cheering but so were the family and the large gathered crowd. Everyone was watching. Grandma slipped into the pool in the most dainty fashion possible. She stood up to receive her applause and accolades. Arms aloft, huge grin on her face and her bikini top around her waist. I wonder how many times that video has been shown or spoken about. Not sure who was most embarrassed Grandma or the rest of the family or the large crowd watching.

As I said I am glad that it didn’t happen to me but bet that family has used that video evidence on numerous occasions and poor Grandma probably has never been allowed to forget what happened on the water ride at Aquapolis!

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Memoirs Of An Embarrassing Mother – Part One

Illustration courtesy of Ruth Pickering

Prior to our summer holiday one year, my nephews were talking excitedly about a new ride at a water park. They both told me it was such fun that I needed to go on it when we visited the park a few weeks later.

As soon as we got to the water park we spied the new ride. It looked fairly high, you sat in a rubber ring and got pushed down the slide a bit like a boomerang. You kept going up and down until you eventually came to a halt. My boys raced to the top yelling, “Come on Mum.” I hadn’t quite realised how high or how steep or how fast you went until I got to the top. My youngest nephew had done this ride! I couldn’t go back home and tell them I had wimped out.

My major panic was falling out of the ring, so my logic told me to wedge myself firmly into the ring, then there was absolutely no possibility I could fall out. What I hadn’t taken into account was that my bottom would be touching the slide as I went down. Once wedged inside the ring, there was nothing I could do and as I was tipped over the edge I realised my huge mistake.

I wasn’t going to fall out but my bottom was literally burning as I went back and forth on the slide. Hugely relieved, firstly that I had conquered the ride and secondly that I hadn’t fallen out. I hated to admit it but I was actually in a large amount of pain. Deciding, with all the people at the bottom watching I couldn’t admit to the pain, I delicately unwedged myself from my rubber ring, trying  to hold back the tears. With a fixed grin hiding the pain I walked or hobbled back to my boys who were waiting for me at the bottom.

It was at that point I realised not only had a burnt a hole in my bikini bottoms but actually burnt my bottom. I had to walk back to my sun bed with one child in front and the other behind hiding the tattered bikini bottoms. That was the end of my water park rides that day. Back at home I told my nephews that I done the ride and how proud they should be of me. They both grinned and laughed and chose that moment to tell me, it had been way too high and fast for them and they were only joking, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but I do know I still have the scars to prove I did conquer the ride!