Off on a school trip with my adorable child number two, who is still, bless her, of an age to be enthusiastic about my accompanying the class – though she did, at one point, turn to me and say, ‘Mummy, you’re shouting.’ After that, I know that my days of ‘helping’ the teachers (by chatting with the other mums and scoffing all the snacks) are sadly numbered. While this knowledge comes with a great stab of pain – my baby girl is moving off into the vortex of teen hormones which has already claimed so many others – there are also advantages. I think Dante would have struggled to describe the very special circle of hell created by thirty-seven children in a closed off lunch room.
Still, these trips are always educational. Obviously I don’t mean in the sense that anyone learned anything about the Tudors yesterday. The girls rushed past all the exhibitions at a dizzying speed, the better to get to the few crumbs of snack we’d left, and run about whooping in the grounds. The teachers pretended to be discussing who was going to get a star for the best question, but they had that glazed look of people allowed out of prison for a day. The mummies and I had hard-core discussions about life.
I can’t divulge a lot of this stuff, as it’s on a need-to-know basis. I will just say, though, that I never thought I’d listen quite so breathlessly to a description of the benefits of HRT. Forgetfulness banished, irritableness soothed, aches and pains wafted away, skin cleared up and hair crackling with health. Why aren’t I old enough yet? Mind you, it doesn’t seem a minute since I was dithering about my outfit for my first ever disco – rather nice grey and black dress, a lot nicer than it sounds, teamed with, gulp, bright red over the knee socks, a lot more horrible than they sound, and that’s saying something. Now it’s quite the other end of life looming up. Never mind, just give me the drugs, I say.