Friday, June 15, 2007

Marras

I went out to my bookgroup last night. I don't go out much - for "much", read "at all". Last month, I got my dates mixed up and missed it. I was sooooo upset, not least because no one rang me to say: "Where were you?" The bookgroup is another attempt to make friends. Is it working? Hmmm. I might as well get the word "Needy" tattoed in scarlet letters on my forehead. I am obsessed with friendship. I blame being an only child. I am not prepared to compromise on what I expect from a friendship and what I am prepared to offer in return.

I do have friends here:
*a fellow London exile who laughs as I posture and lives along the road in the big house with the hot tub. He managed to make friends. I asked him how he did it. Golf and the weekly pub quiz. I said: "I could play golf." He said: "I don't think so."
*three old ladies; one who makes tea, one who makes conversation and one who makes peace.
*a city doctor and weekend visitor. She says: "How are you?" in that way that carers do. I say: "Fine. Y'know," and cry.
*I have a friend who made me ride a horse, one who took me to the hunt and another who let me drink her cow's raw milk; Godsome friends who, doubtless, think I will burn for my sins which are many; and mothers whom I meet and fight for words while children fight for attention and toys.
What I don't have yet is a Northern soulmate. These things take time; I know that it might be a while, but I am a careful hunter. I will lie here in the dry and golden grass, let the scent of water call her and wait out her coming.

There was a price to pay for the expedition and the cake. When I got home, my husband told me the boys had lost TV for a month. A month! That is to say until we move back in to our cottage. I was about as happy as the children were. It is one thing for me to take TV away, it is another for Billy the Kid to take it away. For a month. I wanted to know why. Apparently, the six year old swore at his brother and then his father. "Where the fuck did he hear that from? " I asked my husband. "I have no fucking idea," he said defensively. Not good. I have to admit neither of us have a clear conscience on this one. I am a foul and sweary Mary. I try to keep my expletives safely locked up and away from the children but occasionally they have been known to escape their hutch and scuttle, furry and obscene, around the kitchen. No TV for a month. Bugger.

46 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

God knows what I'd have tattooed on my forehead. I got told all children swear, it who they swear at that matters. Cx

aims said...

It must be something in the air.
People think I'm a hermit. I sometimes don't leave my house for a month and there's only the hubby and 2 cats.
I have 2 friends. One lives in town and I see her about every 3 months and chat on the phone maybe every 3 weeks. The other - the dearer one - lives on the other side of Canada - and we might get to see each other once a year. But thanks to the internet we get to email and chat more often.
I too just went through the lonliest period of my whole life - so lonely my heart felt like it was crumbling to pieces and it made my chest hurt. I considered throwing myself off our upper deck - and was saved that afternoon by the love of one of the cats.
I haven't really resolved the lonliness issue - but it's fading - and that will do.

Flowerpot said...

How would your husband cope with no TV for a month were he in your position?!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

A month. (isn't he going away soon, can't you secretly undermine him?)

Couldn't you be a sort of southern ex-pat? Tell yourself that there's no point in learning the lingo and meeting the locals as you'll doubtless be moving again soon?
I think that could work.
Pigx

DogLover said...

No TV for a month? Goodee! More blogging for us from Wifey ... !

Capricorn

Self employed mum said...

Children would make saints swear, you are not alone, the f word frequently falls out of my mouth, I am ashamed and promise myself I won't do it again and then the fighting starts in the back of the car, on the back country roads and I lose the plot..again

@themill said...

My children have inherited a fine line in anglo saxon, but I think (or hope)they know when to use it -i.e. not in front of Granny or the vicar.
Do your book group members know you're blogging about them?

team tyrie said...

If you're ever heading down the A696 through Belsay, call into the village shop. It's no lonely hearts' club, but weathered 'ex-pat' faces and cynical conversation await you.

Your blog inspires me - thank you!

sunshine said...

This does seem like an excellent time for you to visit your Mum -- like say for three weeks or so? You could take your laptop and work on the book, as well.

It does not sound like your younger son used the F word -- is he allowed to watch TV? Doesn't sound fair to punish him for his brother's deeds!

Another idea! Reach an agreement with hubby that any punishment that is levied without discussion with you, is suspended the minute hubby gets in a car, on a train or on the famed bus!

Kaycie said...

I have taken to saying feck instead of fuck. It's just as satisfying and most Okies aren't familiar with Irish curse words. And if asked, I can always say it was heck.

(Okie is a nickname for residents of Oklahoma for those of you across the pond.)

mutterings and meanderings said...

Wifey, will your southern (and US) readers know what a marra is?

You'll be befuddling them with gadgies, dugalls and plodges in the clarts next ...

annie said...

Try joining the PTA - it worked for me - I've had loads of fun and met a group of people who I think will be lifelong friends.

Iota said...

A friend of mine told me that her FIRST word was "bugger". Her mother was horrified.

Daniel said...

So? Just what is this "marras" if I may be so bold as to ask?

Mya said...

Are you sure his colourful language was picked up from you? Don't be so quick to condemn yourself. Whenever I'm looking to spice up my vocab with a few more toe-curlingly offensive expletives, I shoot down to the nearest school playground for research.

I think you should agree to the month without TV, but schedule it out so it coincides with time your husband is home - so he can 'benefit' from the p & q as well.

occasional northerner said...

Is "marra" a Northumbrian or Cumbrian or generally northern (in a non-pejorative, just remember I'm further north than all of you sense) term of endearment?

My 7 year old declared to her relatively proper grandmother recently "I know a very bad word. Its the F word. Do you know what the F word is Granny". In spite of its doubtless forming part of Granny's knowledge she regrettably went on to explain!

@themill said...

Daniel - marras; a colloquialism for friends. As in 'Me Marra' translates as 'My friend'

sunshine said...

Mutterings etc. -- The three things you mentioned sound like they would require immediate medical attention!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Every good word I know I've learned from my children...And why is it that the dads who leave the house are the ones who take away the things that make it possible for the moms to stay in the house? Never have figured out that one.

Minx said...

Oh fuck, what fuckery. Billy-fucking-no-mates and no fucking telly! Fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck!

There, see, say it often enough and it loses it's impetus. What is swearing anyway except a creative use of language?

jane said...

Fucking hell, that would really annoy me! Hopefully your husband will be at home for that month so he can entertain the children during his TV ban. Serve him bloody well right. Why couldn't he have enforced a constructive punishment, like compulsory bedroom tidying, or shoe-cleaning or some such? Then it would have been their punishment, not yours.

Meanwhile, I think you should start a lunch-club with local women where you eat, drink and swear your afternoon away (hubby of course looking after the bored kids). As to swearing, don't feel guilty, it probably wasn't you they heard it from anyway, you've only got to skulk around a school playground to find out the real source.

Anyway, I think swearing is a much maligned sport - in an amusing and appropriate context it's just SO satisfying. Frankly, it's my main hobby come to think of it. I don't mean the ugly teeth bared grimacing sort of swearing, obbviously, although sometimes in the car that can be a feature of mine, but often a good mouthful is the perfect outlet for pent-up stress. Assuming you don't have any passengers at the time of course.

In solidarity with your good self, I am considering starting my own blog called "Swearing Mother". At last I've found my forte.

mutleythedog said...

Crap - you think you are lonely.. I sit by the phone praying it will ring so hard my ears bleed...

gabbiana said...

Wait, why have you nixed the weekly pub quiz out? I mean, if it's anything like quizzo here, it's an excuse to get drunk and form teams with strangers. Kind of like golf, but indoors.

debio said...

Before it was explained under comments, I thought 'marras' was a dialectic swear word!

Words, words, words....a time and a place for them all, including fuck, bugger et al. I bet your children know when to swear and when not; a month without TV will have you all sounding like Irish navvies.....

laurie said...

i know exactly what you mean about waiting for the soulmate. exactly.

keep waiting. but keep your eyes open. i have found that sometimes they're right in front of me, in people i would never have considered.

maybe even at a pub quiz, or with a mouth full of truffles. you just don't always know.....

expatmum said...

Aaggh! My heart goes out to you. Here I am in the USA (17 years) and still all I want to do is come home - to the north east. I lived in London after uni, and had a ball, but actually, that really was just a place where I lived, and I probably wouldn't live there again. (Too difficult.)
I have a great friend in Wooler who didn't grow up there and sounds like she could be your soulmate. Let me know if you're interested - I only charge a small fee.
Chin up!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I've lived in England for 15 years and it took me a while to make friends. It's hard, especially if you don't go out to work. The kids will help you in that you might hook with similar-minded parents. Or you might not. I tried ex-pat groups, NCT, book groups, CAB (where I volunteered for 11 years), nursery, school. I have a small group of good buddies now. But it was work to find them.

I have tried over the years to curb my potty mouth, but the kids learned the words at school anyway.

beta mum said...

I gave up looking for a soulmate years ago - they don't exist, not for me anyhow, another only child.
I have managed to curb my swearing - but only by getting used to sounding like someone out of Bunty.
"Dash" and "Bum" just don't cut it as well as my old newsroom vocabulary. And it only delays it a few years, until they hear it all at school anyway.

The thinker said...

I think everyone misses the point - it's not the word itself it is the force of the tone with which it is 'expleted'. I found myself blushing once when someone spat out the word SUGAR with real venom once.

Elsie Button said...

is it ok to swear in front of (not at) a 7 month old baby?

jane said...

Elsie, I think it's perfectly OK to swear in front of a seven month old baby, especially if he/she is being held by the Health Visitor at the time. In fact, I am sure it's rude not to.

Elsie Button said...

Jane - ha ha lol. is EVERYONES experience of health visitors the same?

patsy said...

I think you may be looking too hard for the perfect all encompassing friendship and at this stage in your life it probably won't happen. One best friend with whom you shared everything probably only exists as schoolchildren.
Wifey you've had a wide range of experiences and life stages; you will have London friends, school mum friends, childless friends, book club friends and no doubt many other categories. As we move on and expand our horizons, we develop friendships right for that time and place. But they may not necessarily move with us.
Develop a portfolio of friends, dip in according to your needs , but make friends with yourself first of all.

merry weather said...

Thanks for linking me wifey - I've never been this close to Bryan Appleyard before... maybe I could hold hands with Minx while I stop blushing ...would you mind Minx?

mother of 2 said...

Having moved around a far bit, I think your ability to make friends and fit in depends on the mobility of the population of where you are moving to - when we moved to Netherlands and lived near loads of other ex-pats I quickly made friends and felt welcomed, as people were so used to everyone moving in, staying a while and leaving, and were used to being the new person themselves. Moving back to the UK, to a new area, I found it much harder, as people did not need a new friend, they had people that they had grown up with, gone to school with, and alot of people still lived near family. Three and a half years on, I have some good friends, people I can rely on, but a soul mate...I'm not so sure. When my husband broached the subject of moving again, we decided the family would stay put and he would travel for work, mainly because I could not stand the thought of all that smiling, being nice to people again, and joining yet another PTA.

Stay at home dad said...

I don't envy you, Merry Weather.

Elsie, my answer to you would be NO! You don't even want to hear about my experiences with the Health Visitor.

WITN, I can only dream of your roster of friendships!

Elsie Button said...

what is it with health visitors? when ours first visited to see me and betty - we had to show her what a baby actually was. CLUELESS

SAHD - i would love to hear your experiences though - we could swap...

freya said...

I think being an only child has a lot to answer for here.

I am one myself and think this often makes me a rather over-demanding friend, probably far more so than people who have siblings and their families to fall back on.

richardson-j1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Minx said...

Hold my hand? No, not at all Merry Weather, as long as they are clean and you only want the one. I have to have one free to hold me gin!

SAHD said...

Number one son the other day was attempting to stick a sticker in his Doctor Who sticker book. He is four.

Upon trying to remove the backing from one particular sticker, he ripped the sticker itself and was heard to exclaim, perfectly in context,

"Oh shit!"

To which his mother responded,

"Darling you shouldn't use that word it is a very naughty word.."

The little darling retorted with,

"At least I didn't say 'fucking hell'"

www.stayathomedad.typepad.com

Jeff said...

I don't think the birth order or number has anything to do with the desire--nay, instinct--for intimacy. I fall first of seven--six boys and one girl, in that order--and I identify completely with what WIFN said.

expatmum said...

Soul mate ( in a girlfriend sense) hmmmm... hands up who has a soul mate of less than at least a few years? Thought not.
After 17 year in the States, sense of humour differences aside, I have possibly two soul mates, and 37 friends. That being a rough estimate, as they really come and go in this country.
When I think of my soul mates, they are girls, sorry women, who/whom I have known and bonded with (usually over wine) for many, many years. The reality is that, we may not make those kind of friends again. The soul mates you have probably date back to your BC (before children) days - when you had time to have a life outside of work and family.
Solution - cling to your soulmates, communicate with them regularly. The Internet gives you no excuse. And take on others as friends and aquaintances. If they become more, then lucky you. If you did Oxbridge A level English in 1980, and studied Philip Larkin, you would know what the hell I was talking about.

expatmum said...

Sorry - my last sentence sounded rather derisory, when in fact, it was meant as a comment about my abstract post. Further explanation can be provided upon request.

mutleythedog said...

Are the Book Group holding you hostage again??

When will they learn the swines? Just tell them you have given all your money away and will not pay any ransom demands...

jane said...

Ah Mutley, I knew you'd be the first to crack - missing WITN are we?

Let's hope she's busy out with the girls, at the pub, eating, swearing and drinking, but if it turns out that the Book Club have indeed kidnapped her, let's have a whip-round for the ransome demand shall we?

Love and dog biscuits.