Saturday, 26 September 2015

Me and the Giant Peach

Asters, absolutely covered with bees
the river

a birdwatching hide by the river

One or two of you (okay maybe just one of you) expressed an interest in seeing the completed Giant Peach.  Alas, I am sorry to say I will be disappointing you.  There was a very short window in which the Giant Peach was actually dry and functional, and I omitted to take a photo.  The whole thing was a pretty sorry tale, with a messy shouty ending.  So while I have no pictures, I will of course regale you with the entire thing, banging on ad nauseum, until you feel a little of my pain.

The first Giant Peach, which I pictured drying so happily in the sun, was doing fine until early on Wednesday morning.  I turned the oven on for a moment, to just warm it slightly, then got into an animated discussion with the biggest boy about whether it was practical to go to school for an entire day, including sports activities, with no food at all.  As I was driving home my opinion there was a sad popping sound in the oven, and that was the end of that.

I had a long chat with the littlest boy about the virtues of being Danny the Champion of the World (no costume!) or Charlie from the Chocolate Factory (golden ticket, chocolate bar - I was almost certain I could manage that).  He said very nicely that he could be those people, although he would really rather have a Giant Peach.

So I spent Wednesday morning messily mashing a new peach together (balloon, forced into a ball shape by the lavish application of Sellotape, overlaid with newspaper and flour-and-water-paste).  It was horribly gungy.  I used a tea towel to contain the mess, and hid it in the washing machine to deal with later.  Then I started the whole drying process again, this time concentrating really hard on not leaving the oven on for more than sixty seconds.  I went to the shops for peach coloured paint.  There was no peach coloured paint, only red, white and yellow at a cost of £1.79 each.  I bought bright orange tissue paper for 55p.

By Thursday afternoon the peach was dry-ish, so I mod-podged on the tissue paper and printed off some insects for the littlest boy to colour and stick on.  The orange was really bright, and if I'm totally honest the effect wasn't entirely peach-like.  Roald Dahl would have done me a big favour if he'd written James and the Giant Knobbly Orange.  But we're big on imagination here, we pictured it as a peach.

By Friday, aka Roald Dahl Day, the peach had dried some more and split across the bottom.  The littlest boy carried bravely on.  I dropped him off at school, heaved a huge sigh of relief, and went bird-watching with the biggest boy, who had an INSET day.  For a moment, in the sunshine there was a sort of blissful peace.  I remember it even now.

I dragged him away in the end, in time to get home and collect the littles from school.  It took a while to get him to leave, but we got there in the end.  If only we'd managed it ten minutes earlier.

When I got home, the other half was on the phone with someone, and his computer was beeping wildly.  He waved me out of the room.  When he finally finished his call, he told me his computer had been hacked, but all should be fine now because he'd rung the number that came up and paid them a great chunk of money.  Words almost, but luckily not quite, failed me.

I picked the children up.  He made an emergency trip to the bank to cancel his card.  I impressed upon the children the need to be low maintenance for a while until the adults had regained their composure.  The littlest boy asked if he could hit the Giant Peach with a hammer.  I said I felt not.  I had plans for the hammer myself.  I said he could burst the balloon with scissors if he really wanted to.

The other half returned, poorer but wiser,  I unblocked the toilet because, you know, if never rains...  Then I discovered that in the living room the littlest boy had utterly demolished the peach into a hundred pieces, along with a huge drift of floury, newspapery flakes.  I explained that THAT WAS NOT WHAT I MEANT BY LOW MAINTENANCE.

So that is the entire sorry tale of the Giant Peach.  I woke up this morning to bright sunshine, and took a very deep breath.  I went for a little run, although my ankle is still not right from when I sprained it, and also I made it slightly worse again yesterday when I was miming showjumping across the living room.  But it was a new day, onwards and upwards.

I stuck some washing in the machine.  Imagine my surprise when I took it out and discovered the flour-paste tea towel, and little lumps of sticky papier mache all over absolutely everything.  School costume days really are the gift that keeps on giving.

49 comments:

  1. Oh noooo, that dress-up day has a lot to answer for! Thank goodness they don't have them at secondary school. Poor old peach. And you too with all the mess to clear up as well. xx

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  2. Well. Reminds me of the time my kids knocked over my desk, with the plant on top falling, breaking the pot and spreading dirt all over the floor. I put them in the crib as a time out. They were too quiet. I go and check and they had found crayons and colored the whole wall.. and not in a good way. Family life gives you memories. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  3. Last night I was on an overnight campout and awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of rain falling on my tent [not predicted to do so!] This morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, but dashed home to dump my camping gear and go attend a very satisfying art workshop. This evening, I started sneezing and along with half our household now am fighting off a cold. In spite of said annoying symptoms I found my way to this post. At the risk of sounding heartless, I chuckled as I read your traumatic report, then I laughed out loud and had to stop reading because I laughed so hard. I repeated that process several times before reaching your horrific finale at which point I sat here laughing and shaking my head...in sympathy not having lived through your exact circumstances, but similar chains of family calamity that in the retelling, somehow, thankfully evoked humor rather than utter despair. If humor is the best medicine, you have shared a good dose with me that should promote robust health for us both! Thanks for posting, CJ :) xx

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    1. Thank you Gracie, that's such a lovely comment. I'm sorry you're under the weather, I hope you are all better soon. CJ xx

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  4. Your loss is definitely our gain - fantastic post, CJ. Sending you a virtual, very large glass of wine! xx

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  5. Good gracious what a tale - I feel bad, but I laughed out loud all the way through! You are such a brilliant writer! Hugs from a Granny.

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  6. Schools have a lot to answer for! Here's to a calmer week next week, mind you it must be nearly harvest festival, maybe you could make a few papier mache decorations . . .

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  7. Oh dear! I love how you seem to be able to find the funny side in all this and do hope that all will be well with you and the Mr and the bank account as well as with the Giant Peach and so on. Here's to a more peaceful week though as Crimson Kettle says it will soon be Harvest Festival - I'd just send in a tin of beans or something and not try to be creative this year!

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  8. oh dear.

    paper mache is a thing of evil. we had a soggy disgusting volcano for days. I think I doubled the electricity bill using a hair dryer for hours on it. funnily enough the hair dryer stopped working a few days later...

    hope today has been a better day x

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  9. So much to love in this post. Miming show jumping across the floor being a strong contender for favourite. What an end to the week! Xx

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  10. I was directed to this post by Wild Daffodil, as she thought I would appreciate it. (Things go wrong for me quite a bit too)! I feel bad for the rotten day you had, but I am sorry to say, roared my head off at the succession of calamities that occurred throughout the day,What a brilliantly written post, I was almost there with you !

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  11. CJ, thank you for your honesty, you don't know how refreshing it is!! 🌺

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  12. Enjoyed this post so much - thank you for sharing with us.

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  13. we have a saying in our house "it's funny 'cos it's true". *wipes tear*

    i'm with CT - the showjumping mime is possibly my favourite bit, probably because we've done it/do it ourselves. ;)
    xo

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    1. Absolutely :o) I am often to be found galloping across the carpet doing cross-country or show jumping, ignoring the increasingly desperate pleas of the children to stop. I believe it stems from practicing too many dressage tests on the front lawn as a child :o)

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    2. I was telling the children the other day how my friend and I used to spend hours and hours galloping round the garden on stick ponies doing showjumping. Happy times they were. CJ xx

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  14. Oh no, I feel your pain, though I have to admit to chuckling to myself all the way through that, sorry. I'm so glad those days are behind me now.

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  15. There's that song, you know.."Some days are diamonds, some days are stone"...Your last sentence is the frosting on the cake.
    Better days, better ways as they say.

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  16. Nice pictures and a somewhat up and down post. I hope that you have a much better week. Flighty xx

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  17. I feel your pain but you did make me laugh. Hopefully this coming week will be more positive and less disastrous!

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  18. I am still laughing, I know I shouldn't but it really does bring back years of suffering with my own three daughters. A great post.

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  19. Oh dear. I really hope you poured yourself a very tall glass of something intoxicating by the end of that day. You certainly earned it!

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  20. I'm with Sevenoverb - Best.Post.Ever!! Still wiping away the laughter tears! You have a real gift for writing. x

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  21. Oh, blimey. Think I can guess some of those words that didn't fail you. You're right, of course, tomorrow is another day, Monday starts a new week. Best stay away from sharp implements and naked flames, though. Just to be on the safe side.

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  22. Wow, it never rains but it pours! I hope all is well now, it was a day to remember! Personally, I do not like fancy dress, even without all the technical issues yours involved.

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  23. Oh my goodness, I don't know whether to laugh or cry or both. What a horrible mess involving everything starting at the top with the oldest not wanting to eat and right down to the last bit. Your husband, I have no words..... Just remember that you are a really great Mum to go to all that effort for a peach, and of course the sweetest little boy. I hope your week is much and I mean much better than all of that.
    Meredith

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  24. If I could come & give you a hug, a hammer of your own & some gin I would my lovely. Also some of this rather nice hazelnut chocolate I am munching on now. I am literally crying tears of laughter (nice laughter) there is a puddle on the floor & I think it contains tears. I completely agree with the others - this is one of the best posts ever - I'm going to read it again again the hugest of hugs xx

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    1. Thank you Jo, I'm laughing. Hazelnut chocolate would definitely make things better. CJ xx

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  25. Gordon Bennett CJ, it's enough to put you off Roakd Dahl and Literacy Days and School Dressing-up Days for life. But we've got a lovely week ahead and a Super Moon tonight, or is that tomorrow, so although I'd like to think you'll put it behind you and press on with the present I have a feeling you and the littlest boy will be laughing about this in years to come. I've just watched Cider With Rosie on the telly and for some reason it put me in mind of you and yours, especially your gorgeous photos when you're out and about. Have a great week.

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    1. Cider with Rosie country isn't far from here, it's somewhere we walk sometimes. I watched it too, it reminded me I should go and visit again soon. CJ xx

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  26. 'when it rains it pours' - or as my mother say (and we seem to say it a lot lately): 'if it's not one thing, it's another'.
    I really do hope you;ve had better days since! xx

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  27. Some days are made in Heaven. Some are made in that other place. The worst our school demanded were giant paper toadstools, but at least they couldn't explode. Take care, hope your days are better already!

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  28. Oh CJ!! What an experience for you my dear. Let us hope that no more peaches are required and that other half has learned something valuable!! I will not be making any papier mache pumpkins for Halloween in this case! xx

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  29. Oh dear! I feel your pain. Can't believe your husband paid up.

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  30. Oh dear CJ..what a tale!.. On a brighter note I'm loving your photo of the bee on the asters :o) xx

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  31. Oh dear it did make me laugh but i do so feel for you! I hope the weekend wasn't so exciting for you after all those mishaps. You will dread the next dressing up day even more! Sarah x

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  32. Oh I feel your pain CJ, but really, thanks so much for that very real laugh at your very real toils.The work, the effort, the mess it does seem to multiple even on the best of days.

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  33. I'm sorry but at least you got to write a really funny post! Thank you for the laughs! :)

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  34. Oh, CJ...I'm sorry. But, my god woman, you don't do things by halves in your house! I hope you drank some massive glasses of wine over the weekend, to help you recover. That's how I deal with most traumas. Ok, all traumas. x

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  35. You really should be publishing these 'vignettes'. For money.

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  36. Well that did make me laugh CJ although I doubt that was your original intention, I could see the issue with the tea towel coming....
    Caz xx
    PS I don't gallop across the living room but my children get worried if I havent practised my karate on them in a while! 😉

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  37. I'm so sorry CJ, but I was in fits of giggles reading about your misfortunes - I do apologise, but I totally know where you are coming from. A day starts on the wrong foot and it continues throughout the day. I face palmed when I read about your hubby, these people are so devious! I do hope the peach has been cleared up now and is a thing of the past rather than Christmas pine needles that are still appearing months after the main event! Thanks for the smiles xx

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  38. Oh blimey CJ, what a to do! I'm guessing you're off peaches for a while? I'm sorry your hubby got caught by a scam, it's not nice. Hope you're having a less stressful week. Jane xx

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  39. Oh no, what a tale! It made a brilliant post though! xx

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  40. Oh, I'm sorry CJ but I guffawed out loud as I read this. It's a good job you've got such a good sense of humour. Horrid internet scammers. I hated dressing up days at primary school. Now mine are all at secondary I've drawn a firm line and said that if they ever need to dress up it'll have to be All Their Own Work. Hope you've recovered xx

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  41. Oh wow! I have only just stopped laughing! As a retired teacher I have often been at the receiving end of all those fantastic hand made costume efforts...I thought I knew all the lengths that parents went to, but you have put everything into an entirely different light. Hope you got your money back...that really was mean. B xx

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  42. Now of course we emailed so I read along thinking that I knew the whole sorry tale (except for the showjumping miming, you didn't mention that) and then I got to the new to me flour-pastey teatowel bit, and I think I must have been making strange chortling noises because my son just stuck his head around the door and asked if I was alright. I do hope there's been no further need for the boys to switch to low maintenance mode.

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  43. I'm sorry for your troubles with the computer. Those are some of the most frustrating kinds of trouble, if you ask me. The peach story is hilarious. I hope you are laughing about it now!

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