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The children are back at school and I can finally put virtual pen to paper with only the minimum of disruption.  Oppressed Husband is back at his club and much more cheerful having gone into mourning as it closed over Christmas and New Year.

We all survived the festive period which at some points looked unlikely. OH suffered such a severe attack of man flu that, at its worst, involuntary euthanasia seemed the only way.

As I braved the circle of hell that is Sainsbury’s with the same ghastly cold and 4 children in tow my humour was slightly restored by the sympathetic glances that I got around the aisles. Thinking these were just because I clearly looked so ill I smiled bravely if a little hysterically – not realising until we reached the checkout that Ben had been telling everyone he met (at least one per aisle) that “My daddy is in jail”.

Ben also nearly met his maker when I unadvisedly left Idiot Husband in charge of the tiered, iced, sanded and polished wedding cake while I went out on a gold ribbon hunt. With Harriet asleep and Ben in front of a film he left his post unmanned and snuck off to his study. My fury on returning, to discover a huge hole in the side of cake and a small boy with a highly suspicious innocent look and icing on his face, was unsurpassed.

We had our usual quota of domestic crisis – the oven went bang the week before Christmas and the normally stoic washing machine shut up shop and leaked despondently. Turns out that ignoring an unhappy washing machine is unwise as it then  upped the anti, spilt its guts magnificently and now the floors are very clean.

Also electrical engineers don’t like being called out over new year to retrieve a bumper load of Gogo’s (small plastic skittles) from the filter. Whoops!

I embraced the credit crunch Christmas with much enthusiasm (at the beginning), picturing a happy scene as we mulled stuff and baked stuff (once the oven allowed), packed it prettily and sent it with thoughts of loving kindness. Or at least that was the plan. Actually by the time the children had ‘helped’ the dough was grey and snotty, I had accidentally drunk most of the mulling equipment and Harriet and the cat had got at the pretty wrapping – I hated everybody but not enough to send them snot pies. So then I had to go shopping. Feeling very Bah humbug, blooming Christmas and not at all shiny Nigella-ish.

The home-made theme clearly influenced the children and so on Christmas morning I happily unwrapped a beautiful (if scratchy) tinsel necklace and a ham sandwich.

So back to the routine of life I have already received the instructions for making the next costume for the next school play and – disaster – have to liaise with group of other mothers so we all produce same sort of thing. Am now wondering how to convince earth mothers they really want to cheat and google it.

Have also discovered that having a male, rugby player as our ‘class rep’ has the bizarre side effect that we are all now team 4B (it must kill him that the teachers name is Bainbridge not A for Atkins) he sends rallying emails and tries to induce competitive coffee mornings. Very peculiar.