‘I’ve booked for us to go to Wisley’ says my husband.
This is our first day trip in nearly a year. I am so excited I immediately jump in the car to buy supplies. In my haste I forget my mask.
I scrabble around in the boot and find every conceivable combination of clothing. I could even dress up as a birdwatching snowboarder with plastic spiders attached to my knees.
But there is no face mask.
I consider attaching a nappy to my face, but decide it will look odd and I’m not convinced it’s clean. Instead I find one of Midnight’s wooly hats with little strings at the side. Perfect. I pull the hat over my mouth and tie the string round the back of my head.
I check myself in the car window. The pom pom is hanging down from my chin but I am pleased with my creativity, and head inside. A member of staff approaches me.
‘Would you like a mask?’ she asks.
‘Oh.’ I feel myself going red and nod enthusiastically. The bobble nods with me.
‘We have spare masks for people who’… she regards my hat face ‘…For people who forget…’
I accept the socially normal mask. But I have tied my hat too tightly to my head and I can’t undo the knot so I weave through the aisles with a face mask over my mouth and the bobble hat around my throat. It is a sweaty trip.
At home my husband sighs as he removes the hat from my neck with a snip of the scissors. ‘I just don’t know how you will ever manage to return to the adult world.’
I agree with him.
We tell the children where we are going. ‘It’s like a magical adventure park with a big glass house,’ my husband waves his arms around enthusiastically.
‘Do you mean a garden with a greenhouse?’ asks Milk not even looking up from his complicated lego assembly.
‘Kind of…’ we concede ‘ but it has a shop at the end’.
The children roll their eyes. ‘That sounds boring,’ says Mayhem.
Midnight copies. ‘That’s borin’!’, he shouts. ‘That’s borin’ Mummy.’
I’m surprised at my two-year-old’s attitude, considering the most exciting thing he has done is buy some underpants in a supermarket.
And then we hit the motorway.
‘Lorry!! Midnight screeches. ‘Transporter! Lorry again, Mummy! Lorry again, car, car, car, car. ‘Ment Mixer!, Lorry!’
We get an hour long inventory of the vehicles using the M25.
Unfortunately my husband took the wrong week off work and the great glass house with the man-eating plants and giant lily pads is still closed. We press our noses against the glass, allow the children to terrorise other garden-users for an hour and then buy expensive organic yoghurt lollies from the shop, which the boys quickly realise have no sugar in them.
‘Tastes weird’, says Milk. Mayhem nods and hands his to my husband.
Midnight is inhaling the lolly through the sleeves of his jumper. ‘Cold hands.’ He starts to cry.
At home my husband eases his day-trip disappointment by watching football.
There is a mixed reaction to this event. Milk slinks off to play Lego. Midnight squeals every time my husband yells at the TV, and Mayhem seeks me out in the kitchen.
‘I hopped all the way from the television to here,’ he says a little out of breath. ‘It was 38 hops.’
‘See if you can hop back,’ I say sipping from a glass of wine while online shopping.
‘Blow your whistle! Blow your whistle! Blow your whistle!’ My husband is incensed.
‘Blow your whistle Ref!’
‘He can’t hear you, darling,’ I call from the kitchen and buy ten face-masks and a tub of ice-cream.