“You think YOU’VE had a bad morning?!”

I thought I would share my morning with you all. You know that thing where someone says “Oh you won’t believe the morning I’ve had!” And then someone else says “You think YOU’VE had a bad morning?!” Which is very annoying because the original moan-er doesn’t get any sympathy because obviously the second moan-er’s morning is far, far worse. Annoying, I know, but this morning I really am the second one in this scenario.

7:00am – My partner and BOTH teenage daughters get up because we are leaving for school in half an hour. Not one word is passed between us, we’re all too busy with the Herculean effort of waking up.

7:30am – Suddenly (and without my knowledge) I become responsible for absolutely everything that is wrong in my younger daughters’ world. “Where’s my bag? Where’s my water bottle? Where’s my blazer? Where are my shoes? What’s for dinner? Are you going to make my bed today? Do we have any Nutri-Grain bars? WHAT? Why don’t we have any? You KNOW I always take them as my snack!” We live right next door to a shop so this is easily remedied, but they only have one of them left. Don’t they know my daughter always takes them to school as a snack? But, as anyone with teenagers will know, you don’t attempt anything other than the quietest murmurs of assent first thing in the morning, otherwise you’re putting yourself at risk of a teenage death stare.

7:33am – We go to the car. ‘We’ is older daughter, younger daughter, the dog and I. Dog has decided that he’s never ever seen anyone else in his life before, and certainly no other dogs, which means that he’s leaping around the place frantically trying to say hello to absolutely everyone, getting his lead twisted and flailing around our legs as we are trying to organise ourselves into the car.

7:34am – “Why does she get to go in the front? Why do I have to go in the back? But she listens to her AirPods all the way anyway! It doesn’t make any difference!” *Younger daughter slips quietly and unseen into the front seat*.

8:06am – We arrive at school. Youngest daughter drags herself out of the car with a low moan, looking about as happy as Anne Boleyn heading off to her certain death. “Have a nice day!” I say brightly. “Urgghhh” = the response. With a slam of the car door I feel slight relief at – surely – not having sole responsibility for all of her worldly problems.

8:25am – I drop oldest daughter to her father’s house, which involves a journey through a hideously complicated one-way system through a town that I’ve never been to before. You know the type of thing, cobbled streets twisting perilously in a sort of maze where you can get so confused you end driving the wrong way. And which certainly wasn’t meant to accommodate the huge Jeep that I drive, and I nearly go wrong, more than once.

8:30am – Ahhhh, more relief! I calm down nicely on my way home, which I am almost into before I remember the dog, sitting quietly in his crate in the car. I’d forgotten that I’m going to walk him as early as possible before the heat of the day renders us all incapable of, well, anything really. If you ever want life to slow down a bit, pray for a heatwave.

8:40am – Drive to some fields, extract the dog so he can burn off his remarkable quantity of energy. I myself do not feel energised. First hurdle is a repetition of what we had before the school run – except now he can actually bomb up to people like he’s been solitary confinement for ten years. He hasn’t done that for ages and it takes a few seconds before he graciously acquiesces to me yelling his name. It’s not his fault, he’s only young, I just thought we were past that chaotic stage. Oh no, silly me, he’s a spaniel.

8:42am – I realise that I’m wearing flip-flops, which are in no way sturdy enough for a walk through the fields. My choices? Go home and change, or keep going and hope for the best. I choose option B.

8:47am – I walk through a patch of stinging nettles.

8:50am –  I walk through some tall grass and my feet immediately begin to itch.

8:52am – My dog runs over proudly showing me the carcass of what I believe to be a rat, spinal cord completely exposed. It’s roughly a foot long – have I missed a documentary series about ‘Supersize Rat?’.

8:53am – My dog does the biggest poo I’ve ever seen him do. It’s definitely a two bag job. I bend down and gently scoop the first lot up – and immediately feel warm squishiness on my fingers. Oh dear God, no. Please. But yes, it had happened, I’d managed to put my actual bodily part in his poo and it is all over my nails (I have long nails) and we are only a short way into our walk. Mindful of the increasing heat, I decide to try and ignore it and press on, bag firmly tied in a knot, along with the second one which had behaved itself.

8:54am – I glance down to see dog poo on the palm of my hand, all over his lead and a gentle, stinking, trace on my jeans. What?! Upon closer examination the bag had a big hole in it, allowing the excrement to ooze through and attach itself to whatever it came into contact with. For **** sake. I put the old bag in a new bag and carry on. I mean, I didn’t have much to lose at this point.

9am – Despite everything, I am actually enjoying this gentle walk in the early sun. The fields are deserted so the dog isn’t jumping up at everyone he can see, no matter how far into the distance they are. And when I say jump up, I mean all four feet bouncing off the floor, which is impressive in its own way because he’s quite a chunky spaniel.

9:20am – We come full circle back to the first field and there are now a couple of people there. I drop his lead by mistake – and accidentally step onto the second poo bag that I didn’t realise I’d dropped. As I bend to pick it up it explodes all over my flip-flopped feet. I now have dog sh*t on my hands, clothes, feet, legs, it’s on my phone, it’s on the lead – absolutely horror. I stand there for a second, wondering what the best way to deal with this is, when I spy a woman walking towards me out of the corner of my eye. Oh dear God, it’s a fellow mum from the school.

9:24am – I’ve cut and run, taking the coward’s way out, and got back to my car, which now presents its own problems. How can I get in and drive with dog sh*t all over me?? It’ll get everywhere! I glance around for something sacrificial to wipe myself down with, but of course I’d only recently had my car valeted so it’s spotless and – and empty. There are no stray towels around, or packs of baby wipes. Because of the heat I am only wearing a t-shirt, and it takes me only a second or two before I realise that in order to save my car from smelling of revolting poo, I am going to have to sacrifice the only thing that I can – my dignity. Yes, I stripped off my t-shirt, cleaned up as best I could, and drove home in my bra. Not too bad you might think, but I live in a village with no allocated parking so I then had to cross the square, with my dog poo clothes in one hand and the spaniel in the other, still determined to declare his love to anyone that he sees. I deal with this by holding my head up high and pretending that I am in a different life.

(PS. On the note of the Rudest Man in Fareham, I haven’t heard a peep. Nothing. Not even a syllable of his promised ‘belittling’. I don’t mind saying that I’m quite disappointed. I might go back and park there again out of the kindness of my heart, just so he has something to occupy him for a few minutes).









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