Mum, my­self and I

Jane is torn: she wants to sup­port Bry­ony, but doesn’t want to over­stay her wel­come. Should she stay or should she go now?

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME - Jane Gor­don Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

Much as I would like to stay with Bry­ony per­ma­nently – and am al­most tempted to put my lit­tle cot­tage on the mar­ket – there are a num­ber of rea­sons why, at some point, I will haveh to go home. The first of these, ob­vi­ous­lyy, is the dan­ger of, well, en-famille- iar­ity br­reed­ing con­tempt (par­tic­u­larly with Harry). ThreeT weeks is a long time to be shar­ing the bath­room, the Q box and the De­liv­eroo takke­aways with your mother-in-law.

Then, of course, there is the wor­ry­ing thought that poor Catty – laan­guish­ing home alone, apart from once-a-daay feeds from my ridicu­lously sup­port­ive nieece Harriet – might have turned feral or rung thhe RSPCA to put in an of­fi­cial com­plaint of neg­glect (she’s not called Catty for noth­ing).

While Zorro has be­comee part of the fam­ily (thanks to Harry’s firrm ap­proach to ca­nine dis­ci­pline) it isn’tt pos­si­ble to bring the cat here as a) Ediee is al­ler­gic and b) Catty is a coun­try girrl and there are no shrews in south Lon­donn.

Besides, if I am hon­est, I am se­cretly be­gin­ning to miss not just Catty,C but also a few of the self­ish plea­suress that come with liv­ing on your own, such ass lie-ins till 7.30am and hav­ing sole charge of thhe re­mote con­trol (no more dystopian dra­mass and ex­trater­res­trial thrillers on that drat­ted Q box).

Plus, on the ba­sis that abb­sence re­ally does make the heart grow fondeer, I am start­ing to have fan­tasies (now that I canc al­most walk un­aided) of be­ing able to pushp a trol­ley round Waitrose again. Bec­ca­use al­though there are dozens of chi-chii shops in Nappy Val­ley (as this area of townn is known) there are only two su­per­mar­ketss – Aldi and the Co-op – both of which are justj a lit­tle out of my com­fort zone.

In fact, the longer I spend in Lon­don the more I be­gin to recog­nise thet good things about liv­ing in Ox­ford­shiree. One of the very real ad­van­tages of cou­un­try life over city life, for ex­am­ple, isi the lower ra­tio of scrummy muum­mies in Lu­l­ule­mon Ly­cra to dog--walk­ing women-of-a-cer­tain-age, dressedd for com­fort rather than ef­feect in Bar­bours and Dubarry booots.

If there is a woman over the age of 45 (or over a size 8) in the vicin­ity I have yet to meet her, and as a re­sult, I am con­stantly re­minded that I am in, er, the au­tumn of my years in a way that I am not when I’m in Hen­ley. On a good day – on one of our river­side dog talks – Belle and I (oh, how I miss Belle!) of­ten feel we are in the very prime of our lives.

And of course, much as I love be­ing part of Bry­ony’s fam­ily life I know that some­times she and Harry do need a lit­tle space and pri­vate time to­gether. While I want to sup­port Bry­ony now in the way she has sup­ported me since my ac­ci­dent, I worry about crowd­ing her and be­com­ing in­ter­fer­ing and ir­ri­tat­ing (the last thing she needs).

Over sup­per to­gether one evening, when Harry is out, I men­tion my con­cerns and while she sweetly tells me that she would be happy if I were to stay per­ma­nently, she con­cedes that per­haps a live-in mum/ mother-in-law-and-her-dog could be­come too much of a good thing.

Quite apart from how Harry might feel about my con­stant pres­ence (since an em­bar­rass­ing en­counter as he was emerg­ing from the shower the other morn­ing, he has taken to wear­ing a robe that, rather like me, has seen bet­ter days), there is also a bit of an is­sue with Edie. If she wants some­thing she shouldn’t have (or even some­thing she should have, like broc­coli) she has learnt that al­though Mummy will prob­a­bly say ‘No’ and Daddy will def­i­nitely say ‘No’, there is ev­ery chance that An­nie will say ‘ Yes’.

Bry­ony and I set­tle on a com­pro­mise in which I will spend two nights a week with her and the rest of the week at home for just as long as is nec­es­sary.

This ar­range­ment will, I hope, work for us all and play a part in help­ing us to get back to hap­pier days for Mum and Me. Bry­ony is tak­ing a break

One of the ad­van­tages of coun­try life is the lower ra­tio of scrummy mum­mies in Lu­l­ule­mon

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