The Ski Carrier

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If you’re not a skier, you’ll just have to bear with me here. And, if you do ski and fail to see the tree I’m about to bark up, then perhaps just smile sweetly and move on. Because with ample mountain air and feet buckled firmly into those weighty boots, I’ve been doing a little thinking…

First let’s start with the basics; there is no dispute that carrying skis is unavoidable for anyone who chooses to pursue this frosty sport. And, let’s face it, these long, heavily laminated planks of wood are, at the very least, cumbersome to carry while trekking to and up any mountain.

The smallest of these foot accessories belong to the 4-year-old who can ski but, of course, can’t bear the weight of her equipment. And so her father carries the burden, until she is deemed strong enough. Then follows only a few years of independent ski carrying before any unsuspecting boyfriends pick up the mantle in their bid to show manliness.

Predictably, the husband follows suit too, until… inevitably… two pairs becomes four. And with the increase in skis comes the juggle of carrying while sharing the burden. Because (and this is the crucial bit) ski-carrying means much more than the mere physical act – there is the burden, the responsibility and the unconditional support.

Of course, there will one day come a time where we can no longer carry any skis. And, at his point, the meaning is completely lost.

So, here we have it. My equivalent of The Giving Tree (if you haven’t read it – please promise me to do so) is The Ski Carrier. Put simply, it’s the stages of life with and without skis on our shoulders.

 

 

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life journey

The Angelina Jolie effect continued today as the glamorous actress and peace ambassador released news that, in a risk reducing operation last week, she had had her ovaries removed. And in a BRCA1 gene mutation type of way, she and I are now on a par.

Now more than 4 years since I had my pre-emptive double mastectomy and a year less since my oophorectomy, I do finally feel that that part of my life is dusted. It’s just something that happened in the past. Not because it was such a dreadful journey, but simply because that was me then and this is me now.

The whole point about a life journey is that we are constantly moving. A close friend recently lost her father. It was a hideous time for her and yet now, a few weeks on, she is moving closer towards a happier moment in her life.

Angelina and all those other risk adverse girls are brave but you too would do the same. We take what life throws at us and try to gain any control possible over our destinies. And – when we’re not journeying through troubled waters – we slip back into the daily joys, trials and tribulations of ‘normal life’.

Unfortunately though Jolie’s operation did not remain the first item on today’s news agenda. Just a few hours ago, a plane carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps. Sixteen of the dead include children from a German school exchange trip. And so there we have it. The very worst sort of journey imaginable.

 

 

 

 

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some ballet, McQueen & Joe’s Oriental Diner

I’m the first to admit when I’ve over-scheduled the weekend. And so here I am waving my arms in the air, trying to signal ‘time-out’. Mini was rehearsing for a ballet show all day Saturday (with two performances on Sunday) and I was only too delighted to crouch in the wings to try and capture the dancing mites as they practiced until their little legs and arms gave up.

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Then I flew home to charge my camera before heading straight out to the V&A’s much lauded Alexander McQueen exhibition, Savage Beauty. (Not that I was allowed to photograph the contents – of course – but I needed my camera for our dinner review which followed.)

Natural History Museum at night

Visiting a museum at night is spooky and intense – in a brilliant way. Across the road, the Natural History Museum (above) looked radiant but, as I entered the world’s greatest museum of design and art, I could feel the overwhelming emotion of those paying their respects to this enormously talented visionary.

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As I am sure you have heard, the retrospective carefully examines the work and inspiration of the late designer. The exquisitely striking tailoring set against the potency of his creativity, it’s fascinating, heart-rending and awe-inspiring… book your ticket today!

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I was with the perfect guest for this exhibition. Not only is she a fashionista, but a neurologist too. Married to my cousin, they have recently relocated to London, from her native Brasil with their divine little Sao Paulo girl – to much family delight.

Our boys (who want me to tell you that they had known each other long before He and I ever dated) had been drinking Chelsea beer while were ‘with’ Mcqueen. We met them for dinner at the recently opened Joe’s Oriental Diner (251 King’s Road) where Aussie chef Scott Hallsworth (of Kurobuta fame) is serving his take on Pan Asian cuisine alongside teapot cocktails.

joe's oriental diner

joe's oriental diner

We feasted on the most delicious duck leg red curry with lychees, walnut prawns, mushrooms san choy bao, rare beef salad… and so much more (we totally over ordered!).

joe's oriental diner

joe's oriental diner

joe's oriental diner

The atmosphere, in this very casual 38 seater diner, is as loud and buzzy as you want it to be. A welcome light relief to the mind-blowing exhibition and our over-scheduled weekend.

joe's oriental diner

 

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glossy finger wagging

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There’s been a fair bit of finger wagging at those glossy magazines this week. Women far and wide (no pun intended) seem to have an axe to grind and it involves those ‘perfect mums’ in those shiny pages profiling their ‘perfect lives’.

Now, I do understand that sometimes those features can be eye-watering nauseating as well as self-esteem damaging. Honestly, I DO get it. But talk yourself off the edge, ladies, and realise that no-one’s life is even half close to perfect. Those magazine editors (who are honestly lovely and normal) have pages to fill and, anyway, reading about a perfect mum is much more inspiring than a lady-who-has-totally-lost-it.

One of those profiled happened to mention that her children do not play with plastic toys, watch TV nor dress in anything less than couture. We all know THAT’S never going to be the truth for us. The real women. But it is amusing that she tries to pretend and should therefore make you smirk not growl.

Peronally, I read these magazines for pure escapism and, actually, it would be a boring old world without them. There are plenty of horror stories in the Daily Mail and Woman’s Own, but I count on those with thicker, sumptuous pages to allow me to fantasize.

So the bottom line is – don’t get your knickers in a twist over someone else’s gloss, it’s often not as it seems.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.

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