The school playground: skipping games, ball games, mind games, giggling, name calling, teasing, nobody to play with… and that’s just the mums at drop off and pickup time!
Yesterday, I found a couple of nice mums to play with, I mean chat with whilst waiting for Sophie. Celeste’s mum was on her own standing on the spongy black ground in the area of the wooden play equipment. Her head was held high showing off her perfectly applied makeup, and her neat little blonde bob bounced gently in the breeze. Dressed in a perfectly tailored pink tweed jacket, navy jeggings and tanned leather riding boots just to give her that ‘dressed down’ horsey/country look. In fact she wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Boden or Joules Autumn catalogue. She looked a little awkward with her hands held at her front and attempting to cross her legs to make herself look relaxed and like she fitted in with all the other mums at Morecaster Community Primary School. She didn’t. She looked more like she needed a wee.
“Hi!” I smiled at her and plonked myself right next to her, wheeling Ollie’s giant buggy cum wheelchair in front of me and applying the brakes, suggesting I wasn’t going to be moving for a while. She seemed to relax a little now that she had someone to talk to. I rarely talked to the woman but I vaguely remembered her saying something about her running her own business, and by the way she was dressed I imagined she worked straight from her home office in a grand country house with seven bedrooms, acres of land, her own stables and spent her weekends either at gymkhanas or shooting pheasants.
“Oh, hello!” Her perfectly white teeth almost blinded me as she smiled politely and an invisible cloud of Chanel No.5 wafted towards me. Soon the heady scent was interrupted by something altogether different and more pungent. I suddenly felt the need to sneeze when I realised Connor’s mum was standing on the other side of me.
“Hiya, love! You alright?” she enquired flashing her toothy grin at me. I noticed half her lunch seemed to still be stuck between her two front teeth and I found myself running my tongue along mine and then picking at them with my nail, just for good measure. She didn’t seem to notice. Her long mousey brown hair was unwashed and she appeared to still be wearing her pyjamas – leopard print fleecy bottoms with a stained hooded jumper. I noticed Celeste’s mum discreetly cover her nose with her hand and casually step a little further away.
Conversation flitted between the weather, how the night’s seem to be drawing in and who our favourite is to win ‘Strictly’ this year. Somehow we soon moved to talking about our pets. Connor’s mum commented, “I’ve never understood how people can get so attached. You know, like these people who regard these animals like their own children!”
“Oh, I’m afraid I’m definitely one of those people.” Celeste’s mum raised her eyes and smirked tilting her head to the side and tucked her perfectly blow dried hair behind her ears, showing off a pair of pearl earrings. “I actually planned both my pregnancies around my horse Minty.”
“Your horse is called Minty?” Connor’s mum wasn’t impressed. “What’s his second name? Fresh?” she cackled.
I stifled a giggle but tried to break the tension by pitching in, “Well, I can understand that closeness you can feel towards your animals. Our dog George was always our little girl until the children came along. And much as I still love her, she is now well and truly just ‘The dog’”
“I had our cat put down once Connor was born.”
I heard an instant gasp from Celeste’s mum. Her perfectly contoured face was now as white as a porclein doll, and her lipsticked jaw was practically on the spongy playground floor, “You killed your cat?!” Her voice was shrill.
“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘killed’. You know it was getting pretty old and…”
The school bell rang, doors flung open and children piled out.
“Ay up, ‘ere they cum!” Connor’s mum yelled over the din, and almost instantly we were leaped upon and practically rugby tackled by our tiny children.
And so the playground talk ended for another day.