20 Elements for the Perfect Day

>> Sunday, 12 October 2008

Every now again I try to convince myself that I am a cultured individual, and pick up the Weekend FT. Now, of course I don't read the business section. Or the Homes section. Or indeed that other section, the name of which escapes me right now but is probably something like 'The Bit for All You Masters of the Universe Currently Seeking Employment'. (There's a lot of it about, apparantly.) No, I'm afraid I cut straight to the chase and go for the Lifestyles and Leisure section.

This features articles about luxury food and wine, expensive shopping, high-end fashion, and comments on world events. So far, so Sunday Times, so wish-list for me... But on the back page there is usually an article by the very interestingly named Tyler Brûlé. Our Tyler (who, I must say, looks a bit of a fox in his byline -though I am of course far too old and cynical to be taken in by a shot that may well have been taken 20 years and 20 kilos ago), in addition to contributing to the hallowed pages of the FT, is editor in chief of Monocle Magazine. (Great title or not? You decide...)

I'm not sure why Mr Brûlé's thoughts catch my eye on the rare occasions I pick up this paper. I'm a simple person; it may well be as obvious a fact as his surname reminding me of one of my most favourite puddings (a list I will save for another post). And yes, I know it's spelt differently, but my tastebuds are not bothered by that. Or it could be that I'm simply interested in what a person who seems mainly to jet around being cool, composed, and effortlessly (one might almost say 'smugly') stylish has to say for himself. In any case, this week's offering got me thinking, as he profferred ' 20 elements to at least provide a framework for the Nobel Prize for a Perfect Day'. Click on the link if you want to find out what they were.

Of course, Tyler, you don't get the last word on this matter. Here are my 20 elements.

Please note however, that rather than listing such vital things as 'the perfect cappucino' I have stayed within the bounds of reality and worked within the framework of my life as it stands... If you want a stylish Nobel Prize winning day, I suggest you go to the FT site and visit the custard dessert.


1. Waking up before the alarm clock and realising that I have slept the entire night through without midnight (and 2.00, 4.00, and 5.30am) trips to either of my son's bedrooms to detangle them from bedclothes, minister to 'itchy legs', accompany to the loo or - and this is my particular favourite - refold a 'comfort' blanket that has dropped to the floor. Usually at 3.00am.

2. A whine-free wake-up of the Boys, and no fighting or spilt milk (literally) when they come into our bed for 5 minutes of cuddle time before the morning fracas that is 'getting out bed' commences.

3. Having Husband at home on a school day, which means being able to shower in peace whilst he deals with exploding nappies, early morning complaining, earnest assertions that no, there will be no school today, and arguments over who gets to play with the Bumblebee Transformer Toy.

4. Having been organised enough to get the breakfast stuff ready the night before. (Oh, how I used to mock my mother for doing that. How little I knew...)

5. Boy #2 miraculously having learned to pooh in the potty overnight removing the need for a last minute nappy change (and possible subsequent change of clothes - usually his, occasionally mine) before leaving for school.

6. Not having to ask Boy #1, at gradually increasing volume levels, four times to 'please Put ON YOUR SHOES!'

7. Not having to apologise to the Boys for shouting about the shoe incident.

8. A smooth trip to Boy #1's school, free of expletives (funny how 'blast!' sounds ok when an adult says it, but definitely not when it's repeated by your 2 or 5 year-old), roadworks and Chelsea Tractors. Oh yes, and not being trapped on a particular one-way street in South Kensington whilst a certain (very exclusive) school minibus stops to pick up one of it's highly cossetted passengers who is never ready and who's mummy, daddy and nanny all have to traipse outside to give the little darling a goodbye kiss and check that said angel is safely ensconsed in the bus. I know, I know. I should change my route. But, on the other hand, the child should be ready!!!!!!!! (God,I didn't know that was all in there, but typing those exclamation marks felt good!!!!!)

9. A drop-off without emotional wobble for Boy #1. ('nuff said?)

10. A parking spot outside Boy #2's nursery. (ditto)

11. Achieving both drop-offs in my tatty gym-clothes without being spotted by any yummies in their spotless work clothes. Oh, hang on a moment. This is my perfect day, right? So, this is a day without a gym trip! Hurrah!

12. Sailing effortlessly through chores like laundry and tidying when I get home. I would write that they should have already been done by our invisible maid - Muriel by name, again, check this link if you wonder what on earth I'm on about - but this is supposed to be within the bounds of my reality, so sadly, it's down to me.

13. A postal delivery consisting of a free sweater from Boden (in the right size rather than made for a some petite 14 year -old as they so often seem to be) and some interesting, amusing and handwritten letters from friends and family. Rather than the usual mish-mash of estate agent missives (ARE YOU TRYING TO SELL YOUR HOUSE? We have 50 thousand buyers all lined up WAITING TO BUY IT FROM YOU!), bank statements (shoot me now), utility bills (HOW much??), fast-food menus, and letters from the garden committee telling me that they are considering banning children from the garden before 10.00am at the weekend (too cross to post on this one right now).

14. Logging on to find a host of other bloggers have been interested enough in my last post to bother commenting (now I sound needy...)

15. A smooth transition from morning through lunchtime, with no frenzied attacks on the biscuit tin when the munchies set in around 11.20am and it seems just that little bit too long to wait until lunchtime, and a trouble-free pick-up of Boy #2 from nursery.

16. An absence of delinquent behaviour from Boy #2 when we go to collect his brother from school.

17. A sunny afternoon allowing the Boys to run around the garden / local park and let off steam before coming home starving hungry and eating all their dinner. WITHOUT COMPLAINT. (OK, I know I said this was supposed to be based in reality, but I can dream, can't I?)

18. A boys' bathtime when all the water stays in the bath and the mop stays in the kitchen, followed by an unexpected strike at Nick Jnr thus meaning no 'Max and Ruby' on tv. (If I have to hear that theme tune one more time...)

19. A picture-perfect bedtime for the boys, with stories enjoyed, lights out when requested, no need to switch off Boy #2's dimmer at the fuse box, and no jack-in-the-box appearances to complain it is too dark, he's thirsty, or his blanket needs re-folding from Boy #1.

20. Being in bed myself at 10.00pm. (Like that's ever going to happen...)

You know what? Unsurprisingly, having read my list through, I think I want Tyler's...


Bush Mummy 12 October 2008 at 22:07  

Oh I'm so there with you - particularly on Point 8. Who'd have thought the school run could be so ageing?

Irene 12 October 2008 at 22:42  

And to think I survived all that and lived to tell about it, well, if I wanted too, and still have the time and the energy to live a whole other life without children or husband and find out that I can be an autonomous female who chooses what she does with her life every day all by herself. That is actually less sad than it sounds, really. It's actually very cool. Hang in there, PM, you too will survive this and have another life after this one.

Expat mum 13 October 2008 at 01:49  

Well yours is definitely more realistic. Come on, anyone who writes for something called Monacle can't possibly relate to normal everyday experiences, as evidenced by the list. Sounds like he has far too much time on his hands. (Not at all envious BTW.)

sharon 13 October 2008 at 02:10  

Wouldn't it be nice.... however the shock to your system would probably prove to be fatal! Always good to have a goal or twenty though.

nappy valley girl 13 October 2008 at 08:49  

I read Tyler's list too! And had similar thoughts....is it me or was it just a little smug (like, this is the kind of day he gets fairly often).

Love your list - especially your frustration about child not getting in the car in S. Ken....there is always one, isn't there.

Anonymous,  13 October 2008 at 11:36  

Brilliant list. If I HAD to go to work on such a perfect day having London's transport system vaugely working (unlike this morning!) would feature pretty highly. We can wish I suppose!

Adventure Mother 13 October 2008 at 13:22  

I am exhausted just reading that list, Potty Mummy. The strange thing is, my own list would be just as exhausting but the clock would be wound on a few years i.e. minus the nappies!

Potty Mummy 13 October 2008 at 13:41  

BM, you're right. The grey hairs are definitely getting out of control and it's nothing to do with being over 40...

Irene, don't worry. I moan, but I love it (most of the time).

EPM, me neither. Not envious AT ALL. And ask yourself, is he happy? (Well yes Potty, it would appear so...)

Sharon, maybe not fatal. But I would probably need to have a bit of a lie down and a piece of chocolate. (Like always, then)

NVG, definitely, he is smug. But then, I probably would be too, in his shoes! (Something tells me there's no wild-eyed exhausted wife waiting at home to thrust a sodden-nappied child into his arms the moment he walks through the door...)

Mud, you know, one of the best things about not being in paid employment is not having to brave the transport system.

AM, I think everybody's list would be exhausting if they could be bothered to write it down. They, however, have much better things to do on a Sunday night than I do - clearly! (Probably off editing forthcoming issues of Monocle Magazine or similar)

Iota 13 October 2008 at 17:04  

Love the list. Am surprised that chocolate doesn't feature...

aims 13 October 2008 at 19:40  

Irene's comment made me laugh!

Yes - you too will survive this and live on afterwards with grown children leaving their children on your doorstep!

Ah....the perfect life!

Potty Mummy 14 October 2008 at 11:10  

Iota, because obviously, chocolate features EVERY day...

Aims, have you been talking to my mother?

Mom/Mum 14 October 2008 at 21:35  

Tyler sounds like a right smug wotsit if you ask me. loved your list much more, esp the show thing. We soo go throught the same request about 50 times every blinking day!

Mom/Mum 14 October 2008 at 21:36  

I meant to type, the 'shoe' thing, not the 'show' thing. Having one of those days today. Soz!

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