It’s April Fool’s Day and I think I might be the fool.

I say this as I seem not to understand what is going on in this world right now.

Today, we are encouraged to eat 7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day so that we can all live longer. This is only a few minutes after we were told fruit is dangerous because of the sugar content. What is this obsession with living longer anyway? Our society is not currently equipped to deal in a way that meets the economic and social needs of an ageing population. Yet here we are are carrying out research studies into how to ensure we all live to the age of 200. If we do who is going to pay for us and who is going to care for us?

Then on social media and television programmes, women are making a big deal about not wearing make-up as if it is some brave feat. I do it all the time. I must be due a Pride of Britain Award any day based just on this fact. I won’t make myself popular by saying it but it worries me that some women seem quite so terrified at the idea of being seen in public as they really are. Who has given them that message? Whose purposes does it serve? By the way, I am no way saying it is not great to do things to raise money for charity but I just wonder on this particular campaign what it says about womankind.

The parenting police tell us every day how we are doing it all wrong giving conflicting guidance so we are guilt-ridden which I actually can’t think is good for our children. My parents smoking in the car was the very thing that turned me off trying cigarettes. Fattening goods and salt played a huge part in family food when I was a kid yet my parents both lived into their eighties. Guess what? We even had meals on our laps most of the time in front of the telly and yet we managed family conversation. Again, I am not saying smoking in cars is good – I am merely saying that life pans out and eventually ends whatever the research studies say.

It’s true I am an April Fool and actually if the world keeps going weird on me, I don’t want to live to 200 anyway.

A charmer of sorts

Of no interest initially

A birthday peck on the cheek

And then he bought a raffle ticket

Which made me look at him in a different way

And he won

So we went on a weekend break

After a coffee date

That I still don’t know why I agreed to

Ignoring those who said he was sinister

And then the big secret

That shall not be named

And then finding a birth certificate

For his birthdate but not his name

A worry

Pretend it is not so

He says all the right things

And a gun – what is that about?

All explained

And I always was naive

Following

Drugs

Believing

Being let down

Bashed in the nose

Rape

Or was it?

Princess. Babe. Confusing romance.

The runaway

The theft

The anguish

The desperation

The following

The infidelity

The wake-up call

The end

If you think the Widower could not happen to you

Be afraid, be very afraid.

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My mum’s mum Sally Ann.

My mum Irene.

Dad’s mum Harriet.

Numbers of children – 7, 3 and 1

Numbers of grandchildren – 15, 3 and 3

One of these mums brought up her child whilst caring for her disabled mother.

One of these mums experienced extreme domestic violence.

Two of these mums struggled with depression.

All of these mums experienced poverty and discrimination.

Two of these mums did not get on very well.

Two of these mums were brilliant bakers.

All of these mums went on to see a little of the world.

And on Mothers’ Day, well you could say life is a beach.

Look into those eyes and seize the day. I will if you will.

We met when I was in my teens.

At first I enjoyed having you around thinking having you as a friend proved I was intelligent and interesting.

At college, you would wear me out sometimes and I would take to my bed for a full day.

That used to worry my other friends but I knew you and I understood each other and had our own business to attend to.

As life has gone on, you dip in and out.

You tend to turn up unexpectedly and sometimes I am not ready for you.

You got in the way a bit when I had a baby.

I think I am guilty of putting you first sometimes.

The truth is when you around, I find you irresistible.

At such times, I don’t really want to be with anyone else.

Your words are more cruel now.

You tell me just how fat and ugly I am.

When I explain my hopes for the future, you say I am deluding myself.

Even when I say to leave me alone, you keep catching up with me and telling me that nobody else wants me.

I have online friends now who tell me I am OK.

Some even use words like intelligent, funny and interesting.

They send me virtual hugs in times of crisis.

You say they would recoil if they met me in real life.

And I wonder if you don’t feel the way they seem to why you want to be my friend at all.

I had a sudden memory of me railing at my mother many years ago probably as a sullen teenager.

“You can’t expect me to be grateful. I did not ask to be born and I did not ask you to adopt me. You did it because you wanted to”.

I stood outside school this afternoon watching children with their offerings for their mums for Mothering Sunday. Bags with little gifts and very individual cards. Some brandished them with pride and others had them hidden ready to “surprise” Mum on Sunday.

Ah yes, Mothers’ Day the one day of the year when it is possible although by no means guaranteed for Mum to be put first.

I get my mum more now that I am one.

I think most of us sign up for the motherhood deal not really knowing what it entails and then some of us just have sex and go “Oops” when the penny drops that there is a bun in the oven. Or maybe I just hope that is the case or else I am up for the worst mum in the world award.

Maybe it is just me but there are some aspects of being a mum I do not like one bit.

Having to be vigilant about the children all the time so that you really don’t have time to care for yourself too.

The parenting police and constant research surveys telling you loud and clear you are doing it all wrong.

The way that ear wax can appear in ears and stains on jumpers seconds before the school run begins.

The way you constantly have to remind them what should be pretty basic like “Please flush the loo” and “If you could clean your teeth, it would make Mum really happy”

The obsessions with all things gaming that I get approximately not at all.

The things you find under sofas and drawers

The monotony of school runs

Looking back, I have this sepia image of myself as a good girl. The sins I admit to are ..

Hiding poo in a wardrobe once – yes really.

Ironing the stairs for mum and leaving the iron there so that my Mum fell down and had a bad arm for life as a result

Obsessions with stamp and doll collections.

Breaking two valuable ornaments and gluing them together and painting them with a kid’s paint set to hide my crime

Moodiness – some things never change!

Not introducing Mum to friends at Cambridge. I did not mean anything by this but it hurt her.

Dear Mum

You took on someone else’s baby when you were in middle-age and could have given yourself a much easier ride.

You said on your deathbed you had spent too much time cleaning. As you know, I feel this already.

You cooked the most amazing meals on a daily basis.

You went out and cleaned for other people so that I could have little treats.

You always bought me a gift after dental appointments.

You told me I would never be lonely so long as I continued to read books.

You taught me to aspire.

You fought my corner however powerful the authority figure.

You introduced me to Cointreau on the Rocks.

You were amazing and it might be a little late but I hope you know that whether I “should” be or not, I am very grateful.

Somehow I have to work out a new way so that I am good enough to be your daughter.

And suddenly Mum is my ear saying “They won’t come knocking on your door. You’ll have to get out there and do something about it”

Once, twice, three times a lady – that was my Mam.

Winnettes