Pump Up the Pram… While Your Fleet Are Romping – Part I

On 24th August, as part of a busy day, the Duchess of Cambridge will visit Hayward Tyler – a nuclear pump and motor specialist engineering firm. I’m not feeling too pumped currently, but I’m sure, in part two, we will find what drives the Duchess’ determination to motor through even the dullest of duties.

“I’m just tired,” I wheeze into the phone to my friend, who calls as I let go of leads and double pram, freeing dogs, children and plastic toy pump into the low tangles of the meadow (really a land mine zone of animal shit and thorns).

We left the house because my noble act of topping up the freezing paddling pool with boiled water injections ended in a dead kettle when I submerged it in a ‘this will be quicker than using the tap’ moment of idiocy. After switching the kettle on and off several times, swearing at the fuse box and swaddling shivering children in tea towels, nuclear canine energy threatened to twist us all into a white rapid vortex so we legged it out for another walk.

NG & NC Hayward Tyler

Just a short(s) fall.

Like a stunned catfish, I watch my four charges gambol gaily through the grasses. NC is a released balloon, commando crawling at a barbed wire fence. NG’s wearing shorts which only stay up when she’s wearing pants, which she isn’t. NL starts barking at me to throw his ball. My mother’s Lab spots a rabbit and becomes Usain Bolt. “Anyway, what are you doing this week?”

My friend, whom I love, has no children or dogs and a wardrobe filled with Jigsaw. “Not much. Getting my nail fix. Do you want to come? We could go window shopping.”

I glance at my claws, which look as if they’ve been used to escape prison. Ragged, weak, flaky… I tell my brain to fuck off with its suggestion they reflect my own mental state. I do need a dress for the Mad Blog Awards next month. (Whether I can afford one is a moot point). “Can we do it tomorrow?”

Tomorrow, NC has a ‘trial period’ at nursery and NG is also occupied. I can drop them, power-walk the dogs with a tennis ball whazzer and be sipping coffee in a child unfriendly cafe by 11 if I play my cards right. The idea has the dubious shimmer of the lipstick Peter Jones wore on Dragons’ Den.

NG comes running up to me and smudges the polish. “Mummy, where is my rocket?”

The air pump toy we bought for her third birthday is cool in an old skool way but drives the dogs wild. I extract it with uncertainty from the buggy depths. She’s old enough to set it up now and with a ‘pffft’ the hollow plastic dildo form soars into the air.

“What are you doing?” asks my friend, who is still hanging on (love her).

“Having fun with gravity,” I say. “Are we on for tomorrow?”


Don’t submerge this in a paddling pool. (ACTUAL advice).

She confirms, we hang up and I trudge round the field in a relatively benign state, wondering idly what the hell the Duchess of Cambridge will find to say on her tour of Hayward Tyler Engineering next week. Apparently they make submersible motors. The blog is doing well and I ponder whether Hayward Tyler would consider sending me a gland-less wet wound stator for review. I have no effing clue what one is but apparently they invented it. I’m sure Kate will be prepped. She probably uses it in a kettle… my thoughts are interrupted by a loud wail. Looking over, one of the dogs has brought down the rocket pump. The Labs toss the flaccid pink carcass between them with carefree abandon only felt by those who are fed, watered and cleaned up after by others.

NG runs up and hugs my leg. I shove a mini box of raisins at her. She sniffs, then trots off again. The phone rings. NW is at work but excited about his forthcoming day skipper course (we haven’t got a boat). It is lunch time and he’s sitting sipping coffee in a child unfriendly cafe.

“Hi,” he says. “How’re things?”

“Fine.” I don’t tell him about the kettle. Or the rocket.

“Oh. Good,” he says cheerfully.

We discuss the Tesco shop. The line isn’t great (noisy Londoners chatting about interesting things and eating cake) and, as I prepare to ring off, the back wheel of the buggy trips on a molehill and lurches sideways. The tyre’s flat. I tell NW.

“You need to do what to the pram?”

“Pump it. Pump it up.”

I watch NG spin on her size 7 canvas pump, stumble because her shorts are around her knees, and topple onto a thistle. NL is rolling in something.

“You want to pimp up the buggy? Why? Erm… can you do it when you get your nails and dress?”

I take a deep breath. “Are you eating something delicious?” I say, tucking NC under my arm and forcefully removing a head of clover.

“Um, yes. Carrot cake.”

“Parrot cake?”

“No, carrot cake.”


Pumps: Kate’s sort.

“I know you said carrot cake. Like I said ‘pump’, not ‘pimp’.”

“What’s your point?”

I don’t have one. The buggy needs air, the dogs need controlling and a kettle needs to be bought but somehow, even with the thought of tomorrow’s shop, I just feel deflated.

“Cheer up,” he says. “What are the children doing?”

NG is limping towards me. There is a bit of blood.

“There’s a wet wound situation going on,” I say.

“I was reading about gland-less motors in Boating Today,” he says enthusiastically. “And aren’t the Cambridges going to look round some company on Wednesday? Wet wound gland-less pumps.”

My brain swells like NC’s overnight nappy at the number of retorts this comment begs but I don’t want things to blow up so I whistle for the dogs, press NW for details and go home (not) to put the kettle on.

NOTE: This story is part one of a two-part serial. Teaser: find out how Kate copes in the second part, set in Anmer Hall. Pump it up!

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  1. August 20, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    You get about a thousand mum points for TRYING – paddling pool, aerated whizzing thing, dog walks…I admire your spirit in the face of perpetual exhaustion, relative poverty and flaky nails. My real nails are also flaky, under the costly acrylic which is contributing to my own borderline poverty, and I’m also perpetually exhausted. If it weren’t for these bloody kids I’d suggest getting our nails done together AND sipping coffee….maybe our follicle-challenged husbands could amass all dogs, children and hangers on and go for some stressy carrot cake in the name of “giving mum a bit of a rest”…

    • August 21, 2016 / 7:07 am

      Oh, thank you Sam. That’s right… I TRIED. So up for going for coffee. I think you’re not far away from me so we could dump the children and dogs and have a carrot cake ‘n’ cappuccino on the M27 somewhere? Actually, that sounds hellish. How about I drive mine up to IKEA and we ‘do’ the children’s bit and then stuff them full of meatballs while we chat? Hmm. That also sounds hellish. Like your thinking though… maybe we could even run together one day… we can dream… xx

      • August 24, 2016 / 11:25 pm

        Genuinely yes! The old M27 corridor could work but Ikea would give the children a lovely work out, plus they have those dime / daim bars. Although we may lose them in Marketplace. I’m supposed to be thanking you for linking to #chucklemums but I’m too excited about this now.

  2. August 21, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Sounds like you’re having a very trying day indeed and one you seem to be handling far better than I would! I have to agree with MouseMooMeToo you certainly have earned some major mummy points not only for trying to fill the pool, but also for making it through the day.xx #KCACOLS

  3. August 21, 2016 / 10:49 am

    Sometimes the day is just a complete rotter isn’t it? Well done for trying. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday. x

    • August 21, 2016 / 7:38 pm

      Thanks Becky… it came at the end of a loooong week but am feeling a little bit better after a weekend with some help (not only in the form of gin! 😉 thanks for hosting #kcacols

  4. August 21, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Too many innuendos in this post – I don’t even know where to begin!
    I shall go and hunt down Part Deux now…

  5. August 21, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Well done for trying. #EatSleepBlogRT

  6. Colleyswobbles
    August 21, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    Firstly I must applaud you on the amazing title, I love a good song title reference. I have had an absolute turd of a day but this has made me smile no end. Brilliantly written and very funny. Gutted about the kettle, that would be considered as an emergency in our household, the husband is an obsessive tea drinker. Right I’m off to discover part two! #eatsleepblogrt

  7. August 22, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Hilarious as always! You paint such a vivid picture, and I am now going to have a somewhat questionable 80s classic stomping about in my brain for the next few hours – your title is far better though 😉 I got half way through this giggling to myself, and then blurted out “I want a nail fix!!” like a whiney toddler, much to The Hubby’s bewildered amusement. Looking forward to part II. Thanks for linking with #fartglitter x

  8. August 23, 2016 / 10:14 pm

    Oh god, you’re getting a dress?? Eek. Better start hunting. The kettle sounds completely like something I would do… #chucklemums

  9. August 24, 2016 / 9:24 am

    I can just see everything as you describe it and rolled my eyes multiple times in sympathy for you when you were on the phone! I think I’d have lost it with him. Hope you get a fab dress for the awards and best of luck in them. #KCACOLS

  10. August 24, 2016 / 9:54 am

    Ha ha, so funny, sounds like you try and fit the most into every day and lets not even go there with the innuendos! #BloggerClubUK

  11. August 24, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    Totally feel your pain here – i battle through exhaustion, with frightful nails, to take kids and dog to the park everyday. Hard work!

  12. August 24, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Popping back to say thanks for joining #chucklemums 🙂

  13. August 25, 2016 / 8:11 am

    Oh wow! That is one crazy manic morning! I hope you managed to get your nails done! Thanks for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRt

  14. August 25, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Poor kettle! I hate those split second silly mistakes that you regret instantly and don’t know why you did! Hope you found a dress.

    Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

  15. August 26, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    AH the old kettle in the paddling pool – I too have made such a foolish error… Good luck with the MADs hope you found a suitably lovely dress 🙂 #EatSleepBlogRT

  16. August 27, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    Haha some days are just a complete fail aren’t they? A* for effort though! Should ahve just gone home and got yourself some Parrot cake 😉 #kcacols

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