The road to motherhood

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK.

I am close to my Mum and always have been. Even though I now live on the opposite side of the world, we still keep all the connections going and spent time together just recently when I was in Melbourne over the Christmas / New Year period.

Others are not so fortunate. Some will spend the day in remembrance whilst a great many more will fall somewhere between the luxury of close proximity and feeling separated emotionally. For still others, this is just another day.

In Australia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May so today is a bit of an awkward one for me. There’s the flurrying around me here but my official nod happens in May. I’ve been grappling with how best to acknowledge this UK version for the last couple of days.

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Paris parallels

Firstly, I know I said that the Armchair Tours of Paris would start next but Mother’s Day (the Aussie version) falls on Sunday 12th, which is tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait a little longer. C’est la vie.

In thinking about how I would roast honour my lovely Mum this year, I was taken back to my very first visit to Paris…with Mum. We’d been away for 5 weeks and Paris was the final few days of our continental grand tour. We were tired and non-French-speaking so we had a few multitude of silly moments together in the City of Lights. (A rather ridiculous session of charades with a patient shopkeeper in an effort to get directions to the nearest cash point springs to mind.)

And I took what seemed like a squillion photos then too (which, in the pre-digital age, cost me an absolute fortune to have developed). Mum took more.

It is well-known in our family that Mum is a little…well snap-happy.

And this has been borne out over the years as her wanderlust has expanded to take in places like the USA and Canada, and adventures like a snowstorm in Petra, a cruise on the Nile and a whole lot in between.

I know this for a fact. I’ve been back to Melbourne. I’ve seen the evidence photo albums.

Anyway, I had been wondering whether I had kept any photos of her from our inaugural parlay with Paris…and you’re in luck (Mum maybe not so much…) So here’s how much things have really changed.

There was our bird’s eye view from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower on the night of our arrival in 2000…


…while this time my opening night perspective was a little more grounded from the Place de la Concorde.

Paris2013_parismay13concord02Being new to the whole travelling lark, we were fascinated by the public loos in the streets of Paris. There was some consternation about what would happen if you got stuck in there. Mum was relieved in more ways than one when the door opened……while this time around I was just relieved my loo with a view came with no windows directly opposite.

Paris2013_hotelpavillonoperabourse6This was a rare moment of still and quiet contemplation for Mum near the Jardin des Tuileries……whilst last Sunday I found mine – with a good book in hand – on the way from Raspail to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Paris2013_parismay13tojardindeluxemborg11And finally there was Mum’s first espresso on a cafe terrace overlooking the Place de la Concorde (she succumbed my nagging sound advice after five days of having moaned about Paris’ horrible and expensive cappuccinos)… 

Paris2013_EspressowithMum …whilst not too far away, on a grey afternoon more than 12 years later, I found heavenly, chocolate-y solace – and a coffee – at Angelina.

Paris2013_EclairatAngleinaSuch great, great memories!

So all that’s really left to do is to find her an armful of gorgeous flowers (freshly pic’ed from the Jardin du Luxembourg)…
…and send her lots of love and squillions of virtual hugs.

Happy Mothers Day Mum!

Two For The Price Of One…

Today is Mother’s Day…again!  With the UK already celebrating Mothering Sunday in March, it always leaves me wondering whether I should be wishing Mum a Happy Mother’s Day then (as I am in the UK) or today – but I guess that two for the price of one is a pretty good deal and anyway, who am I to begrudge sending a little more Mother’s Day love out into the ether?

In any case, those of you who read Gidday From The UK on a regular basis may remember that I have already posted in honour of Mother’s Day Part One so I figured it was time to roast honour Mum in a different way – this time by regaling you all with the trials and tribulations of my childhood dressed as ‘Two For The Price Of One’.  The story goes like this:

My Mum sewed.  A lot.  Before I came along, she made big stuffed toys like this gi-normous panda. 

Yes that’s me with the panda!

She also made amazing ‘pyjama dogs’ that had a zip on the underside that you could pop your ‘jarmies’ in ’til next time.  Mine was orange. No, I do not have a picture.

Deciding that toys were not enough, she then moved on to outfits. It started innocently enough with individual ensembles…

(Lil Chicky was eye-ing off the Christening Cake)

And then she got thrifty…

Look at those ringlets – Mum’s a talented woman!
We do love a birthday in the Hamer clan!
Actually I think our Oma might have knitted these vests – Mum got everyone in on the act!
And still matching hairdos!

…as not only could Mum get a better deal on the material, it meant that Lil Chicky could continue to wear my hand-me-downs for years to come.  (Boy, she REALLY loved that!)

Anyway, this continued on until we rebelled (it was a little uncool once we got to school and had friends who came over to play!), only to slide right back into it in our teens…

I’m (17) on your left, Lil Chicky (13) is on your right

…although we were being Mum’s bridesmaids and she didn’t make the dresses herself and they are different colours – but enough said.  A picture paints a thousand words.

So a it’s couple of decades (and a bit) later and I figure Lil Chicky and I have managed to weather the storm and emerge relatively unscathed. (‘Oh thank goodness’, I hear you whisper.  No it’s ok – don’t apologise. I understand.)  But little did I realise that my departure from Oz had left such a gap…

Mum (L) and Lil Chicky (R)

Ladies, it’s time to let go! 

Happy Mother’s Day!