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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pinky and the Artful Dodger

         Pinky at Madame Tussaud's with Mel Gibson before he went all weird.

I just received the news that seventeen year old daughter Lulu has arrived safely in London. I feel relieved, grateful and a lovely shade of bottle green.

Last time I went on an overseas holiday was in 2000 with five kids under eleven years of age in tow. My then-husband, the progeny and I, stayed in an apartment in Earls Court in London which was conveniently located right next door to a chemist which I quickly raided soon after arrival and bought the pharmacy out of head lice treatment.

My kids had transported five heads worth of lice from the Antipodes to the Old Dart which really wasn’t cricket at all was it? I had no idea of the infestation when we left Australia and I can say with no uncertainty that head lice definitely thrive and multiply quite joyously in high altitudes such as a Jumbo Jet.

I did wonder if the Aussie head lice got along with their English counterparts or if they argued about the Rugby World Cup.

Traipsing around the rainy streets of London we managed to take in many of the landmarks such as Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Hamleys the biggest toyshop in London, Trafalgar Square and Portobello Road in Notting Hill (with Hugh Grant disappointingly nowhere in sight).

Our most dramatic excursion however, was the day we visited the Tower of London. Apart from seven year old Hagar attempting to scare the ravens away, bringing forth the downfall of Britain and pinching the statue-still Beef-Eaters to see if they were alive, it was fairly uneventful until we were on our journey home. 

My then-husband had arranged a business meeting and handed over the entire responsibility of herding five irritable children onto a bus and back to our nest at Earl’s Court to me.

When the Brits were rounding up the thieves and criminals, slapping on the manacles and sentencing them to transportation to Australia back in the 1700s they must have missed a few who then went on to propagate with abandon.

As soon as I had struggled onto the bus, counting small heads as I went, I noticed my black handbag gaping open, unzipped and inviting. My wallet had gone… was absent, departed, moved out, not there.

My wallet with EVERYTHING in it. All my money, credit cards, driver’s licence, kid’s photos… everything.

“Better ring the credit card companies and cancel all your cards, luv!” suggested the sympathetic bus driver. So I did (as well as inadvertently cancelling all of my then-husband’s credit cards which caused a sh#t load of problems later on).

As we drove past Harrod’s Department Store I watched it slowly disappear into the distance, just like my dreams of a little splurge inside its hallowed walls.

That night I sobbed like a baby. I don’t know if it was that it was my fortieth birthday and I grieved the loss of my more youthful years or because of the fact that I’d been wearing an almost empty money belt under my clothes the whole time and for some stupid, stupid reason had transferred most of my money and all of my cards into my wallet.