Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A note to the new arrival...

Dear Freddie,

Welcome to London, England, the World!

Well, what can I say? You've got a real treat in store. The first few days might feel a bit weird, I should imagine. It's very loud and bright isn't it, and people keep touching you and holding your tiny hands and saying 'oooo' and 'ahhhh' as if you were a firework whooshing in the sky. Well actually you are a firework, an absolutely stunning little cracker so it's an easy mistake.

Now, may I make a few introductions. I think you know your beautiful mummy quite well now - she's the tired but radiant looking one just there laying peacefully, the person you keep staring at and who keeps staring back at you with complete and utter adoration. She worked very hard to transport you here and even though I think she may be protecting me by saying IT WASN'T THAT BAD, Freddie I think she might be telling fibs to Auntie Nicola. However she did tell me it was all worth it and I know by looking at you right now she is telling the solemn truth. You are stunning.

Then there's Daddy, the tall, handsome and very proud man who still looks a bit in shock, in awe, still checking Mummy is ok and that this is not a dream and you are actually here. He is clearly on top of the world; like Crystal Palace just got promoted, or AFC Lanes won the league, all at the same time. Oh, you'll find out a bit about Palace soon enough, don't worry.

Nanny is the one holding you and making baby noises and the one who knows how to do your nappy up properly and everything. Isn't she lovely? I can guarantee you will be loved forever and ever. She makes everyone feel loved and happy. She helped bring you into this world too.

Look, there's Grandad! He's the cool dude in the checked shirt taking photos and cooing and waving and standing safely back when it's time for your nappy to be changed and stuff. Don't worry Freddie. he's my Daddy and apparently he's good at changing nappies, he did mine. He is happy as there's another man in the family. There's been lots of girls you see. He is amazing, a big softie despite being very tall. But don't tell him I told you that, that's our secret.

Now, you've not met Auntie Michelle yet as she lives waaaaay over the over side of the world, in Australia. She would give anything to jump on a big aeroplane (sorry, I'm going too fast, I'll tell you all about this just before you jump on one in March 2012 to see her and Craig) right now but as I whispered gently in one of your beautiful ears earlier, she loves you already and hasn't even met you yet! But she has seen a photo and her and her lovely fiance Craig toasted your wonderful entrance into this world with wine and beer. They love wine and beer.

You've not met Uncle Alex yet either! He is a very special, amazing man. He is so excited about meeting you and yesterday when we found out you were on your way into this world, Uncle Alex was so excited he nearly jumped out of his seat! We were eating brunch (breakfast + lunch - together!) at The Breakfast Club (from the 80s Freddie, during which Auntie Michelle was born and where Auntie Nicola lives in her head most of the time). In the background we heard playing 'You Can Call Me Al' by Paul Simon and 'Loco in Acapulco' by The Four Tops. We said we would never forget that moment or those songs, and we won't ever. Oh, sorry to embarrass you with old music Freddie, I'll come to that later.

Uncle Alex also loves you and can't wait to meet you. He may be naughty though and try and make you say 'West' or 'Ham' but I'll keep my ears open.

You will also meet Nanny Christine, and your honorary Grandparents Jenifer and Philip very soon - lucky boy, they are all lovely!

So, I'm your Auntie now and on this day, your birthday, I'm going to make some promises.

  • I promise I won't try and turn you into a vegetarian or make you eat lentils of wear something with beads or sequins on it. (Although Freddie have you SEEN the Little Marc Jacobs ready to wear collection??).
  • I promise I won't embarrass you in front of your friends by crying every time I see you. This won't be a regular occurrence honestly, although I know you're suspicious after today's performance and quite rightly so.
  • I promise to learn how to hold you properly. That did not look comfortable.
  • I promise I won't over protect you when you get older. You already proved yourself to be a brave solder and so don't need me sticking up for you. Although I swear if anyone....
  • I promise not to take photos all the time or talk about old music or worse still, dance to it! If I do, Uncle Alex will teach you how to raise your eyes to heaven or concentrate intently on the football and ignore me in the hope I'll stop. He is the master of this.
  • I promise I won't always dress like I've been on the road with a band. Scruffy Auntie was caught unawares and did not bring 'Meet Gorgeous Nephew' outfit. This will not happen again.
  • I promise to be the best Auntie I can be, just like my own amazing aunties. Having all of them is like having a real life instruction manual and I shall be consulting with the manuals over the next few days.
  • Mostly. I promise to love you forever Freddie. You are absolutely divine.

Happy Birthday.

Auntie N xx

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Coco Chanel, not City Council.....

Sometimes when things get just a little bit too crazy, something outrageously awful happens that it’s too raw right now to even laugh at it and it feels the world has gone completely and utterly bananas, it only takes one little thing to make me smile again.

Today it was this; dashing around Covent Garden this lunchtime weaving between street artists, tourists, shoppers and the like, I spotted a Chanel Lamppost. For those who get a bit swoony over anything mildly romantic, legend has it that our very own second Duke of Westminster was indeed so taken with Mademoiselle 'Coco' Chanel after their meeting in the late 1920s, that he insisted that all lampposts in Westminster were to have her initials adorned on them.

Apparently Westminster City Council has quashed these romantic notions and state that the 2 C’s actually stand for ‘City Council’. Sigh. Don’t they know what love is? Have they ever seen any of her beautiful designs? Haven’t they read Justine Picardie’s ‘Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life?’ Well?

Coco actually turned down the Duke’s marriage proposal and is said to have told him ‘There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel." in a way in which I suppose only she could have.

Today, I feel the need to be reminded of life’s small but wonderful things and am choosing to go with romance. When I pass that same lamppost later, or on any other sunny day in London, I’ll smile and think of Coco.