Potty purgatory

In case you missed my last Facebook update (that would be you, the world) we’re tackling the dreaded potty training this week. The timing comes amid reports that one in ten primary schools have children in Reception unable to control their bladders. I read this in part shock, part smug satisfaction (whilst watching my little one dance in his own puddles) knowing that in a week’s time I’ll be over the hump, my son commode-confident and nappy free (well, except for nighttime. Heavens, I’m not that ambitious). But my cold-turkey approach (all pants, all the time, there is NO going back) means I’m more or less bound to the homestead– the equivalent of wearing one of those celeb-trendy anklets a la Lindsay Lohan. You get the picture. My daily excursions are limited to no more than a few streets from the nearest toilet, preferably Chez Carmalt.

What to do, what to do? There’s only so much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse one can watch. (And before you judge, I don’t let my children watch Mickey Mouse all day… there’s also Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny and Peppa Pig.)

Ah! I know…we’ll just pop by my favourite children’s store across the street for some story telling and a spot of tea. But then I remembered– it is no more, gone forever, nothing but a depressing space of empty, dusty chipboard shelving and droopy-drawered construction men readying it for the next tenants. One guess who those might be? Yes, my favourite children’s book store, which once boasted such delights as cupcakes, toys and handy birthday gifts in a pinch, has become the latest casualty in the death of the high street– set to become that ubiquitous suburban mainstay– the ESTATE AGENT. I ask you… is nothing sacred anymore?? They’re hoovering up retail space like it’s going out of fashion, single-handedly destroying the USP of mine and many other a neighbourhood with their charmless identikit windows of over-priced Georgian terraces and new-build flats. It’s just so predictable and uninspiring and frankly, I’m fed up. Where’s Mary Portas when you need her??

They’re spreading like a virus. Old Town will have no less than eleven estate agents alone– ELEVEN–nearly outnumbering every other shop combined. Where once was a charming wine vendor or gift shop, there now stands a Foxtons, Hamptons, Marsh & Parsons or other business of suck ilk (and in my humble opinion, lacking any discernible qualities differentiating one from another– a commoditised service, if you will (and I will)). Apparently I should be grateful, the alternative being bet shops and pawn brokers. ICK. The whole thing is too depressing. In my ceaseless attempts to get published (in any capacity, all you editors out there) I thought about highlighting this rather upsetting development in a local magazine or flyer. But then judging from the back pages of every ‘freemium’ glossy squeezed through my letterbox, such griping against their biggest advertisers is unlikely to get air time. Alas, this must be my outlet. In fairness, ok, I get it, they’re simply capitalising on that oh-so-British and achingly middle-class obsession with real estate–indeed, property porn has replaced the real thing in many a web browser. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though. So anyway. I appreciate this is all a bit worthy and serious, but really I just wanted to have a moan, because as fruitless as it is, it makes me feel better… and kill a bit of time between mops.

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