Under Pressure

Point me towards an escalating meltdown that needs dealing with, and I am your wonder woman. I LOVES a drama. I loves a mole hill acting like a mountain. You may remember this from previously, when I talked about how catastrophes warm my cockles.

But I only love a drama if it is someone else’s drama. Let’s just get that clear. If I so much as catch a whiff of an impending doom of my own to try to cope with, then I am screwed. My shoulders hunker down and slope forwards, forcing my head to sit low in to my neck. A cold, chilling sweaty film erupts instantly from my pores and I make a noise like a cow giving birth with its windpipe smacked in. It’s all very attractive. (I know you are trying to emulate all this now, including the noise).

Show me the face of my own adversity and I burst into tears and start smacking the shit out of whatever it is, hoping that will fix it. My blog broke the other week, the whole website address showed up as an “error 404” (code for DEAD BLOG) and I morphed into Quasimodo, making my birthing cow noise as slime sprouted over my body. I reacted immediately, without trying to calmly consider the situation and contemplate maybe this was just a temporary blip, and instead screamed on Twitter and Facebook


To which I got an instant reply of

“What? This link? This working link?”

Yes, smart arse, that f*cking link. Oh, and whoopsies, also, thanks for letting me know it’s fixed now!

This week’s earth shattering crisis? My car broke.

Food shopping with kids during school holidays makes me fantasize about swigging from an un-paid for wine bottle as I go round the aisles. It’s stressful. And usually a time when Ed comes up with some of his most marvellous challenges for me to grapple with. Like, how on his actual birthday this year, a school day, he would like a friend home for tea.

“Do you? Ok, we can do that.” I replied

“Yeah. I do. One with black hair. And their own wheelchair”.

Excellent. He’d have been at his new school for a week and he is asking me to phone up the office and request that someone, anyone, who has their own wheelchair,  come round for dinner. Oh, but only as long as they have black hair.

“Oh, sorry Mrs Smith. We only have a ginger child in a wheelchair. Will that do? No? Sorry!”.

I suppose at least he is inclusive in his exclusivity.

So stuff like this was happening and we were on a time limit. We had Granny coming round at 10am and it was now 9.45. And outside it looked like God’s mum had tipped over God’s massive paddling pool in the sky. It was a wall of rain, hammering down furiously and taking no prisoners. And we were all in flip flops. With sun creamy feet.

9.45 and 30 seconds….we stared…

9.46am. Enough is enough, I thought. Preparation is key I thought, as they say. Literally. I pulled out the car key and held it out like Braveheart’s spear before me and we ran out of the store towards the car, the children flying behind me like kites. Three metres from the astra and I started pressing the button for the central locking, launching myself at the door handles, yanking on them to open the door… aaaaaaaand got whiplash. As the bloody door didn’t bloody sodding open.

As my spinal cord juddered to a stop and back to its senses, I clicked the zapper again.

Huh. No flashing indicator lights saying “I’M OPEN FOR BUSINESS!” were throwing themselves at my eyeballs.

I tried again.


It’s the bloody car key battery, I think, in horror, and begin my transformation into Quasimodo. The last time this happened it cost me £200 (TWO HUNDRED POUNDS) to get the car key battery replaced. And this isn’t a robot car of the future. It doesn’t fly. It doesn’t talk. It isn’t Kitt. It’s a Vauxhall Astra estate!


My panic button well and truly pushed, a stream of possible solutions start rushing through my head. And stingy acid tears start filling up my eyeballs, like a porthole on a sinking ship. The sinking ship being my rationality. But I don’t want to act on my terrible solutions just yet and look mental or anything, so I abandon the idea of getting a big rock (from where, who knows) and throwing it at the car window.

“I KNOW!” I say shrilly to the kids “I WILL PHONE FOR THE RAC!”

and reached for my mobile in my bag.

Which is when I remembered I left it in THE BLOODY SODDING SHITTING CAR.

At this point I realised I was well and truly Han Solo. There was no backup coming to rescue me. No man in a bright orange boiler suit was going to come to my aid on a bright orange trusty steed and sort it out. And all that went through my fizz-popping brain was

“Think of this as training for the when the zombie apocalypse comes, Hannah. This is problem solving. You and the boys may be the only survivors left on earth and you have some serious stuff going on. You need resources, you need shelter.”

“Yes,” I thought to myself “Shelter! I will park the children in the covered trolley bay! One problem solved!” and I shuffled them over and planted them there.

“Now for the other problem” I thought to myself “The resources and how to acquire them. OK.”

So I went back to the car and started hitting it. Then I started violently swinging on the door handles. And then shaking them continuously so they make that Dadun! DADUNDADUNDANDADUN!!! sound, trying all the doors, circling the car like it was my kill.


No joy. Nothing. Completely screwed.

“It’s alright boys!” I shouted out, through the monsoon “Mummy is just thinking of a PLAN!”

Yes. Mummy was just thinking of a plan. Mummy was just thinking again about that big rock to smash the window in with.

Yes, I had, despite my best efforts, gone momentarily crazy. I don’t cope well with stress. Last Christmas I was the victim of a hit and run. I phoned Smudge to tell him immediately after it had happened and he told me I needed to call the police. I replied

“But I don’t know their telephone number”.

It was the shock.

Clarity eventually decided to turn up on that occasion, swaggering up like it didn’t realise it was monumentally late for a huge surprise party in its honour and I realised the number I was looking for on that specific occasion was “999”.

Typically late on this occasion, clarity sashayed into my brain, flicked on the light switch in my dark, dark brain and I suddenly went

“Oh. Wait. This isn’t my car”.


And so we ran away. To our actual car. On which, of course, the key worked first time.



Sadly, for my family, this isn’t a one-off thing. A few months ago I unloaded the shopping into the car (same supermarket), put the boys in their seats, returned the trolley, went back to the car, opened the door, and chatting to the boys put one foot in, was half way to sitting down before I realised that the car wasn’t mine. The person in the passenger seat looked terrified. And rightly so.

And the time when I was unloading the shopping and caught my top on the trolley and my boob fell out.

Is this why people choose to online shop instead? By which I mean, to avoid me?







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14 Responses to Under Pressure

  1. I have actual tears of laughter Hannah. Xx

  2. Kath Parkinson says:

    I can just imagine you there in that situation. It must just have looked like “Candid Camera”. You give me so many really good laughs Hannah, you really crack me up but then if you didn’t it wouldn’t be our Hannah – now would it. Thank you so very much.XXX

  3. Mwah hah hah hah! This made me laugh a dirty old womsn gwaffaw laugh.

  4. bopnniecroft says:

    ha x jolly lucky you didn’t use the brick opening method then !? xx

  5. Carly says:

    Brilliant. I do hope Ed finds his black haired, wheelchair owning chum in time for his birthday x

  6. nisha4017 says:

    thats great – you always brighten up my day!!!

  7. nylonliving says:

    LOL. I’ve tried to open other people’s cars before. I think the solution is bumper stickers like they do in the USA. A bunch of tacky, weird places advertised on your bumper will definitely pick out your car from the herd.

  8. Ha ha .. this is brilliant – I have literally been laughing out loud at this and the the children are looking at me open-mouthed wondering what on earth has gotten into me. This reminds me of many crazy instances in Sainsburys when I have lost the plot!

  9. StephsTwoGirls says:

    Tee hee. Am thinking you need to chill. Or maybe just not go shopping again, like you said?! Am only thinking of the children and their embarrassment as they get older you understand…. 😉

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