The Arab and the Army Nurse


You are cordially invited… Isn’t that how all invitations start? Well this one had an addendum. Come as something beginning with A.


So, I ended up at Masquerades Costume Hire in Sunninghill Village early on Saturday morning. I was going to go to Lola Montez, but Small girl aged 5 insisted on accompanying me and I didn’t think that would be appropriate. Accosted by the aroma of the million sweaty armpits I contemplated ABBA, but the costumes were just too dreadful. I found a very cute sequined mini-mini-mini dress of the American Flag, which I quite liked, but they didn’t have Captain America so not a couple deal. After much deliberation between Small girl aged 5, myself, the shop attendant and the husband, we settled on Army. The dress was skin tight, skimmed by hips and displayed my cleavage magnificently. Teemed with black high heeled boots and fishnets I was good to go.


Or not. Frantic search for a babysitter ensued. Small boy aged 6 needed to be dropped off at a birthday party at the Zoo en-route. How hard could that be? Excruciating. Absolutely excruciating. I turned to husband and said, “Darling, please run interference for me, I am wearing fishnets.” “PAH!” said husband, “They all wish they could.” Whatever. Child did not want to be abandoned at the Zoo, necessitating mother alighting from the car in fishnetted splendour, much to the horror of the PTA Mummies and some appreciative stares from the Daddies. “Are you going to a party,” asked one perceptive male once his jaw had managed to close. “No,” I said breezily, “I always dress like this on a Saturday outing to the Zoo.” Actually, I didn’t, but surely I can give the truth some scope. All in all I handled it with remarkable aplomb I thought, although I doubt I’ll be getting any more invitations to join the Mummies for breakfast. Small boy aged 6 was duly returned home much relieved not to have to go safari.


The party itself was in Brixton and the crazy white people provided the neighbourhood entertainment for the evening. Upon arrival I sashayed (thanks to boots) into the kitchen, recoiled in horror and retreated outside. What is it with women and congregating in kitchens? Perhaps, thanks to going to an all-girls school, I have developed a wholly reasonable fear of female gatherings. There sheer accumulation of estrogen in such a small place was frankly dangerous. Upon an informal poll, I discovered this feeling was shared by many, mostly men. The outfit was a success. I was goosed twice by an Arab and am now fully in support of the war of terror, once by an Apache and an Angler asked for the costume hire contact details for his wife next weekend. Apparently, they’ve done the naughty nurse thing. TMI. My husband responded to the vegetarian fare with ill-disguised horror and distrust, and bought a steak on the way home. Actually, the veggie food was pretty good I thought after braving the domestic centre of the home for some after a healthy dose of dutch courage. Thank you Mr. Jack.


Now, the trip home should have occurred with no mishaps, but on the way to return the baby-sitter to the location my husband was pulled over by the perennially aggressive and offensive South African Police. White men are not allowed to drive home their darker-skinned babysitters in the middle of the night. Instead we should let her walk home alone carrying a 6 month baby. Despite threatening him with arrest unless properly bribed, husband managed to extricate himself with no loss of life, limb or hard earned money. Every white man in the location is not looking for a black prostitute and every black lady on Oxford Road is not for hire.


Once more into the breach on Sunday morning, surprisingly hangover free, I started work on the Great Wendy House Construction and now look like I have some strange disease as I am riddled with tiny lollipop pink spots. Small boys aged 6 and 8 nagged me for a movie and so off we ventured into The Zone. I refused on principle to enter a movie that started 30 minutes prior and dragged two sulky children off to Vanilla for bribery by chocolate milkshake. I had to up the ante and promise to take them and all their friends to a movie next weekend. Sucker. We meandered gently through the market and Small boy aged 6 fell in thrall to a set of salt and pepper shakers. Bizarre, but at least functional, so I bought them. Finally, I treated myself and them to a wonderful book called The Dangerous Book for Boys. It tells boys everything from essential boy gear (string, compass, pocket knife) to how to make the perfect paper jet. Brilliant.


Of course, my good fortune had to end sometime and Monday morning has been it. The torrential rain has killed the electric gate and I have no clue where the manual gear is. After finally exiting my home I discovered the river has burst its banks and there is no way out of my neighbourhood. I duly retreated home to work in warmth and quiet calm and am about to try once more to hit the road. Wish me luck.

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