Nearly three and a half years on, here comes another one.
Last time, the rant was about cheese. Or rather, being refused mature cheddar. You can read about it here. Yes, rather embarrassingly, it made national news. For about five minutes.
This time, my ranting is a bit calmer. No letters of complaint have been written, no crossed words spoken. Just a quiet moan here to you, my lovely readers. (Feel free to skip this and come back tomorrow when there'll be some nice sewing pictures and a lot less ranting)
So, there I was going about the weekly shop. It being the middle of the school holidays, I had my three little girls with me.
Any parents reading this will know what that means. You launch yourself into the task with laser like focus. Absolutely no browsing time or hesitating over products, because we all know that the angelic procession calmly following by your trolley can turn into an unruly mob in the blink of an eye. List in hand (or in your head), pre shop pep talk carried out ("Behave nicely girls, and we'll choose something nice from the cake counter at the end"), you attempt to get the task over and done with as painlessly as possible.
Enter a fellow school mum, just next to the soft rolls and special offer Mr Kipling cakes. Not a mum I am closely acquainted with as her children are a bit older than mine - I don't know her name, but we would normally smile and nod at each other.
"Oooooo! (staring at bump) I didn't know you were expecting another one... Now, that's brave!"
I smile and say "Yes". The `yes' being to confirm I am in fact expecting another baby (and not just parading a belly full of cake), rather than to agree that any decision to have more children is brave.
I'm used to being congratulated for being brave. I find it a bit annoying, but can accept it is the response a lot of people give when greeted with the news the person in front of them has just signed up to have more children than they personally have decided to have. They are trying to be nice. I think. And, they probably haven't stopped to think about how someone in my position interprets the comment, or, that I have heard it dozens of times before and wish people would think of something more original to say. Or, failing that, "That's nice!" and a smile would be more welcome than comments about bravery accompanied by a (probably unintended) look of mild horror. In a similar vain, when people feel the need to make pleasant small talk about the fact I have three young children in toe, I like it when they say "What lovely girls", but not so much when it's a well meaning "You've got your hands full!". I know they're trying to be nice (assuming the girls are not mid flow in a riot at the point the comment is made), but we hear it all the time and the subtext is not one I want my girls to have to grow up with.
But, on this occasion, it gets better.
If this were my fantasy game of `Bingo' consisting of all the annoying things a person could say to a pregnant lady, then it gets close to being a full house.
She repeats herself: "Gosh, that is brave. I thought three (she has three children too) was bad enough, but four? You are brave."
I smile and glance around in the direction of the girls and the hope she'll take the hint and stop. Luckily the girls aren't particularly paying attention to her.
"Was it planned?"
Really? No, really?
Am I overreacting, or this is a totally unacceptably nosey question to ask anybody, let alone someone whose first name you do not know? And, what is she really expecting me to say in response to this?!
On this occasion, seething inside, I smiled and said how much I was looking forward to another lovely baby in the family, and tried not to continue to seethe too much after we'd parted company. Instead, I tried to think up some wittier comments for the next supermarket encounter I have with a stranger.
Any suggestions? There might even be a piece of cheese or a cut price Mr Kipling cake in it for the best answer...