Thursday, 8 October 2015

5 things you didn't know about FDMTG

A dear friend of mine, who coincidentally I actually met up with in the flesh last night, to compare notes on the lows and lower lows of being in our 40s (notable points raised included hangovers after drinking just three glasses of wine the night before, the proliferation of women our age suffering from insomnia, putting the sparkle back into a decades old relationship and feeling so very old when forced, through work, to meet with younger career women) is also the author of the fabulous and much more prolific blog than mine From the Valley to the Palai.

Today she has harked back to the old-fashioned style of blogging. She is a veteran of the art, having put finger to keyboard way back in 2008, while I am an upstart who copied her example in 2009.

These were the days when the only real reason to blog was to share in a community who were all trudging through the trenches of new babies and toddlers together. There were no ads, few freebies, but a whole lot of love. Fellow bloggers would dish out handcrafted awards to other bloggers who had touched them with their words.

These were the days before the incredibly talented Clare Mackintosh became a novelist and social media expert, back then she was just the run ragged mum behind the now defunct, More than Just a Mother. She wept, swore and laughed her way through the loss of a child and the challenge of multiple babies, and as I was simultaneously juggling newborn twins I found a lot of solace in her words, as well as being filled with admiration for her.

Even more so now that she is the author of a book I Let You Go, which is a feat I have never achieved, though not for want of half written manuscripts tucked away in the back of my hard drive.

No one really got book deals apart from the superlatively talented and well connected Wife in the North, whose blog about leaving the Big Smoke and moving 'ooop North was hilarious and quite rightly got picked up almost instantly by a savvy publisher.

The rest of us made do with the odd free packet of biscuits or trip to a theme park and thought we were doing pretty well. FDMTG even got nominated for a proper award or two back in the day, though the old girl never actually won.

The problem, even back then, was that to make a blog work you not only had to be super talented, but also dedicated. Linking out to other blogs, getting involved in conferences, endless posting pictures, posts and lists of your likes and dislikes in order to persuade a jaded internet audience that yours was the blog to visit for your daily dose of parental humour.

Now it's even tougher, but the rewards are greater. A modern top blogger can make money, get free holidays, book deals, TV shows and more. That said most deserve it because they work bloody hard at blogging, unlike lazy old FDMTG.

To which end I once again decided to copy my friend's blogging example and indulge in one of the old school blog activities by offering out to my adoring audience of about two readers, five things you don't know about the woman behind FDMTG:

1. I studied Theology. Weird enough fact in itself given that I am, oh another fact coming along, an agnostic with atheistic leanings. I spent three years arguing with people who believed that God had deliberately put fossils into the earth just to test their faith in the almighty. It was actually quite good fun, but was a terrible career move as I am forever dogged by the perception that I must be some kind of loony bible basher. This means I always have to go into minute detail about why I chose to study theology to prove that if I get the job I won't spend my lunchtimes trying to spread the word of the Lord around the office canteen.

2. I grew up in Brussels. Another part of my life that I appear to have to endlessly defend. Everyone believes that Brussels is the most boring city in the world. Not least the deeply unappreciative Mr FDMTG. I, on the other hand, know that it is, or a least was, a bloody amazing city to grow up in. With a mix of all nationalities I was a real international school brat, hanging out with all the other schools populated by the offspring odds and ends swept together by the EU. There was lots of underage drinking and copious opportunities to flirt with a vibrant mix of different young men, from the gorgeous Spaniards who spoke not a word of English, but had the most delicious velvety brown eyes you could drown in, to the strange German boy who wore a trench coat and smoked a pipe at the ripe old age of 18.

3. I think scallops are the devil's food. I know they are beloved of the Master Chef set, and whether paired with black pudding, bacon or pea puree are always a sure fire hit amongst those with a sophisticated palate, but to me they are just a lump of rubbery fishiness. I once went to a press do catered by a famous Michelin-starred chef, who served the most gigantic scallops as a starter. While everyone else tucked in with gusto, I chewed on one repulsively rubbery mouthful and then hid the rest under my napkin. Ditto for oysters, which taste like runny, yet paradoxically chewy, snot to me, even when dived fresh from beneath the ocean.

4. Ever since I gave birth to four boys I have been secretly (well maybe I don't keep it that much of a secret) dreading becoming a mother-in-law. Not because I am convinced that I will hate my daughter-in-law, or that she will hate me (though odds are she will), but because I cannot conceive of sharing my sons with another woman. I know this is ridiculous and my sensible brain understands that the goal of bringing up children is to set them free to wreak their own brand of havoc on the world. But deep down in my swirling pit of a subconscious I fear I will feel as jealous of  my son cuddling up with another woman as I would if my husband did. I am just crossing my fingers very hard that I grow out of this by the time they get their first girlfriends.

5. Although  I am a member of a book club that endlessly attempts to drag my literary choices out of the gutter, I really, truly mostly only like trashy books. Not real pulp like Mills & Boon, I tried it, but all those heaving breasts, dominant men and women whose only aim was to end up in a clinch with a billionaire didn't really do it for me. But JoJo Moyes, Freya North, Jill Mansell and the queen of chick lit, Jilly Cooper, are my real literary heroines. Give me a bit of froth, a romantic misunderstanding played out in a beautiful village, perhaps a horse or two thrown in and a dashing hero in the mold of Rupert Campbell-Black and I am in heaven.


  1. Thanks for the mention - lovely post! I think I knew most of those things about you, except scallops. I remember our shared love of Jilly anyway. Was very lovely to see you x

    1. You too, and there was not a scallop in sight.

  2. Ah I knew you were a good sort even before you mentioned the Jilly Cooper

    *fist bump* for the vintage bloggers

    1. You can't not love Jilly Cooper. I have had a crush on RCB for most of my life!