Mrs Playmo and the Bucket List.

It has been too long. Way too long. I’m sorry. Mrs Playmo is furious with me – probably because she feels that her fan club is being neglected. Every morning she leans out of the playmo mansion window and reminds me of my blogging responsibilities, and she is right. Much as I was tempted to write a post about my reaction to the B-word,  the T- word and the E-word*, I have decided to offer you a rant-free post. (I am not promising that said post isn’t on its way, but for the moment I’m far too angry to write it down.)  Mrs Playmo is muttering to herself and typing messages in a far corner of the Playmo mansion with the curtains welded shut. She assures me that she does not have French nationality, and as such will soon be an illegal immigrant so needs to do something about it fast.

I don’t know how to explain the screaming absence on my blog. I do admit to my sense of humour having gone on a hiatus, which I attribute to the weariness of the never-ending stream of bad news from around the world. I have been writing, writing and writing some more when work permitted… but somehow, the publish button just didn’t get clicked. Over-analysis? Probably. A permanent trade-off between security and impulsiveness. The monster of incertitude that nibbles away at your confidence. I’m sure you’ve all been there. The posts are there, and they’ll be coming up – just as soon as I have plucked up my courage and rescued them from their virtual limbo in the WordPress departure lounge.


Mrs Playmo assured her neighbour’s gym-teaching student son that she had indeed run 10km unaided, and needed private stretch and flex lessons to ensure that her glutes would be ready for the next race.

But here I am now – with a catch-up post. Mrs Playmo lifted her bottle of rosé to an whole teetotal year (me, not her) on New Year’s day, and applauded drunkenly as I was interviewed by BBC Radio 5 about my year of abstinence. Then she toasted the first anniversary of the Running Mamma Project, and the 13 kilos that I shed en route. Rugby-boy and I ran our first official 10km race along the Baie des Anges in Nice in January in a respectable time of 1h and 2 minutes. Mrs Playmo was there in my running belt to coach me through, and has since stolen my medal for her kitchen on the grounds that she ran it too.  Even if I got overtaken by most of the fancy dress participants – including Road-runner and an entire shelf of chattering Champagne bottles with hairy legs and trainers – I am very proud of myself – this is, after all, the woman who only ran if her life was in danger.

At the beginning of the year, these small yet radical life changes brought hope – I felt in my bones that 2016 would be a good year. Cautious optimism snowballed into full-blown enthusiasm. Mrs Playmo picked up on this, and waved my passport at me as I made the bed one morning.

“Oy, MM,” she bellowed. “You’ve had this thing since 2010, and it’s still in pristine condition.” She pursed her lips, blew on it, then flapped her claws, coughing.

“Geesh, kiddo, this thing’s got more dust on it than your goddam corkscrew. Are you planning to use it as a doorstop, or what? Don’t you think you should get your butt on a plane sometime soon? I’ll come with you, but we’ve got to get this show on the road.”

She had a point. When I thought back to my last trip anywhere with my passport, it was to go to Little Sis’s wedding in 2013, and I had been so rusty on international travel that I turned the wrong way and would have ended up on the flight to Casablanca if a grinning official hadn’t turned me in the right direction. Mrs Playmo dragged my bucket list out of my bedside table and disappeared into her mansion.


Mrs Playmo had a vested interest on getting me on a long-haul flight- she is still furious that Ryanair did not provide a free minibar service on the Béziers-Bristol flight, even in Playmo-sized glasses. She needed alcohol badly on her first flight, and spent the entire trip learning the emergency instructions by heart.

We all have a bucket list of sorts. As I mentioned in a post a long time ago, the first items written on MM’s list date back to her childhood, and are 1) meeting Paddington’s Aunt Lucy, and 2) singing “halfway down the stairs” with Kermit’s nephew. When I first read “Paddington” as a child, I was touched by his Aunt Lucy’s courageous decision to send him to London, but one thing disturbed me immensely. Sending a young bear off to the European continent for a better life was a laudable idea, but how on earth would she know that he had arrived safely? I imagined Aunt Lucy, sitting in a tapestry-covered chair, her eyes riveted on Paddington’s framed school portrait and chewing her bear-claws as she waited anxiously for news. I decided there and then that one day I would visit Aunt Lucy at the Home for Retired Bears in Lima, and reassure her that her nephew had arrived safely and had become an international, marmalade sandwich-eating hero.

Never underestimate Mrs Playmo’s powers of persuasion. Forty years later, MM found herself sitting in seat 12C on her way to deepest, darkest Peru, trying to forget how many thousands of feet separated her from the ocean lying somewhere in the darkness below her seat and listening to Rodrigo Amarante (my only source of Spanish vocabulary) in an unsuccessful bid to drown out the raucous singing of Mrs Playmo. She was out of her tree on Air France Merlot, singing La Isla Bonita in her explorer hat and peering around the seat from her vantage point on the folding table to check out the male talent on the Paris-Lima flight. ‘That steward is rather sexy,” she slurred as she made a suggestive wink in his direction.

This was real. I squirmed in anticipation, or as much as I could whilst sandwiched between two sleeping men. I suspected that I may not find Aunt Lucy, but was impatient to finally see the streets of Lima that I had imagined as a child, some Inca ruins, and maybe even a talking llama or two (unless Disney lied to me in ‘The Emporor’s new Groove’).

Watch this space for the next episode, but in the meanwhile… here is a spoiler.


Now let’s press that publish button.

  • Brexit, Terrorism, Elections.


52 thoughts on “Mrs Playmo and the Bucket List.

    • Happy to see you pop up so quickly in the comments too, Helen. I hope you are well! I loved Peru – it got me curious to visit more of South America, including the country that PF refers to as “Costa Caca”. He did so once when talking to a student. The student returned to see him in his office, embarrassed, and told his professor that it was actually called Costa RICA. PF still laughs every time he thinks of the episode 🙂

  1. I was so happy to see your name pop up in my mailbox. It has been sooo long. Glad that 2016 has been kind to you – give or take B, T, and E.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    • I was so relieved to see familiar names popping up – I was worried I’d be ousted for defecting to the dark side 🙂 How are you? I’m fine, I’just’ let current events get the better of me and spent too much time analysing and monitoring things I can do zilch about. Lesson learnt – online time will now be spent blogging instead. The only way is UP, baby… la, la, la….

      • It’s sad MM. So many of the familiar names from just a year ago are gone now … MIA in the blogging world. I’m glad you have found your way part again. I was starting to despair that all of us would eventually fade from this virtual world due to apathy, boredom, … the real world.

        You have a wonderful writing voice and I’m happy to hear it again 🙂

    • Don’t tempt me! I was so furious after the Brexit that I actually wrote a post by hand to get it out of my system 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who was gnawing her knuckles in fury, though. I have a feeling “that” post will be coming up soon – if only because I will be starting the ball rolling for dual French nationality soon, and if it’s anything like getting my French driving license, it’s going to be a long and torturous procedure involving the provision of all details bar my knicker size.

      • Brexit will break Britain and mess our plans yes I am furious. Not because I am patriotic, but because (amongst other things) I wanted my grandchildren to have the opportunities afforded by free movement within the union.
        For a while I thought that I would never blog lighheartedly about Project France again and I ranted a lot and felt very sick and sorry for myself.
        I’m back on the horse now, but that’s mainly defiance; The issues are still all out there to deal with , unpicking UK & EU law alone will take a decade at least to disentangle.

      • I can’t believe that anyone could have swallowed those lies hook, line and sinker without getting online and checking the figures – particularly for EU immigration into Britain, and the amount of EU nationals who actually work and pay their taxes there. I’m concerned about my family in the UK, concerned about my future here in France, and angry that Brits living abroad will eventually find themselves with no right to vote anywhere unless they are given dual nationality by the European country where they live. I had decided to apply for French nationality for other reasons, i.e. that I have spent the best part of my adult life here and feel that it is now appropriate for me to do so, but I cannot imagine how the UK can abandon its nationals like that, potentially leaving them with no right to vote anywhere, no medical cover and no other choice than to go back to the UK or pay a fortune.
        Now I’m off to work out how I am going to pay out over £300 for passports so that my children can come back to the UK without having to queue for hours with their French ID cards.

    • Annie! I’ve been reading your blog, and trying to publish comments, but got the impression that the comments never knocked on the right door in the blogosphere…
      I hope you are well – I’ve thought of you often with all the kerfuffle in Turkey recently. I’m not at all reassured about Mr E’s idea of democracy.
      As for getting back on the sauce… Mrs Playmo forced me to try a Pisco sour in Lima, and that was me off the wagon. 🙂

  2. Good to see you back, MM

    p.s. looking forward to reading your views on the brexit vote – never felt so thoroughly depressed and angry at the same time as when I heard the result ! All it would take now to send me right off the ledge and consider ending it all would be trump becoming USA president (shudder!)

    • Hey up, Duncan! Great to see you pop up – I hope that you and the dogs are well, and behaving yourselves 🙂 Now that the Brexit has been voted, I’ve come to the conclusion that Papounet was right, and that there should be some kind of test to check that people have enough common sense to be given the responsibility of voting… Needless to say, Brexit has not reassured me at all for the coming election in the States. Please don’t go off the ledge, we’d miss you. Maybe we should find a nice planet somewhere in the blogosphere with other bloggers. We could throw darts at a picture of Trump and drink red wine together.

  3. I’m SO happy to see you – full fat dance in the kitchen waving tins of spam dog with two tails delighted! US, UK – seriously retarded. welcome to Germany between the wars 😱

    • I’ll take that – tails, spam, fat ‘n all 🙂 Same here, it’s a blast to be back. So much more fun than wailing or screaming in front of the BBC news website… It’s cary to see what people are becoming… Erdogan is whipping up support for capital support whilst asking for his main rival to be deported and demanding European membership.. I want to change planets now.

      • I’m not a blogger but somehow came across your blog, I folllow yours and one more, I look forward to your posts.. I live in NL, Canada

      • WOW. 😀 You live so far away from me… isn’t internet fabulous? Just surfing along then bam, a link between two lives thousands of miles apart. A place with the name Labrador in it sounds pretty interesting in my eyes. You should blog too so we can learn more 🙂 Is that where the dogs come from? (Bet you’ve already had that question).

  4. Yahoo. Clicked your comment not expecting to see a post and happily surprised.
    Go on give us a good brexit rant. Those of us not British are only delighted when we read them as we know then all uk citizens aren’t daft. A bit like when we hear US citizens condemn trump.

    • Hey up, Tric! Yup, it was about time I got my bottom back to the blogosphere – so much nicer than reading about the woes of the world. You asked for it… Brexit post on its way soon. you know that MM with a bee in her bonnet can be a tad tiring, don’t you, now? Don’t say I didn’t warn ya 🙂 I have a feeling that the Irish population is going to double with all the Brits claiming Irish nationality – I am entitled to do so too, my Grandpop must be grinning from a cloud up there somewhere because he would have hated his grandchildren to be deprived of the right to move freely in Europe.

  5. Hooray! I am so pleased to see you (and Mrs Playmo of course) here again. 🙂 I am looking forward to your Brexit post/rant – it is always good to read about it from someone else’s point of view – I think we all get a bit bogged down with how it will affect only us.

  6. Welcome back MM and Mrs P, Brexit is a bit off a pain isn’t it. I haven’t done a bucket list yet. Maybe when I enter my mid life crisis, I will write one.

    Happy holidays from Mrs S and me

    PN a Brefugee

  7. There ya are!! 🙂 Glad to hear all is well.

    I’m just about to apply to take the French test for the naturalisation palaver. First of many payments, I’m sure… 160Eur.

  8. SO good to see you back in the blogosphere, MM, and sorry that my own blogging hiatus means it’s taken me nearly a month to comment. You’re not the only one who has gone AWOL from her blog and I don’t even have the consolation of a cache of draft posts. I think my blogging muse has gone travelling without me this summer. If it’s any consolation I too am still livid about the Brexit vote as are all my family on both sides. 😦

    Peru sounds like a wonderful adventure and I look forward to hearing more about what you and Mrs Playmo got up to there. 🙂

  9. Fantastic to see you back MM!! I admit to not having been around myself since last November (no real excuses just to caught up in the daily grind!) After getting back in the blogging saddle I’ve been wandering around trying to catch up with all your un-read posts …. i’ve managed several tonight and thoroughly enjoyed them all! Would love to have commented on them all individually but just no time … so here’s a catch up ….brilliant writing as ever’ just keep on going! And I’ll be keeping a sharp eye out for Uprooted & Undiluted … definitely getting one of those – can’t wait 🙂 !!

    • Hey up, chuck ! Lovely to see you’re back online – I’m still being a very erratic blogger. Bad bad MM. Every time I find myself wringing my hands about the state of the world, I put my trainer on and go out and eat up the miles, and invent posts for the blog. As soon as i get back over the doorstep, they spontaneously combust. Today my inbox at the office has mysteriously dried up.. is this a sign that I should be writing a post?

  10. Hello Charlotte,
    Thank you for your message. I apologize for the lateness of my reply – I’ve been run off my feet for the end of the year.
    Which article are you interested in? I’m very honored – thank you. I would like it to be clearly attributed to Joanna Munro and have a link to the blog – would this be possible?
    Wishing you a very merry Christmas,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s