Recently a BBC researcher contacted me and asked if the family would be willing to be filmed for a series on vicarage life. Obviously, narcissism urged me to say yes. I could be the next Amy Childs, only in an M&S cardie. The church teas on Fridays would be seething with fans wanting to bond with the Vicar over a Jammy Dodger. And watching the episodes would keep me going through the suspenseful wait for the next series of Rev . Indeed, said the researcher, a real-life Rev is what they are after. A heart-warming, fun-filled glimpse into family life in a vicarage to follow Songs of Praise . It was at that point I knew we had to say no. Any fly-on-the-wall portrait of our vicarage life would have to be shown after the 9pm watershed to protect the nation's children. I myself would find it hard to stomach: Graphic footage of me wrestling my chin bristles with deadly steel weaponry in the bathroom and, sheathed in rubber, delving for the plastic Smurf someone's dropped down
The picture is the prompt for this week's 100-word Challenge . The orange spot daubs trees that are to be felled to make way for the rest. It's an apt choice as our ash trees are incinerated, but it made me think of a worn leather album that records my family through the 1930 and 1940s. There's the woman in uniform beaming in a field, a teenage Hercules posed in a loincloth and a girl in a garden with dramatic tumbling hair. Each died young and violently - the woman crushed during wartime training and the teenager electrocuted at work. The flowing-haired girl slit her throat. I gaze at their smiles and hunt for a portent - a sign in their eyes that they knew Fate had marked them. But they gaze gaily back, vitality frozen in sepia. And now I fear future eyes finding my albums, studying the smiles of my children with the awful benefit of hindsight.
Katetakes5 is celebrating the fact that her son rates David Bowie above One Direction. Heady with pride she wants the rest of us to teach our children that some pleasures are superior to adolescent hollering. I've never knowingly heard a song by One Direction. Come to think of it, I can't call to mind anything by David Bowie either. Anyone with pretence to taste and intellect knows that Doris Day outstrips all of them. It's therefore no trouble at all for me to teach my children five things that are better than a boy band: Stream wading. This was my birthday treat last year and this. There is an entrancing pleasure to clambering into a stream as far down as possible and paddling up it as far up as possible, defying the hidden gullies and submerged traffic cones and dangling en passant from tumbled trees. The patterns of water whirling round wellies, secret flowers on steep banks and the occasional fleeing rodent give the sense, unequalled on dry land, of being embedded