Showing posts from December, 2012

A Christmas Tale

A bit of a self-indulgent post, this one, and I'm grateful to anyone who endures to the end of it! Each year, after the Christmas festivities are ended, we strip the Christmas tree we chose with such care and haul it to the Christmas tree graveyard to be ground down by the Council. It's a sad sight seeing all those trees, once so cherished, abandoned in a heap, shreds of tinsel still hanging off them. My children were so grieved we decided to write a story about it. My 10-year-old was the creative director and illustrator and I was the scribe...  Deep in the dark cold wood stood a tiny fir tree. Its towering neighbours cast their shadows all around it and blocked out the sky and the tiny tree never saw the sun. It grew colder. One day something wet and white landed on the tiny fir tree. Another followed, then another. The fir trees stood knee deep in the snow and their branches drooped beneath the weight of it. The tiny fir tree did not know it, but Christmas was appr

Round Robin II

Dear [ Name to be supplied. Note to Vicar: check your address book for anyone we've left out ], Well, would you believe another twelve months has gone by and we are all a year older (and wiser, of course!!) than we were this time in 2011! And that means it's a whole year since I tried my hand at the art of the round robin, inspired by so many wonderful newsletters from dear friends I'd forgotten I had! As a raw beginner, I only managed a few pages of my own because ones lunch dates and the little successes of ones children all tend to merge into a golden haze over the course of a year, but this time I've kept a detailed daily diary so I'll be able to share properly with you the highs and lows family life in 2012!! As the Vicar and I were only saying to each other last week, our children never cease to amaze us! The year began well for the 8-year-old. He came home from school to tell us that he had come second in his class! It turned out that he was on the second

Doing What I Want

'You', says my 10 year-old as I march her a mile to school instead of defrosting the Skoda, 'only ever do what you want!' I point out that I only ever do what is good for her, but my words evaporate in the chilly morning air, for children only acknowledge that a thing is in their best interests if they enjoy it. Thus, in my daughter's eyes: My sitting for an hour on the floor of a leisure centre corridor while she learns gymnastics is good for her. My sitting for an hour on a cupboard ledge while she reluctantly learns to swim is doing what I want. Browsing T-shirts in Hollister is good for her. Buying supper at Coop is doing what I want. Submitting to an iPod for her birthday is good for her. Barring her from Facebook is doing what I want. Crumpets in front of the TV is good for her. Wholemeal sandwiches is doing what I want. An afternoon of Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the cinema is good for her. Making her walk there is doing what I want. Clean she

Shrinking Horizons

'Why,' asks my 8-year-old, 'does Monday come before Tuesday?' 'Who has the longest toes in the world?' 'Does anyone in the world have no coins, only banknotes?' My son dislikes silence. He'll fill any gap in the din of family life with a question and these questions bother me; not because I don't know the answer, but because I don't care. It's not that I don't have an enquiring mind. I wonder why facial moles sprout bristles, why my cakes never rise, why the Vicar hates spinach and why Uggs became fashionable. I ponder things of consequence, you see, and my son's unthinking enquiries are a frivolous interruption. But at night sometimes, when the incessant voice is stilled, I ponder the mind of an 8-year-old. A mind in which men caper on toes like Savaloys or wait helplessly beside slot machines with wallets burdened with banknotes. I require beer or unconsciousness to achieve such surrealism and, in those night hours, I wi

When the Proof's in the Pudding

My ten-year-old is a rock-chick, but she still wants to believe in Santa. I field her technical enquiries with carefully-worded half-truths, but something still troubles her. 'Why,' she asks, 'does Santa forget some children?' I consider reference to the Human Poverty Index then grab my stock response to her profounder theological questions: 'Some mysteries are beyond our understanding!' Her brother intervenes: 'If Santa exists why didn't he eat the mince pies we left out?' Damn! I hate mince pies. Then I'm inspired. 'Because Santa prefers chocolate,' I reply. 'This year leave a brownie and I guarantee it'll be gone by Christmas morning!' This photo is the prompt for the latest 100-Word-Challenge and as usual Julia timed it perfectly!