Showing posts from February, 2014


Iota has tagged me into a list of cosmic questions to which she requires answers. Self-exposure alarms me, but Iota strikes me as the sort of person I'd like to have as a next-door neighbour so for her sake I'll bare all: What is the view from the room where you are currently sitting? The empty playground of a children's nursery and the family Skoda which I had meant to get round to washing last year. Do you buy lottery tickets? Of course not. I'd hate to risk becoming an overnight millionaire. If you had to live in the Arctic Circle or on the Equator which would it be? The Arctic Circle. I'm fond of tobogganing and dislike heat. What's the novel inside you (you know, the one that everyone is supposed to have)? I'm the only person I've ever met who doesn't have a novel inside them. To console myself for this deficiency I channelled my literary energies into a large diary when I was 14. I haven't missed a day since, so should you

Hardcore Living

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


I've never been much of a one for shopping. Security staff scrutinise me as I stand immobilised by apathy near store exits while companions contentedly browse. The vicarage laundry basket brims because I lose the power of motion before reaching detergents at the far end of the supermarket. In the past I surmounted this deficiency by wearing clothes till they shredded and rinsing the vicarage smalls in Head & Shoulders. Now, however, I have children and my children persist in growing and currently scarcely a month goes by without an emergency dash round shoe shops to replace essential footwear. And on these occasions I marvel that I used to deem shopping a hardship for high streets with two kids in tow are like this: 11yo: Oh my gosh, Mum, I need this pore eraser. Me: You don't need it; you want it. 11yo:  Mum, you're so medieval. Make up is my life! 9yo: What are 18 nines? Me: Um… 11yo: I've got to get it! Me: What is pore eraser? 9yo: MUM, 18 nin

How to Repair Self-Image

It is the Sabbath and I am prising cat hair off my warmest corduroy. My house guest is peaceably eating marmalade in a woolly jumper when a holler from the 11-year-old diverts us to the vicarage sitting room. Only it is no longer a sitting room. A sign on the door announces Sexy Salon. The coal scuttles have been moved aside to make room for three pink crates of cosmetics. Fairy lights are strung across the Vicar's favourite armchair and reading lamps have been trained on the sofa. The 11-year-old breaks it to me gently. I am in many ways a good person, she says, but I have trouble with both glamour and dignity. Me having trouble with glamour and dignity She tells me that, since it's Sunday, she's prepared to sacrifice half an hour to school me in both and thereby make me feel better about myself. My friend's two daughters are surrendering a chunk of their Sunday for a similar purpose. We are both manhandled into seats, the reading lamps are aimed at ou