Showing posts from June, 2014

The Day of Rest

It's an hour before the 9am service. As usual I am running late. As usual the 11-year-old is insisting on a lie-in. And as usual I still haven't finished working out how to illumine the toddler minds in the Sunday School. 'It's the feast day of St Peter,' says the Vicar helpfully. 'Tell them Jesus called him from his fishing boat to be a rock on which to build his church and warned him he would deny his Lord three times before the cock crowed. He was told he would hold the keys to the God's kingdom so you could do something with a key, a net, a rock and a cock.' The 9 year-old is still shrilling delightedly over the cock when, with five minutes to spare, we sprint into the church hall to set up. The 11-year-old seizes the rock I've grabbed from the garden and pretends to be passing a giant stool. I shout at her. The 9-year-old appears to be holding a gynaecological consultation with an imaginary patient involving the net I've wrestled off a tub


Two years of toil have toil have managed to instil most of the times tables in my children. And two years of nagging have taught them to change a duvet cover. On the matter of etiquette, however, I have dismally failed. I endeavour yet again to show the 11-year-old how to place her knife and fork when she has finished eating. 'Wake up, Mum, and step out of your time machine!' she says, arranging them defiantly in a cross. I remind the 9-year-old to say 'I beg your pardon?' instead of 'Uh?' when he fails to hear strangers. 'Uh?' he replies. But it's in matters of telephone and doorbell etiquette that my failings are most mortifying. 'Hello my little pink and white butterfly!' trills my son on answering the phone to a caller I fear is from HMRC. Next time, my daughter grabs the receiver first. 'Yes?' she barks, then, 'Mum, it's some man!' When the doorbell shrills, the 9-year-old likes to be first on the scene. Some

The Last Word

'What's the last word you'll say when you die?' the 11-year-old asks from the back seat of the Skoda. 'Mine will be 'me'! Or maybe 'shopping'.' 'Mine will be 'f***!' shrieks the 9-year-old, gleefully envisaging a scenario where there can be no comeuppance. 'Dad's will be 'Jesus',' says the 11-year-old with withering scorn. 'What'll be yours, Mum?' Over the steering wheel I ponder. I've given much thought to my preferred Apocalypse meal (boiled eggs), companion (the Vicar) and venue (Waterperry Gardens), but none at all to my parting shot. I'd like to think it would be 'sorry' for the distressing number of things I meant to do but didn't. And the distressing number of things I did that I didn't mean to. More likely it would be my catch-all for every unexpected circumstance: 'blimey!' The children have tired of waiting for my answer. 'I bet yours will be 'mi


Some things in life are obvious. Such as prancing out in your underwear when the heavens open: And executing the reverent ritual of a Saucepan Dance during the Sunday lunch wash up: But maybe I take too much for granted. For my children, logic is an elusive concept. Years of training have given them some idea of the urgency of rain prancing and both have learnt to belt ballads over the soap suds with a potato masher mic. But when it comes to the realities of every day life, the blindingly obvious is lost on them. They have a fastidious fear of germs, but it never occurs to them to flush the lavatory. Their school calls me on frigid winter days to point out that they've forgotten to bring their coats.  Each week they receive with fresh outrage  the news that they have not earned their pocket money, yet each week they ignore the qualifying requirement to tidy their rooms.  They have yet to make the connection between their lack of clean tops and the backlog of di