Monday, September 30, 2013

Operation Pied Piper

The ancient little bus rumbled on down the lane.  

We peered into the darkness, trying to spot familiar landmarks, while at the front, two little schoolgirls, with luggage labels on their coats and gas masks round their necks, fearfully clutched their tiny suitcases. 

None of us knew what was in store as the bus, its engine angrily growling and gears crunching, pulled into the grounds of Wallington Hall. 


We’d arrived in a different world: for the schoolgirls, it was a million miles from their homes in Scotswood; for us grownups, we were suddenly in 1939, transported by a theatrical time machine. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The North-South divide


Izzy looked up at the nice lady who’d spent the previous hour inspecting every nook and cranny of our property, and politely asked her, “Excuse me, are you going to buy our house, then?” 

The poor woman was completely thrown. After a rather too lengthy pause, I let the lady off the hook: “I think it depends on whether you keep your room tidy or not.” 

“Yes, I do like tidy rooms,” the lady confirmed, with a sigh of relief. 

That seemed to satisfy Izzy, who wandered off to organise her mermaid collection.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Winding back the BBC clock

Why did Lucy Adams, the BBC’s confounded and derided HR boss, wear spectacles glued to her scalp whilst being grilled by MPs? Does she have two extra eyes in her head, through which she can seek divine inspiration from the gods of HR? 

She certainly demonstrated something that I’ve always suspected: the pointlessness of her profession.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The first day of school

On Wednesday my daughter aged by about two years. 

It happened right in front of us, in an extraordinary transformation at exactly 8am. One moment Izzy was a fairy princess, dressed in pink and purple pyjamas whose only concern in life was Eric, her handsome prince; the next, she had become a schoolgirl.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's a hot dog's life

As Murphy and I push open the metal gates of the dog park, a three-legged black labrador nearly wags itself off balance in excitement. 

Murphy waves his grey bushy tail in greeting and sets about his daily examination of the canine message boards. Murphy is half cocker, half English shepherd. He’s my brother-in-law’s mutt and the reason we turned our world upside down by buying our own English shepherd. 

We wanted a dog just like Murphy – friendly with a bushy tail. Unfortunately we miscalculated the relative contributions of spaniel and shepherd to the Murphy mix and ended up with a horse. 

Even on four legs, Boots now stands taller than Izzy. At least he’s stopped eating the chair legs. Now we fear for the ceiling.