Monday, July 28, 2014

The unfairness of the North/South cultural divide

Izzy’s bedroom is a mound of waste paper. There are pieces of photographs, bodies with their faces removed, dismembered newspaper adverts, scraps of coloured card, bits of magazines, and half a dozen empty rolls of sellotape. It looks like an earthquake has hit an art studio. 

I blame Matisse. Last week Jo and I decided we should all visit the exhibition at Tate Modern. That’s the best thing about London: you wake up one morning, fancy a bit of culture, and off you go. No planning, no advance purchase tickets, no East Coast Trains – you just hop on the 46 bus.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A really good idea

It seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Boots was about six inches long when we bought him, with the sweetest face and long, soft hair. I don’t think we ever checked the size of a fully grown English shepherd. Or if we did, we must have read centimetres for inches. For soon Boots was the size of a Shetland pony, an enormous hairy beast. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We'll dig up the road!!!

Aside from Daddy Pig, who, according to my wife, is modeled on me (I can’t imagine why: he eats too much, is convinced he’s an expert at everything, and is always losing his glasses), my daughter’s favourite character in the Peppa Pig cartoon series is Mr Bull. 

He’s a builder with a huge voice and a giant digger and, whenever anyone encounters a problem, like a burst water main or a problem with the traffic lights, he magically shows up and bellows: “We’ll dig up the roooaaad!!!”

Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't put your daughter on the stage

Jo and I were very disappointed. At Izzy’s graduation ceremony they were reading out the citations, and we both thought they were referring to someone else. 

Hang on a minute: graduation? Izzy? 

Yes, apparently Reception children now don’t just go off for the summer holidays, they graduate. It must be an American thing, like when they replaced sixth form dances with “proms” in order to prop up the British ballgown industry. 

24 five-year-olds, each sporting a homemade cardboard mortarboard with a tassel, sat proudly facing their parents. One by one they came forward to receive a scroll, shaking hands with the teacher as she described the child’s achievements. 

I could tell that in some cases they were scratching the bottom of the epithet barrel. “Lively” for the disruptive ones; “calming” for those who never said a word, “popular” for the annoying brats who wound everyone else up. 

Jo and I knew Izzy’s report would be about her reading skills. She is so advanced, the school had to go out and buy extra books for her. We sat ready to glow. But instead the teacher described an entirely different child.