Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10 games to play that make you look idiotic but actually you aren't the idiot...

I lied about ten games, but putting "2 games to play that make you look idiotic but actually you aren't the idiot..." wouldn't be very exciting. That is what this post should really be called though. Sorry if you feel cheated.

1) This game is called "I expect a riot"

When something unpopular is being announced at work say "I expect a riot," and then really grin and nod as if you have made a cultural pop reference.

Wait for the person to say "predict". If they do you win.

10 games to play that make you look idiotic but actually you aren't the idiot...

If they say "actually" you win more.

If you can make eye contact, say "yeah, that's what I meant," not laugh and walk away without giggling you are a superwinner.

2) This game is called "expresso"

Walk into a coffee shop and say "Hello, I would like an expresso please," Keep repeating "expresso," as in "Yeah, so that's one super skinny latte, one cappucino and one expresso, actually make that a double expresso,"

Every time the barista says "espresso?" make sure you say "Yeah, an expresso please."

This game can be devastatingly effective when played with a partner who also says "are you sure you want an expresso? "

"Yeah, I love expresso,"

"But expresso makes you do too much wee,"

etc. etc.

10 games to play that make you look idiotic but actually you aren't the idiot...

You win if the barista smirks, frowns or makes any type of involuntary gesture when you say "expresso"

Monday, March 26, 2007


I am going to make my blog pop. Here is an interview with a key person from my niche.


Polly XXXX is a woman. She is married to me. She lives in a room in my house. She sleeps in a bed next to me. She keeps all her clothes in a cupboard on the left hand side of the room if you are sitting on the bed and facing the wall. She is quite good at computers and goes to work every day in an office. She wears smarter clothes at work than she wears at home.

I am in italics.

Sorry, can you repeat that please?

Can you take that lump out of your beard please?

Lump of what?

I think it is tomato.


Ok. Um, can you pass me a tissue please? OK Polly XXXX

I don't want my full name used in the blog


I'm a bit reserved about my identity being plastered all over the internet.

OK. Um, Polly X,

Dearest wife...

No, Polly X, Mick is crying again.

I thnk he wants you to go and give him a cuddle. He was shouting for Daddy.


OK...(goes off to get Mick to go back to sleep) (Arriving back) Night Night...(Massive burp to see what Polly will say. Polly just wrinkles nose and pulls a disgusted face) OK, ready for your questions Polly XXXX?

Umm hmm

Hello Polly, welcome to my blog, David Trent. Good. I would just like to ask you some questions.

I don't think it's going to hear you over there.

It will hear me. I would just like to ask you some questions. Is that OK with you?


If you feel uncomfortable with any of the questions I ask you, bad luck. First question...Is my blog probably the best blog on the internet?

Apart from Fenella's

What do you mean apart from Fenella's? Is that a joke?

I like Fenella's. I like yours.

But which one is best?

If I said yours then I'd be accused of being biased because I'm your wife.

Yeah, but which one is best?

Usually yours

Good. Why is my blog better than Fenella's?


Did you say my blog is the funniest blog you have ever read?

Probably, but I've only read 2 blogs.

Out of those 2, was it the funniest blog ever?


Good. Well thankyou for being interviewed for David Trent's blogspace. It has been a pleasure interviewing you and I hope to do it again some time soon.

Is that it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It was just a happening...

I hate teaching Dance. It is my least favourite lesson.

Except for History. I hate that too. History, Geography and Dance.

And Games.

And Art.

And ICT – that’s not really fair, I love teaching ICT when it works, but our ICT suite is still totally unreliable so lessons inevitably starts off great as in “Right, today you’re all going to learn how to use publisher to make your own cartoons” (“HOORAY,”) and ends up shit as in “Right, what did we learn today about computers class?”

It was just a happening

“We learnt today that the when clip art manager freezes for the 27th time, Myrtle and Andrew start crying,”


Oh God, I nearly forgot. I hate teaching RE too.

However, dance is the worst of all because the dances develop into a scrum of 30 children running round and around the hall flapping their hands like John Inman on speed. For example,

“OK, listen to the tambourine, and imagine each time I tap it, you feel a little bit of rain, got it? Good. Off you go,”

The children walk around tentatively, then at the very first tiny shake from the tambourine their hands raise to shoulder level, the eyes release a pent up frenzy and they all, as one, flap deliriously round and around the hall.

It was just a happening

“Good, excellent try, but we all seem to be over-reacting a little bit to the tiniest amount of rain. Do you think we could possibly try again, only this time, when you hear the rain, try not to go running round and around the hall flapping your arms, that’d make a nice change. OK, ready?”

They start walking around the hall.

One tap on the tambourine – they all stop and look at each other, faces go red and screw up, their bodies tense up, they start shaking with the effort to hold it in.

Another tap and WHOOOOOSH, they’re off again, legging it round and round the hall, flapping and flapping, screaming, laughing, shouting “I’m getting wet, I’m getting wet,” and nodding their heads from side to side with their mouths open and their tongues hanging out.

Today was session 2 of our dance lesson.

Before we started, I shook the tambourine a few times then continued shaking it. This went on until I sensed the children had cottoned on to the fact that there was no hidden meaning to me shaking the tambourine, that I was just shaking the tambourine and seeing how long I could hold the children’s attention for before they got bored of me shaking the tambourine.

It was just a happening

Enrique had given it a good go though, standing up straight to attention for a bit, waving at the others to do the same, grinning at me for affirmation that this was the hidden message I was sending them by my tambourine shaking, receiving none and disappointedly sitting back down.

Just before I stopped shaking the tambourine, Mark sneezed.

“Good,” I said. “My magic spell worked,”

“What magic spell?” shouted Enrique, slightly inappropriately.

“Good question Enrique, but I wish you to raise your hand before you ask, so I am unable to answer you. Class, I know magic and I just cast a magic spell to make Mark sneeze. “Mark, did it work?”

It was just a happening

Mark’s eyes are nearly popping out of his head.

“Yes, it did work,” Mark says.

The rest of the class are muttering “No it didn’t,” and “That’s not true,”

”It is true,” I say, “Mark, did you need to have a sneeze before I started waving the tambourine?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Mark says, shaking his head in disbelief like a punter at a Derren Brown gig.

“And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, for no reason, you suddenly did a sneeze – don’t you think that’s a bit strange?” I ask him.

“Yes, it is,” Mark says.

“Exactly Mark, I made you have that sneeze, by my magic…” I say, raising my voice and doing over the top hand gestures and spinning around on one leg.

Jamelia has her hand up.


“It was just a happening,” says Jamelia.

“Do you mean a co-incidence?” I ask.

“Yes, it just happened at the same time as you were playing the tambourine,” she says.

“How dare you? I have Magic Powers,” I say, mock indignantly.

“No you don’t,” she says.

“I do,” I say, genuinely feeling smug at my excellent plan that has fallen into my head, “I shall prove it to you,” I address the whole class,

It was just a happening6

“Stand up everyone” I say.

Now, I didn’t for one moment think that they would ever disobey me.

Obviously, I am an idiot.

“O.k. listen, I’m serious now, stand up,”


“Ummm, no, I’m the teacher, and you all have to do it, everyone, stand up,”

They all sit down and grin at me.

“Ok. If you don’t get up, I’ll put you in 12.30,”

2 or 3 children jump up, the rest are seated, a couple are springing up in the air like those rubber suction pad ladybirds. The class burst into excited chatter –

"He's just suggesting," someone says.

"He's trying to influence us," says another child and I am surprised by her sudden articulacy.

"It's just pretending," someone else says.

"He can't make us do it" someone else says.

Enrique is running around whispering in everyone’s ears and Myrtle is dancing anxiously from one foot to another.

I seem to have started a full scale mutiny.

I glance at my watch. It is now 2.17. We only have 30 minutes left to go and we’ve got lots to do.

“Right everyone, joking aside, we’ve got to all get up,” I say.

“NO, NO, HE’S TRYING TO TRICK US!” shouts Karen.

This is all my own fault. I glance over at my teaching assistant. She looks back at me, shrugs her shoulders, sneers and starts laughing.

The door to the hall swings open and the deputy head starts walking across, head thankfully buried in her clipboard.

“OK, so we are going to be looking at rain again today children, doing another…”

The opposite door to the hall swings shut.

It was just a happening

“Look, will you all just get up, please, please get up, I really need to teach the lesson,”

“No, you aren’t magic,” says Lottie.

”I know, I’m not magic, I’ve got no magic powers, shhh, shhh, listen everyone, I don’t have any magic powers and I’m not doing any magic on you whatsoever. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to teach you the dance lesson that I’ve got planned, so could you please all stand up for me, please” I am pleading.

They all stand up.

I smirk. I open my mouth, but something in my brain says “Don’t do it, DO NOT SAY “SEE, I TOLD YOU I WAS MAGIC,”

“OK, everyone. I want you to all walk around the hall as if it has just started raining very gently.” I say.

Everyone hurtles around the hall and flaps as if their hands are on fire. Except for one child who approaches me tentatively…

“I’m confused, I don’t understand. You said you weren’t going to do any magic on us,” says Lottie.

"Don’t worry Lottie, I'm not doing any more magic. Now, I wonder if you can do what all the others are doing?"

She runs off.


Friday, March 09, 2007

I was only joking...

It’s too early to get up.

I was only joking

Polly gets up and I lie guiltily in bed. It is Friday. I wonder whether staying in bed today will mean I’ll have to get up early on Saturday. I calculate the possibilities and conclude that it probably does, but I am too tired to care.

I can hear Polly speaking to Elly as she changes Mick’s nappy. She is saying “Phoooar, stinky Mick, have you done a big poo? What Elly? Is he? Really? Did he really say that? A treat?”

I shudder.

I was only joking

Yesterday afternoon I picked Elly up from school and her very first words to me were “I’m hungry, I want something to eat,”

She says “something” with slow emphasis. When she says it like this it means “Buy me chocolate,”

“O.K, you can have a snack when we get home,” I say.

“No Daddy, I don’t want a snack, I want something from the shop,”

There is a corner shop with two walls of sweets just outside the school.

“Elly, I’ll get you a treat tomorrow, because tomorrow is Friday, but I’m not going to get you anything from the shop tonight,” I say.

“O.K. Daddy,” Elly says, and we go home.

Polly doesn’t like me to buy Elly chocolate or treats, because when I give her chocolate or treats they are bad for her. I have rebelled against this recently, but it has been a secret Friday afternoon rebellion.

However, thanks to my daughter’s lack of diplomacy my insurgency has been revealed.

“Elly, come here,” I call.

Elly jumps into my bed.

“Elly,” I whisper, “Mummy doesn’t like Daddy giving you chocolate, so we need to keep this secret. Go back and tell Mummy that you were only joking,”

“O.K. Daddy,” Elly whispers, nodding her head enthusiastically.

She runs out of my bedroom.

“Mummy, Mummy,” Elly says.

“Yes?” says Polly.

“I was only joking,” Elly says, with a convincing rising cadence in her voice.

“What?” says Polly.

“I was only joking about the treat,” she says, expertly emphasising the words “joking” and “treat” – the “treat” turns into a smiley giggly sound. She is very good at this.

“Right Elly,” says Polly, who is concentrating on keeping her hands clean.

Elly appears at the bedroom door with a smirk on her four year old mouth, then climbs onto the bed raises her hand.

I was only joking

“Daddy,” she says.

“What?” I say.

“High Five,” she says.

I am shocked. Elly appears to understand that lying successfully to her mother to protect our collaboration is a cause for celebration. What a genius.

We high five.

It is now 5.55 p.m.

Elly is colouring in a rainbow sunflower that we’ve been making for the last hour.

Mick is wearing Elly’s rabbit ears and running back and forth between the door and the chair with a look of intense concentration on his face.

I look over at Elly bent over her colouring.

“How were the chocolate buttons Elly?”

I was only joking

She turns round to look at me and smiles widely,

“Great,” she says.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

For two seconds everything is perfect...

"Polly, I am going to get Fish and Chips. Please don't ask why, just listen..."

"Fish and Chips? Why?" says Polly.

“Look Polly, I’ve only just walked in the door and we’re supposed to be going out in an hour and I’ve been driving backwards and forwards in the car since 3 o’ clock and there’s absolutely nothing to eat in the house and we’ve got to go out in an hour and I didn’t want to have to explain everything to you and I am extremely irritated and I did say please don’t ask me why and now you have and I don’t want to have to justify everything I ever ask you. All I asked is if you wanted fish and chips and all I want to know is do you want any fish and chips and what fish and chips do you want if you do want it and we’re going out in an hour and that’s it…”

For two seconds everything is perfect

There is a silence.

I'm really anxious and over excited about going out. It's the first time Polly and I have been able to go out together for ages and we're going to go to the comedy club at the Portland Arms.

I am excited for many reasons – Andy Zaltzman is headlining and I have heard him making jokes on a Daniel Kitson bootleg and he is a mate of Daniel Kitson so he will be absolutely BRILLIANT. Caroline Mabey is compering. She is my new favourite comedian and I've never seen her compere. I am meeting Steve Rosier for the first time, who is a local based comedian. Hannah Dunleavy who I run Basement Cracks with is also going to be there and she's going to bring the flier for this month’s club, so it's a big ol' comedy fest and I am anxious to be able to enjoy every single second of it.

"Oh. Can't we go to the Comfort Café?"

"Comfort Café is miles away Polly, I just want an easy evening, I know fish and chips is shit but I can't be bothered, we need to get the kids into bed and anyway we're going out in an hour and I just wanted to know if you wanted to have fish and chips. I just want to have fish and chips so what fish and chips do you want, if you do want fish and chips. Do you want fish and chips? Please? HELLO?"

I am totally manic.

"Just get me fish and chips," Polly says.

As I run around the house putting shoes and coats on the children, the phone rings.

"And Mushy Peas," Polly says.

For two seconds everything is perfect

"Yes, I know," I say and press the green button quite a bit harder than I usually do to switch the phone off. That'll teach her to patronise me, despite the fact that I've just rung her up and gone through a very agressive permission seeking scenario which would suggest that on a subconcious level I very much seek patronage.

I wrestle the children in to the car, drive straight to Polly's work and get her receptionist to call her. She can't be found so they page her. I always laugh when they page Polly Page.

Eventually she shows up.

"Come on, we're going to Comfort Café," I say.

"Great," she grins, and runs off to get her coat.

"I thought you were going to get Fish and Chips?" she says as she gets into the car.

"I was, but then I couldn't be bothered and thought I'd just do what you suggested for a change," I say. "Anyway, if it is a hideous disaster, I can just blame you for it for months and months and use it as ammunition against having to do anything you suggest ever again, not to mention that if your idea does fuck up, when I next want to buy fish and chips I can say to you "remember the comfort café?" and you will instantly back down and let me buy fish and chips."

"Delightful," says Polly.


"MEEEEEEEEEEE," shout the kids.

For two seconds everything is perfect

Halfway up Lime Kiln Road I screw up my face and say to Polly “Mmmm, what will you have to eat at Comfort Café? I don’t really know what I’ll have to eat there.”

“I was thinking of their pie,” says Polly.

“Oh yeah, you said about their pie, I’m going to have that then,” I say, and drive silently, thinking about the Comfort Café Pie.

The Comfort Café is probably the best café in Cambridge. This doesn’t mean it’s an excellent café. It is not an excellent café. It just means the rest of the cafés in Cambridge are SHIT.

For two seconds everything is perfect

We used to have an amazing café at the end of the road in Peckham. It did massive portions of greasy food for about £3.00. Polly and I often bemoan the lack of decent fry uppery in Cambridge.

The Comfort Café does a similar standard of fry up as the amazing café at the end of our road in Peckham, but it charges double the price, which, according to café logic, means that it drops in status from amazing to quite poor value for money.

Anyway, Polly sometimes takes Elly there for lunch if the two of them are going to the hospital for some skin wrapping advice. Last time she was there she came back raving about the steak and kidney pie. She said it was massive and delicious and real. This pie was so good that strangers were eyeing it up and walking over to her and saying “What’s that you got there?” and then saying to their partners “I’m having that for lunch,” whilst smiling the smile that is only ever smiled by those basking in the satisfied security of a truly comfortable decision.

Now, Polly does know her steak and kidney pie, but I still can’t believe that this café, which comes in as slightly above mediocre when placed in context of the price of their food, can possibly deliver the goods, but once again I am comforted by the fact that if the Steak and Kidney pie is shit I can blame it all on Polly and right now I am in need of that kind of assurance.

As we pull off the A1307 Polly starts to chant…

“What if it’s not open?”

“What if it’s not open?”

“What if it’s not open?”

For two seconds everything is perfect

The sliproad from the A1307 to the comfort café is about 200m long, but by the time we get to the entrance of the café we have made and rejected 4 contingency plans for what to do in the event of the café not being open.

We will not go to Burger King.

We will not go to McDonald’s.

We will not go to Little Chef.

We will not go to the Three Tuns in Abington.

If the comfort café is closed, we will go to the fish and chip shop on Wulfstan Way.

The comfort café is open.

“Hooray, it’s open,” I shout.

“Hooray,” shouts Polly.

“Hooray,” shouts Elly.

“Raaaaaaayyyyyy,” shouts Mick.

We all bundle out of the car and into the café.

This is brilliant – there are about 3 other people here. This is too good to be true. They must be closing. “What time to you close?” I say.

“8.30,” says the counter woman.

“Wow,” I say.

Polly orders while I take Elly to the toilet and we sit down at a table for 8. Mick has a massive shouting episode about where to put the high chair at the table and insists that we have two high chairs, but it doesn’t matter because no-one is bothered, everyone’s expectations are very, very low.

Mick starts pushing highchairs around the restaurant. It doesn’t matter. No-one bats an eyelid.

Elly sings “I’m going to pinch your bummy,” at the top of her voice, a song that she and I made up a while ago, but instead of singing “I’m going to pinch your bummy,” she is singing “I’m going to pinch your WILLY,” and laughing a lot. It doesn’t matter. No-one bats an eyelid.

We are in a restaurant, we are with the children and Polly and I are relaxed. It’s both exhilarating and shatteringly depressing at the same time.

Then the pie comes over.

For two seconds everything is perfect

It is EXACTLY as Polly described it. A massive brick of a portion - thick pastry, huge chunks of meat and gravy and veg and boiled potatoes.

The kids are happy. The food matches the expectation perfectly. Polly is relaxed. I am very excited about my food.

For two seconds everything is perfect.

I look at Polly. This was a brilliant idea of hers. I’m delighted that we’re here and not eating disgusting fish and chips around our dinner table. I’m amazed that the pie is so fantastic. That she has got it so right.

I open my mouth and say “How come you get to have mashed potato and I have to have these rubbish boiled potatoes?”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The power of NOW

The door slams against the wall. Polly is standing in the doorway with an angry looking Mick on her arm. He is wailing. The sound of Elly sobbing from her bedroom is also apparent. Light floods into my bedroom.


“I need some help, please,” says Polly.

She is seething.

We passed each other on the stairs this morning at 9.30 and I said “Good morning, I’m going back to bed.”

I then lay in bed listening to the drama unfold.


The dull thud of Now That’s What I Call Fucking Annoying Children’s Music Vol. 237 penetrates the floorboards as soon as I hit the matress. It is really loud, and the children start screaming with excitement.

I lie in bed and think about the words to Knees Up Mother Brown, and wonder who Mother Brown’s son was? Some kind of psychotic, Norman Bates character – witness the following lyrics - “Knees Up Mother Brown, Under the table you must go, If I catch you bending I’ll cut your legs right off,”

The music suddenly stops and I can hear the children crying.

“Come on, upstairs, I’ll get you dressed,” I hear Polly saying, and they all stomp up the stairs.

I close my eyes and drift off for a couple of seconds, but soon wake up to hear Polly saying “No Elly, No Treats, No Chocolate, No Magazine, I’m not buying you ANYTHING,” and then Mick starts HOWLING.

I open my eyes, stare at the ceiling, hold my breath and count the steps as they approach the bedroom

The door slams against the wall.

“I need some help, please,” says Polly.

The “please” is venomous.

I am in very big trouble.

I lie in bed and watch Polly hurl the curtains open.

“Ok. You are in charge. What do you want to do?” I say.

“Choose anything you want. Whatever you would like to do, choose it and we will do it,” I say.

“We could drag the screaming children around the fucking park for an hour and then come home,” Polly says. She is in quite a bad mood.

I get up and walk into Elly’s room. She is sitting in just her pants and crying.

“Stop this ridiculous crying,” I say.

Polly comes in and starts reasoning with her.

I walk out into the hall.

I listen for a while. Elly is just crying on purpose now and every time Polly says something Elly turns up the volume.

“Polly, come here,” I say.

These are Polly’s favourite words. She doesn’t come here, she gets Mick dressed and then starts reasoning with Elly again, except she is just getting dragged back into an argument about how she never does anything Elly wants and how it is Elly’s worst day and how no-one ever wants to play with Elly and how Polly has ruined everything.

Eventually I walk into the bedroom, grab Polly’s arm, say “Come with me,” and pull her out of the argument and into our bedroom.


“Don’t grab my arm David, don’t pull me about in front of the children,”

“Polly, just let her cry. Let her cry for an hour if she wants to do that, but just let her do it and don’t keep trying to stop her,”

Polly sits down on the bed.

I have an idea. I go running off into Elly’s bedroom and grab four toys from the floor.

“Look Polly, this is Me, and this is You and these are the kids,”

“Fuck off David,”

“No, listen, it’s good, come on, this is me and this,”

“No, I’m not doing it,”

I pick up a horsey.

“I’m sorry that I went back to bed, I didn’t mean to annoy you,”

Polly looks at the teddy and says “You didn’t even put their fucking clothes on and you just went straight back to bed and you did nothing at all with the kids and you waited until they were right on the edge and they weren’t ready to do anything at all and you went straight back to bed and left me to look after them…”

“Get the bear to say it to the horsey Polly,”


Polly starts punching the horsey again and again.

This is very good.

I pick up the horsey.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t think to get the children dressed when you were sleeping in bed until 9.30 this morning. It was unforgiveable of me. And I’m sorry that I have no enthusiasm for anything and that I’m tired all the time and that I just want to go back to bed. I am so fat at the moment and just want to sleep all the time and feel terrible and sad all the time because I put on three stone in weight and can’t bear myself or what I’ve let happen to me and just want to lie in bed all the time and sleep and not have to face up to the work I’ve got to do to get back in shape,” says the horsey.

Polly looks at me and picks up the teddy bear.

“Oh, I didn’t realise you were feeling so shit, I’m sorry,” says the teddy bear.

“And these two are pissing me off too,” says the horsey, and he throws the other two toys on the floor.

Polly laughs. She is clearly no longer in a mood. This is brilliant. By being a vulnerable horsey, I have won. HOOOOOORAAAAY.

Polly takes the children downstairs.

I am on fire. I have the power. I should be a life coach. Live every breath. Say what you feel. There is nothing on earth that can’t be solved by communicating and I am an expert communicator. I’ve had an excellent idea. I run downstairs and grab the phone.

“What are you doing?” says Polly.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got everything sorted,” I say.

I run upstairs to ring my friends Jon and Jo. Honesty and openness will save the day. Their voicemail kicks in. I know that they will pick up today though, because today I have the power, the power of the present, of the moment, the power of NOW.


I say “hello” in a variety of stupid ways until Jon picks the phone up, as I knew he would. I squeeze myself inside the moment, seize it and positively mould it to my will with my newfound clarity and enlightenment.

“Jon, we’re bored out of our fucking skulls here, can we come over for lunch?”

“Sorry Dave, we’re going round to my parents for lunch,”

“No Jon, I think you mean “Yes, we’d love to have you over,”

“Ummm, No, sorry Dave, we’re going over to my parents. For lunch. They’ve got rib of beef,”


Never mind though, because I hear Polly shout up “It’s alright David, I’ve got a plan, we’re cooking down here,”

“Oh, don’t worry Jon, we’re cooking this morning anyway. Everything’s going to be O.K.”

“Right Dave,” says Jon.

“Right, yeah, everything’s going to be GREAT,” I say

"Good Dave…”

“BYE JON,” I shout

I bound downstairs.

“I was just phoning Jon,” I shout to Polly, putting the phone on the reciever thingy in the living room, “I thought we could go round for lunch, but they’re going to Jon’s Mum and Dad’s, anyway it doesn’t matter because you’ve got a brilliant plan now, you’re doing…”

I walk into the kitchen.


Two chairs have been organised around the work surface.

I see Elly walking from the toilet towards her chair.

I see Mick glance at Elly, then scramble off his chair, run and lurch towards her chair just at the same moment she runs towards it and screams “Oh MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCKKK”

He reaches towards her, grabs a fistful of her hair and pulls.

Simultaneous cries of outrage fill the kitchen. The sound is invasive, palpable.

I look at Polly’s face. She looks exhausted.

“…cooking,” I say.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I am holding my breath.

"Mummy, I have wiped the milk off my face, can I whisper something to you now?" says Elly.

Elly is eating breakfast. Polly is drinking a cup of tea from her red cup.

10 minutes ago Polly refused to let Elly whisper to her because her face was covered with milk.

"O.K." says Polly.

Polly walks across the kitchen, bends over and puts her ear to Elly's mouth.

Elly does an explosive burp and then squeals with laughter.


My heart swells but a terrible moment of panic hits me.

What if she's been influenced by someone else?

What if there's someone funnier than me at her school?

"That was brilliant Elly, well done," I say.

"Yes, it's very funny," Elly says.

"That's right, burping is always funny," I say.

"By the way, who taught you to do that?" I affect an air of casual enquiry but I am holding my breath.

"You did."

I breathe out.

A Number