Monthly archives "May 2011"

Things Parents Say

When Meg was two, I told her that if the ice cream van was playing music it meant the man had run out of ice cream. One day ‘the boy from next door’ was playing round when the familiar tinkle of  ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ rang out around the cul-de-sac. Ashley (boy from next door) went running out to the front gate in jubilation, closely followed by Meg yelling “No Ashley, he’s run out!”
Meg and Ashley with no ice cream in sight
Like many mothers I thought I invented that lie, but from internet research it seems it’s quite a common in-joke amongst us parents. But our parents have been making things up for years to try to keep us under control when the threat of a whippin’ wasn’t enough.
When I was a child my mum told me that if I swallowed the pip of an apple, a tree would grow inside me (sound familiar?). Worse, if I swallowed chewing gum it would wind itself around my intestines and suffocate me while I slept. If we bumped our heads, my aunts would run around screaming “rub some butter on it!” These same aunts were also obsessed with behind the ear washing and telling my cross eyed face ‘if the wind changes, you’ll stay like that’.
If you’re in a terrible accident, I have it on good authority that the paramedics will be horrified (and possibly leave you to die) if you’re not wearing clean knickers. That’s if you haven’t already caught pneumonia from going to bed with wet hair.
Whenever my sisters and I were having the best time there would always be an adult around to remind us that ‘it will all end in tears’; when it did and we were blubbing our tiny hearts out they’d tell us to shut up or they’d ‘give us something to cry about’.
I had many friends who my mum was convinced I would follow if they jumped off a cliff – I couldn’t argue with her because my tongue had shrivelled up and dropped out as a result of telling too many lies.
Of course, when I became a parent I carried on the time honored tradition of putting the fear of god into my child and I expect she will do the same.
Does anyone know where the butter on bumped head thing comes from?
 Didn’t think I’d get to use this picture again

Rapture – Don’t Call me an Atheist

So, I noticed increasing mentions of ‘Rapture’ on Twitter and wondered why there was a sudden surge of interest in Blondie’s 1981 hit after all these years. (Anyone over 40 could be forgiven for making that mistake). After extensive (ahem) research I’ve discovered it’s so much more than an average song containing probably the worst rap section ever known to mankind. No need to Google any further, here are the facts….

Apparently, some guy called Harold Camping has used the left hand side of his unbiased Christian brain together with the Holy Bible to calculate that tomorrow (21st May 2011) is judgement day. The calculations are complicated but are to do with Noah, taking 2011 and deducting 1, adding the name of your first pet to your mothers maiden name and dividing it by your age in dog years; or something like that.

However, it’s not the end of the world tomorrow. There will be many earthquakes, during which time believers such as Cliff Richard, Jonathan Edwards and Alice Cooper will get to meet Jesus who will accompany them on their final journey to paradise. Would you want to be at that party?

After that me and the other non-believers are stuck in a period of tribulation (five months apparently) where terrible things will happen. I can’t find out exactly what they are and, if they’re invented by Christians, it could just involve smoking, drinking and having sex with people you’re not married to. Not so bad then.

Finally, on October 21st 2011, God will destroy all creation. Again, I’m not clear whether the 5 month period in between is like a ‘last chance to join Cliff’ event or you just hang around waiting for the end (like a Cliff concert – wait, is that the tribulation?).

Perhaps I should mention that, due to a mathematical error, good old Harold incorrectly predicted that the same event would occur back in 1994. Obviously, he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

I don’t believe in God, but I’m not an atheist; I don’t agree with the use of the word as it’s just another way of naming people and to me that’s the same as putting me into a religious group.

If you’re a believer, enjoy today as if it were your last. If you’re having a ‘Rapture Party’, let me know Monday how it went.

Photo: Megan Harris-Smith

The Monster In My Daughter’s Room

It’s all been very tense in the Smith household this week as Meg has been taking her photography A Level exam. We never experienced the ‘terrible twos’ or ‘stroppy teenager’ phases as she grew up and she seemed to breeze through her GCSE’s two years ago without a murmur. But we now seem to be in the middle of ‘Evil Stressed A Level Student’.

 Like all students, she leaves everything to the last minute and ensures we feel fully included in the panic and anguish as she searches desperately for lost memory sticks, lens caps and artist research. Invariably I will find one of the offending articles beneath a plate of furry toast crusts later that day as I’m doing the weekly purge of science projects which were once breakfast in her room. (Jeff is afraid of her room; it’s full of women’s things he doesn’t want to admit she’s old enough to possess amid unrecognisable health and safety risks). 
She spent Monday night on the PC in the corner of the sitting room editing her work, regularly advising anyone who was listening that the printer was ‘a piece of shit’ and convinced it was trying to ruin her life. I, meanwhile, decided to overlook her use of language for the next few days and sat calmly at my laptop ordering the third set of printer ink in a month.
Today was the last day of the three day exam and the mood has lifted immeasurably. When I got back from work today, she was sound asleep in bed with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows blasting from her TV. 

All is back to normal.

Oh heck, English Lit at the end of the month, best stock up on Ben and Jerry’s!

(Photo Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot

What I did with my Free Day!

The weekend started well. I settled down (alone) to enjoy the ‘Wedding of the Year’ in full HD glory. I’m not a royalist, but I love a good wedding – and I wasn’t disappointed. I opted for the ITV coverage as it’s aimed at people with a lower attention span than the BBC. Plus it had the silver fox, Phillip Schofield presenting as he’d not been on TV for almost 24 hours and needed the exposure.

Turns out those sneaky peeps at ITV were beaming out idiot-waves; as Bill and Harry left Clarence House looking immaculate in their war outfits I actually came over all emotional. The crowds screamed and cheered and everyone (including Groom) looked deliriously happy.

I have no fashion sense so the fact that I thought the dress was perfect won’t excite Kate when she reads this. Personally, I’d have chosen an ugly fat friend as my bridesmaid (come on, we all have one. And if you can’t think of one, it’s you – as Jo Caulfield once said-ish).

I did my on-line Tesco’s shopping during the ‘boring bit’ and finished with my own wedding buffet – sausage rolls, chicken nibbles and mini eggs. Very Royal.

Then it was off to the pub to raise a glass to the happy couple and buy a raffle ticket in aid of a random charity. I won a high quality priceless commemorative plate.

While sipping my first wine of the day (before 6pm, I’ll have you know!), my eye was drawn to a horse brass lovingly stapled onto the bar post. I paused a moment to remember that day almost thirty years ago and reflect on the irony.

It was a lovely day in the end, oh and I must mention Jon Press who I met in the pub. He was staying in the village for a couple of days during his walk from Lands End to John O’Groats raising money for Action for Children and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. I think he was a bit bemused, do you think he looks bemused?