THERE was a text message from the daughter asking if we had an attic.
Now, that should have alerted us. We should have come up with a few quick reasons to put the loft space beyond reach. For example, we used to have one, but the council have rezoned it as a development project in a series of rooftop heli-pads in case Donald Trump decides to visit.
Alternatively, I could have said yes, we do have an attic, but it’s currently sheltering the crew of a downed Lancaster bomber (she only has a vague notion of the dates of the Second World War, and has never read Commando comics, so I might have got away with that one).
We could even have said we didn’t have an attic. But we didn’t.
She pounced on our weakness like a lithe young lioness taking out the toothless old guard and seized the attic for her own.
She moved back home. Well, of course, every parent spotted the error in that sentence. WE moved her, with the help of a man in a van.
It’s not been too bad, really. Somehow she picked up the ability to cook. This is a very good thing, since I am to cooking what trams are to Edinburgh. Noisy, messy, disruptive, and in the end, something that doesn’t remotely resemble the artist’s impression.
She endlessly berates her 12-year-old brother about the state of his bedroom. This is surprising. Midway through our last house move her father and I lifted up her bed. The gunk under there remained in a perfect bed-shaped mass, fit only for shovelling up and sticking in black plastic bin bags. Somewhere, in a Lothian landfill site, some of my best crockery festers quietly.
What she does do is watch telly. Well, she doesn’t really. What she does is batter the keyboard of her laptop, click the texting of her phone, fiddles about with the iPad thing and shouts at the presenter of the programme because the programme is just wrong. After all, the daughter is studying science and so she knows everything.
I’m thinking of moving into the attic. It’s quiet up there, with just a lot of boxes.
Mum’s word when it comes to way of the warrior
IN Leeds there’s an amazing museum called the Royal Armouries – it’s well worth a visit. It’s a massive collection of the various ingenious ways human beings kill each other.
It teaches you a lot about the seduction of war, and you never know, the more we recognise it, the better we might get at avoiding it. Yup, I am that naïve.
During my visit last week, I caught one of their brilliant interactive talks, about samurai warriors. A little Yorkshire lad sat in front of me beside his heroically sized dad. He showed up on the satnav on my phone.
In one breath-taking move, the demonstrator unsheathed a glittering samurai sword. The blade is about two feet long.
The wee boy was beside himself with excitement. “Look dad!” he shrieked in a little boy Yorkshire accent. “That knife’s huge!”
“No it isn’t,” came the crushing reply.
“Not compared to your mam’s.”
The sun is shining, just don’t let the good feeling get the better of you
OH my word, is that the sun in the sky above us? Is it mild out? Can I take my semmit off? Answer: no. Ne’er cast a cloot till May is oot. And so on.
In the words of my dear, departed great aunt Susan, we’re no deid a winter yit. Her other favourite phrase, used on stormy nights, was “nae Christian buddy would be abroad on a night like this”.
Other religious choices are available, but presumably even the followers of Beelzebub would think twice about nude cavorting to celebrate his dark satanic majesty on a Scottish winter’s eve. Or a summer’s one, come to that.
Blue skies above us and council sponsored crocuses before us. Yes, we’ve made it.
Cards that need dealt with care
D’YOU remember when you just bought a card for someone, maybe for a birthday or something ? You just saw a card that looked vaguely correct, bought it, sent it. To any member of your family, a friend, anyone you happened to know.
Now, though, watch it. Greetings cards have become seriously targeted. You can buy one with “to my brother” on the front. Or “to my sister’s boyfriend”. Or – I’m not making this up – “to my mum and her new man”.
About the only category missing is “to my husband and his home-wrecking floozie”. Clearly a gap in the market there.
Mind you, my mum once came a cropper with a card for a birthday that had nice flowers on the front, and because she was in a hurry, she posted it as soon as she had written “have a great day” inside, which was a bit weird since the message inside was “sorry for your loss”.