Fiona Duff: The father times are a-changing

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A mother’s work is never done. Those are the words that ring around so many homes. Despite equal pay legislation and other social advances, the majority of child and home care does often fall on the shoulders of ’er indoors.

Whilst seeing a father in the playground for school pick-up is no longer as unusual as a Tory MP north of the Border or a snowball in hell, and a man can change his child’s nappy without his friends tittering in derision, there is still a long way to go.

But as of April 5, maternity leave becomes shared parental leave. No longer is a father limited to a fortnight to assist with looking after a baby. These days many a mother has a job that is as important, if not more so, than that of her other half. She may not only get paid more, but might actually want to go back to the workplace.

Let’s face it, for many of us getting back to work is a blessed relief where there is the opportunity to have conversations that don’t revolve around colic and the best way to mash up a carrot.

It is hardly the stuff of revolution as many countries already realise that the presence of a father is important in a child’s early years for both parties. Distant fatherhood is a thing of the distant past; in fact, my children take the mickey out of my husband as much as they do of yours truly.

Personally, I have always been of the opinion that having actually given birth I have undertaken the hardest part of being a parent. If men had to bear a baby there would be a heck of a lot of single-child families around, that’s one thing of which I am sure. Following the birth of my youngest child I told my husband that his duty was now to provide me with a cup of tea in bed every weekend morning for eternity. Or as long as he could carry it upstairs without spilling it on the carpet, whichever comes first.

As the mother of a boychild (well galumphing teenager these days), I know that it is up to me to make sure that he is never of the opinion that a mother’s lot is to do everything around the home. He sees the husband cooking meals and taking his little sister to hockey matches, although I do seem to have failed with using the vacuum cleaner.

But I don’t think that anyone would ever describe my husband as being under the thumb. I let him go to the pub with friends to watch the football. I don’t want that sort of rubbish in my 
sitting room.

Queen Hurley is amazing show’s crowning glory

There’s no way that The Royals on E! was ever going to resemble the real royal family, what with Elizabeth Hurley playing the Queen.

But, oddly enough, there are some characters that are quite easy to recognise. However, considering I am already hooked after one episode I ain’t going to be the one to mention in print who is based on which member of the Windsor family.

So what makes The Royals so addictive? Well, there is virtually no-one who can deliver a clunky line with the aplomb of Hurley, below, who is simply magnificent. As my daughter pointed out, every scene is a drama – there are virtually no slower scenes in which you can catch your breath. In fact, some of the lines are so totally outrageous that you have to stop and rewind just to make sure that you hadn’t actually misheard.

However, the best is yet to come as Joan Collins will be appearing as the Queen’s mother. If there is anyone who could give Hurley a run for her money in the delivery of ridiculous lines with conviction and acting in an imperious manner it’s Britain’s latest dame.

I’m not sure I can wait for the next instalment.

Bum steer for wedding seats

A friend is getting married tomorrow. We met for coffee earlier this week when she asked me if I knew of any feuds or fall-outs that she should be aware of before doing the seating plan.

I have to admit that she has a point – there’s nothing that makes a wedding a miserable affair more than sitting beside someone that you just can’t bear. Especially if it’s the person to whom you have just pledged your troth.


There’s a man called Pete who has just arrived in Edinburgh. Last week I spent two hours with him in a darkened room. To be honest I was going to keep this a secret, but with Edinburgh being the village it is, I knew that word would soon get around. So if you fancy trying an Ayurvedic massage with Pete – it’s a two-hour treatment which is quite literally from the top of your head to the tips of your tootsies – then get along to OMH Therapies. When Belinda Carlisle sang about Heaven being a place on Earth, who would have guessed it

was on Randolph Crescent.