I spent last weekend exhibiting http://www.stuckonhomework.com at the Independent Schools Show in Battersea Park with T, my business partner and friend of more years than either of us cares to remember. The most surprising thing about the weekend was the mother who wanted to subscribe to the site so she could help prepare her son for his Maths GCSE. Her son is two. The least surprising thing about the weekend was that at the end of it I returned home to an assortment of tired, hungry and emotional teens, cats and dog and a kitchen full of washing up, a scenario that greeted me upon my return from work most nights last week. But after a relaxing weekend things were calmer last night and DS, DD and I settled on sofas for an evening with ITV – X Factor followed by the opening show of I’m A Celebrity. I had said I wasn’t going to watch this series but one programme does not a new reality TV habit make. Someone called Mark from TOWIE overcame his fears to jump out of an aeroplane, Lorraine Chase was sick in a bush and I failed to convince DD and DS that Fatima Whitbread is a woman.
But tonight brings fresh drama as about 2 hours ago 2 burglars broke in through the kitchen window of my 82 year old mum’s house while she was watching TV in the sitting room. They ransacked the upstairs drawers before letting themselves back out through their entry point. My mum is highly amused that nothing was taken ‘ because they couldn’t find anything they wanted! ‘ and asked if I wouldn’t mind calling back as the two ( loud stage whisper ) ‘… Very nice and strapping policemen ‘ would be leaving soon and she wanted ‘ to say goodbye properly ‘ before my sister arrives to check on her. I say I’ll call in to see her tomorrow evening but she says not to bother as she’s off to the cinema with her prayer group but Wednesday’s good if I’m around?
I am blaming the unfeasibly hot October weather for my general inertia today. Apart from doing several loads of washing (because only a fool or a woman with an empty laundry basket would ignore such perfect drying conditions) I have mostly been sitting in the sun or lying lightly panting on the sofa watching my current guilty TV pleasure – Judge Judy – ‘ The people are real, the cases are real, the rulings are final…’ Having attended parties the past 2 evenings DD has also been resting most of the day, including a session sunbathing on the flat roof outside her bedroom window while DS has spent the day at his girlfriend’s house, mostly in or beside their outdoor pool. He returns exhausted from the day’s efforts, incapable of even basic speech and attempts to make polite conversation are met with barely audible, monosyllabic replies. His friend K who lives down the road, 17 this Friday just gone and getting closer to six foot every day, arrives dressed in a monkey onesey, a kind of giant animal babygro which is a favourite mode of home attire for many of the teens. It is still hot and I cannot believe that K isn’t overheating inside his simian suit. “ Nah, it’s fine, I’m really comfortable in it…’ ‘ Nice beard ‘, I say. K is shaping his latest facial hair into a rather fetching, narrow strip running across his jawline . He strokes it carefully in an Austin Powers kind of a way – ‘ Thank you, I’m working on it ‘.
Some time later and we are all watching the X-Factor, shouting at the telly as the judges yet again make some bad decisions ( ie. ones we don’t agree with ) about who to put through and who to send home. ‘ Noooooooooo! ‘ shouts DD, as Louis Walsh sends home Terry the scaffolder, tearfully shattering his middle aged dreams. ‘ He can’t send Terry home, I love Terry! ‘ protests DD. “ He’s crap ‘, says DS bluntly, ‘ No one’s gonna buy his records ‘. ‘ I would ‘ says DD, staunch in her defence of the luckless Terry as he joins a long list of X factor rejects we have loved and lost and quickly forgotten. When I say goodnight to DS later I ask him what his grey and pink animal onesey is – DD’s is a cow – ‘ It’s an elephant isn’t it? ‘. ‘ No, it’s a rabbit. Can you leave me alone please, I’m very tired ‘. So I head for bed, letting teenage sleeping bunnies lie.