Sunday, February 03, 2008

the long and windy road

I do love the children but they've really been getting under my feet lately. I wouldn't mind but they haven’t done anything entertaining for the blog for ages either. The final straw came when Tilly asked to be paid twenty thousand pounds a year as a researcher on Strife in the North. Although this blog’s meticulous politician-like pursuit of factual accuracy could certainly justify that amount I was a little nervous of putting her on the payroll and declaring my commercial reliance on the children to the authorities. ‘Can’t you take them out somewhere dear?’ I asked my husband, exasperated, by way of encouraging him to spend a little quality time with his daughters. My husband looked a little blank. ‘How about taking them sledging?’ I suggested. My husband doesn’t spend much time in our village. I could see he needed a prompt. ‘You’re wandering where there’s a good tobogganing hill.’ I offered. My husband nodded. I pointed to the news about the A66 being closed then went back to my typing. That big hill up at Bowes would make a lovely sledging run and my husband would bring my children back safely because he was an expert in outdoor survival, having watched amost all of Touching the Void on DVD at our friends house before feinting, from the thin air he claimed, because our friend's living room is upstairs.

Some time later the door opened loudly and I heard children’s voices in the hall downstairs then thudding footsteps on the stairs. Tilly burst in. ‘Hello dear’, I said, ‘did you have a good day?’ Tilly explained disappointedly that when they got there nearly all the snow had been cleared ready to open the road. ‘You should have come earlier’, a man in a high vis jacket had told them , seeing the toboggan as he had brushed the snow from the windows of abandoned vehicles to peer inside for anyone they might have missed the day before. ‘That’s the first time anyone must have said that to your daddy’, I muttered. ‘Mummy’, began Tilly, ‘Yes dear?’ I smiled ‘Milly said that last night in the blizzard the survivors ate the people who died of hypothermia’. I sighed. ‘Well dear’, I explained, ‘northerners are used to frozen food’. Tilly looked uncertainly reassured. She hadn't really trusted my judgement on culinary matters after the incident in the cafe when I'd told the waitress I only wanted fried bread with my breakfast if it was focaccia. ‘They couldn’t afford organic even if they could grow anything up here darling’. Tilly nodded. ‘And anyway’, I continued , ‘I’m certain there are no cannibals this side of the welcome to Cumbria’ sign’. I remembered my neighbour telling me about the ingredients of Cumberland sausage and although I couldn't recite it line by line it definitely included lost ramblers. Apparently reading all those Beatrix Potter books has put them completely off eating animals over there. My neighbour even told of how Renée Zellweger had a close shave on her first day of shooting Miss Potter , so close that she was left with a false left leg. Although physically she ended up only being wooden below the knee doctors were tragically unable to save her acting.

‘Mummy’, said Tilly. ‘Yes, what is it dear?’ Tilly looked a little pale. ‘You know you usually only see one crow tugging at an animal corpse on the road.’ ‘Yes dear’, listened I, sympathetically. ‘Well today we saw a whole crowd of them because the road was closed’ I smiled lovingly. My daughter continued; ‘And you know you hardly ever see more than one journalist around here’ . I nodded. ‘Well today we saw two TV trucks and daddy nearly ran over a cameraman who was dashing over the road to film a smashed up car from the night before before it was towed away’ I sighed. ‘Mummy’, said Tilly, sheepishly, ‘I don’t want to be journalist like you anymore, I want to write made up stories instead’. I gave my daughter a big hug. Although it looked as if, with nobody to hand on to, when I retired it could be the end of the road for Strife in the North, at least I’d saved twenty grand. I poured a glass of wine and switched on the radio.

8 comments:

Mopsa said...

Careful Tilly, or you might turn your mum into an MP.

aims said...

I would have gladly shot or trapped Renee Zellwegger after watching her pursed lips and plumpy cheeks for an hour and half.....what was that all about anyway?

Swearing Mother said...

Twenty grand? Piff paff, why not go the whole hog and get everyone on the payroll? Surely you can justify that sort of expense by the sheer excellence of your blog.

You could then relax completely and spend much more quality time at home with your staff.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Journalists? Evil, the lot of em ...

Ms Baroque said...

Another touching tale, lovely to hear of a mother and daughter bonding in this troubled era without resort to reruns of "Scrubs." Great luck re the £20K, too.

lady thinker said...

Well - I hope you have no plans to retire just yet.

I'll never eat another fozen ready meal from the North again - I had no idea what might be in it. Si that why the mountain rescue teams rush out to the fells so eagerly to collect fresh meat...

Now down in Devon they confine themselves to only eating road kill mammals - badgers foxes etc. Not, as far as I am aware, people.

I didn't miss the reference to your spouse not been a speedy chap. Also I've been wondering is Fabio the new England manager the same Fabio you mention?

Anonymous said...

I am a little, how shall I put it, concerned, as to what story will be appearing on this blog once you have seen the excellent film 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'...

EmmaK said...

Oh, I absolutely love my children too. The closest I felt to them was recently while I was on a ten day vacation in Madras. No they weren't with me...that's why I missed them so much.