Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year Resolution

So if you don't hear from me again... You can consider our account closed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

The most hysterical part of this tongue-in-cheek memoir of extreme parenting is when Amy Chua discovers the existence of Dog IQ rankings. Amy feels 'nauseated' when she discovers family pet Coco, a cute Samoyed, who attends Doggy Kindergarten classes - ranks only 33rd for breed intelligence ...
Amy refuses to believe Coco might just be an average dog - not fit to be part of a dog sniffing team - so she scours the internet till she finds some research which states 'the Samoyed surpasses other breeds in determination, focus and endurance...'
She writes: 'My spirits soared. For me, this was the perfect combination of qualities. If the only issue was a stubborn, disobedient streak, that was nothing I couldn't handle.'
A couple of nights later she's having yet another row with husband Jed who thinks she's pushing their two daughters too hard - the Chinese parenting method insists on hours of music each day, no sleepovers, no playdates, no TV, straight A grades - the house is full of tension, there is no breathing space...
And Amy flashes back at him: "What dreams do you have for Sophia or for Lulu? Do you ever think about that? What are you dreams for Coco?"

Monday, December 26, 2011


This was the moment when Before
turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only a dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect

Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

U.A. Fanthorpe

Peace On Earth

Who could ever have guessed that Monopoly - a game of ruthless property grabbing - would bring peace to the Tinsley household at Christmas? Once Nick established the ground rules (backstab and cheat all you like but no biting or kicking your siblings) the children played without rowing for hours - while I peeled Brussel Sprouts.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Since when did badminton become a risk sport? When I returned from the grocery shopping the kids were playing together; three of the four had riding hats on and the fourth had a sulky expression.
"What happened?"
They spoke up in unison. They said: "Florence attacks us when she misses the shuttlecock."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Charlotte's Web

It doesn't surprise me that Charlotte's Web is almost 60 years old. A children's book that deals with the dark side of farming wouldn't get past most editors now-a-days. We live in an urban world now - there are a dozen degrees of separation between fluffy farm animals and prepackaged meat.
And yet this story of a runt who is rescued from slaughter by a bloodthirsty spider who weaves 'some pig' in her web to save him - then dies after hatching her egg sac -is a literary classic. It has sold 45 million copies and been translated into 23 languages.
How reassuring to realise that innocent children can unquestioningly accept the life cycle of birth, reproduction and death - it's adults who have problems with it

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Apple and the Tree

Tonight was the School Winter Concert - it's always fab and so terrifically popular the parents of performers are allowed two tickets only.
No tickets came home with Beatrice (our singer) so I went into the school to investigate.
The choir mistress handed me a large biscuit tin. "All the consent forms are in there. Kids who brought back consent forms got tickets."
Well, in truth I couldn't remember if I'd signed a consent form or not. I have forms stuck under my nose every day - "Sign that Mummy" - and I sign.
Humbly I said: "Please may I sign a form now?"
She shook her head. "Too late. All the tickets have been allocated."
I tried not bluster. I said: "It doesn't matter if I don't have a seat. Please may I stand at the back?"
"Security have been told to turn away those who don't have a ticket."
The picture became a bit clearer. "You expect me to drop Beatrice off, then sit in the car and wait for her?"
After school I searched Beatrice's schoolbag. The consent form was there. She'd forgotten to hand it in.
I said: "Luvvie, there's no place in the school choir for the vague!"
She looked confused. She said: "I thought the choir was for singing?"