Saturday, June 27, 2009


Every second Friday, routine now sees self, The Boy, and his Dad, drive over to the young cricketers' training session. Boy plays cricket, Dad reads a book or goes for a run, and I help out with the coaching. It's a comfortable enough set-up.

Last night, we probably stuck around for just a little bit too long, though it was fun having general knockabout time with the young guns - a largely bright and funny bunch. That is, whilst the wind is with them.

Getting into the car, The Boy realised that he forgot to have the drink that was bought for him about an hour earlier, and so suggested we return for him to have a drink. Dad and I were as one, 'You can wait, we'll be home in 10 minutes'. Cue tantrum - a rare thing, but a thing of tiredness and layered frustration nonethless. Some effort towards reasoning occurred, but this was upset that he'd just have to burn off. Barking his frustration from the back seat, we were struck with:

'You two are the worst parents I've ever had!'

Dad turned to me, observing, 'Seems you're Dad, too'.

'It was a beautiful moment', I agree.

A few minutes later, sitting on the doorstep of home (having peeled himself from Dad's car), The Boy accepted a glass of water. As a concession that was by my design and at Bio-Dad's despite-himself approval, it made for an awkward moment. I could feel Bio-Dad calling upon more reserves of patience than he knew he had. Quietly patting down The Boy's talk of 'I'm staying here, tonight' - he offered no real resistance - I kind of wished he was, but was also glad that he wasn't. He's been my little rock, of late. He scored his first competitive boundary (four runs), last weekend, too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Greek god of irritating grammar and nuisance punctuation?
UPDATE (5 seconds after originally posting): I guess this is the kind of post that Twitter is for swallowing up.


On Tuesday morning, I awoke to the sound of Nadine Dorries being interviewed on Today. That was the audio equivalent of watching a chaotic pitbull harass innocent parkfolk - not a good start to any Tuesday.

Wednesday has been better.

Thursday addendum.

Friday, June 19, 2009


It's like we've been on a car journey for quite a long time - a long journey - with not much to look at along the way, a destination that is only vague - we've heard of the place - let's call it Philadelphia, but we've not seen any pictures or know quite what to expect. But we're pretty sure that it's worth travelling to. Long journey.

We've travelled so far, there can be no turning back. Well, there can, but that would feel really shitty. Extremities aside, the attitude has got to be: no matter how many punctures, breakdowns, false dawns or whatever elses present themselves, we're not quitting this journey.

I'm not driving - which is unusual. Often, I enjoy driving - the motion, the choice words from the radio, a degree of peace. But right now, I'm not driving. Well, I kind of am - but in a sort of reaching across from the passenger's seat sort of way - and maybe not so much driving, as keeping us on the road. On-rushing trucks.

For the past few months, next Monday was the date that we were to get to Philadelphia.

Was the date.

It seems that the journey is to continue. Whilst we can't say exactly how far we've still to travel, my guess is that we're still a distance from the interstate line. We're low on gas, and the air conditioning is on the blink.

We're all being stretched, moreso than this metaphor.

And so, as I dare to take my hands off the wheel, I look sideways for something that warrants this kind of single-mindedness. Dust whipping up, run-down factories, a broken-down long since forgotten car that was someone else's journey. Then I stop looking so hard, and what was right in front of me comes into sharpest focus again*.

So we push on, cos we've got to.

One dares to dream, cos one's got to.


All without the pectorals, of course.

* The Boy and I had been playing Top Trumps (cars - bloody cars!) one evening, a week or so ago. His chirpiness was just what I needed. In the sound-bite, above, he finds much amusement in having dropped one of his cards and caught it between his toes.

Friday, June 05, 2009


I had toyed with posting about voting in the European Parliamentary election (the invisible election?) - about my experience of looking over the list of parties and candidates (the vote-splitters; the known and the no-face politicians), and the rationale (if I could raise the status of any one party in the UK, who would that be?) that led to me voting for a party (Green) that I'd never before voted for... but I won't. Instead:

Shane: Politics, eh.

Emma: Mm.

Shane: So what have we got?

Emma: Quite of few young, big-boobed beauties. There are the gays, a few internationals, one or two normals, a geordie - gay... you know, the usual. Oh! And a really nice young Brazilian lad.

Shane: Worth watching?

Emma: It will be, in bits. Eventually. First few weeks are usually too noisy - wait 'til they settle in and settle down.

Shane: Ok.

Emma: I think you should go on Big Brother.

Shane: You say that every year.

Emma: You should!

Shane: That would be hideous! How would I get on with ANY of the people you'd typically get on that programme?

Emma: I think you would. I think you'd be rubbish at the getting excited and all of the shrieking, but that's why you'd be good. You'd just be... y' know, not bothered.

Shane: It would be hideous. I'd end up in a conflict - on national television, with either a massive muscley male - hideous, or some totally ditsy blonde thing - equally hideous.

Emma: You wouldn't. You'd rise above it. You'd float about and you'd talk to everyone. Then they'd all vote you out and you'd be back here in less than a fortnight.

Shane: (a bit offended) D' y' reckon?

Emma: What?

Shane: D' y' think I'd be got rid of... quickly?

Emma: I don't know. There'd only be one way to find out...

Shane: Pathetic, absolutely pathetic. The humiliation! Just applying... before getting anywhere near to being on the tele'. Not a chance.

In the way that Huw doesn't concur with lofty disinterest in football, I hold the same view regarding Big Brother. As people discuss the programme - a massive and shifting cultural phenomenon since it first aired, the real value of the show becomes evident. In person, in-the-flesh, as part of life here on Earth, I have learned much about relative strangers, as I've listened to their views on the empty, the vacuous and the banal. Because, of course, them there - their - views, can be far from empty, vacuous or banal. Racism, sexism, politics, the value of time and energy, sexuality, relationship-formation, conflict - how and how not to resolve it, and much more besides. Big Brother has it all. And so, Big Brother is as sharp as the minds that watch and listen to it. So yes it will be tremendously dull, but it'll also be as sharp as... well, you and I...???

(Whispers) The thing is, I don't really care that much - you know, enough to actually vote, but there is something that can be pro-social about it all. I think that's what I hold onto.

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And for anyone who got this far down the post: a treat! A shot of the performance artist, Ron Athey - a very nice man. We once chatted about an atmospheric violin soloist. As I typed the title to this post, Ron came to mind.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Not so much a rocket from the crypt, as an echo from the everyday.

For S:

This past weekend, The Boy and his Dad had a chat about swearing.

Alex: Shane.

Shane: Mm?

Alex: Right, if I said 'I'm gonna kick your ass' -

Shane: Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Alex: - so that would be swearing?

Shane: Yes to that. Swearing not good.

Alex: Okay-. What about - if I was talking to myself - what about 'Now I'm really pissed off'?

Shane: Definitely more swearing, there. No doubt about it.

Alex: (mock contemplative, suppressing a smirk) Mm, so Daddy was right, then.

And so, there came clear and direct Cultural Learnings from The Boy's viewing of HellBoy II (one of Mummy's more curious spending decisions, of late - we'll put that down to stress).

A little later:

Alex: I got told off by Gail (aunt), this weekend.

Shane: Why?

Alex: Well, you know in grandma's garden, the wall at the bottom - before the bushes and trees and things?

Shane: Yeah.

Alex: Well I was walking along the wall, and I sort of fell backwards into one of the bushes and scratched myself - see... (shows scratches on leg and back)

Shane: Sounds a bit harsh. She would've asked if you were okay, though?

Alex: I didn't get told off for falling off the wall... I got told off cos I said shit as I fell.

Shane: Ah. Another swear word. You would have to get told off for that.

Alex: But you say it.

Shane: Er... no I don't.

Alex: Yeah y' do. I told Daddy that y' do.

Shane: Oh, f-... what did y' want to go and do that for?

Alex: So I wouldn't get told off.

Shane: That's... no. No. You have to learn to not use words... like the swear words. And learn to stop imagining that you've heard me say any of them.

Alex: (pause) Y' do, though.

Shane: Sometimes - and this may catch you by surprise, here... sometimes - rare occasions, very rare indeed - I'm not perfect.

Alex: (slowly gets the point) You are so ridiculous.

'Perhaps', I thought, relieved at his having not just replied, 'Bollocks!'.