Chopstick DIY



My partner was away this weekend playing roller hockey, as you do. As is usually the case when he goes away, things happen. Not only was it daughter three’s last ever day of primary school, but daughter two was at a sleepover on the other side of Essex.

I rang her friend’s mum to check pick-up details. She suggested meeting on the fork between a road outside a pub on Friday evening. It sounded slightly dodgy, like we were exchanging contraband goods rather than children. Only son, daughter three and I headed over. It was around 8.30pm. We found the fork in the road, but there was no room in the car park so we pulled in across the road outside Wok u Like.

I texted daughter two. I had 8% battery on my phone. Only son had been doing Minecraft on it and used up most of the battery. Oh dear. Time passed. “Where are you?” came a text from daughter two. “Outside Wok u Like”, I replied. “Opposite the pub”. I gave its name. “We’re at the Black Bull,” said daughter two. I had absolutely no idea where the Black Bull was, but it wasn’t the pub I was staring at. The phone said 6% battery. I repeated our location. Around 20 minutes later, after observing in detail the comings and goings from Wok u Like, a car rolled up with daughter two in it. Her friend’s mum had got the wrong fork in the road. Daughter two had spent the day at the beach rolling in mud and flying around on a zip wire. That counts as a top day for daughter two. We headed home.

Daughter two had a shower. The water didn’t seem to drain from the shower. I left it overnight, hoping it was one of those things that get better with sleep, but it had still not cleared by the morning. DIY is not my forte, but I tend to take the attitude ‘how hard can it be’? I plunged the bath, but the water wouldn’t go down. I reached for a plastic chopstick and tried to poke it down the plughole. I felt stuff moving. Two minutes later the chopstick broke. Uh oh. I decided the best move was to unscrew the plughole. As I turned the screw and pulled the plughole up, the water went down. Hurray, I have fixed the bath, I thought. I am a genius at DIY.

I ignored the suspicious sound of trickling water under the bath and headed downstairs to tell the troops of my DIY expertise. I went into the kitchen. There was water everywhere and a damp stain on the ceiling. Oops. I screwed the plughole back on. Fortunately, we had just renewed a homecare agreement for the boiler which seemed to include plumbing. Everyone was banned from the bathroom. Water from the basin seemed to be coming up in the bath.

Over the next few hours, daughter three deleted all the photos of her leavers assembly and indeed all images of her friends from her phone. Having just suffered the trauma of leavers assembly, she was distraught. Technology is not my forte either. I googled how to retrieve the photos. It seemed to involve downloading a programme. I connected the phone up to the computer. There were three things that came up on the screen c:, d: and something that began ST. The phone was definitely not c: and it turned out it was not d: so we tried ST. It took a very long time to load.

It was at around 5% after an hour and said there were 975,000,000 multimedia files. On one phone? I wasn’t sure it was downloading from daughter three’s phone or some secret cache on the computer. Perhaps I had mistakenly hacked the Government or something. Before I could reflect, though, only son disconnected the phone. He apologised profusely and disappeared into the garden to do some sort of shark game in the paddling pool with the neighbours. After lounging on the sofa for several hours watching something called Impractical Jokers, daughter two ran into the garden dressed in black tights, a black swimming costume and goggles. “It’s synchronised swimming time,” she shouted and hurled herself into the paddling pool. My partner texted a picture of an apparently legendary roller hockey player from Spain. “All fine?” he asked.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons.

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