Family PA

Mobile Phone Texting


“So I dropped only son at breakfast club, bought daughter three some milk so she could have a good breakfast before her exams, texted daughter one to check she had picked up the emergency money I sent to the post office for her and to find out when she is leaving the camping site, dumped the car and ran down the hill to the station and got to the conference just one minute late which I consider to be on time.” I was explaining the early part of my day to my partner.

“I then did an interview in a park overlooking the Thames with some tourists sitting next to me, legged it to the tube, picked up a meal deal for daughter three, texted daughter one on her whereabouts and pick-up times, rang daughter three to meet me at the top of the road, checked work emails and made it to primary school slightly late.”

While I was driving to pick up daughter two, I got only son to act as my PA. This is what he wrote to daughter one: “Running slightly late, start walking” [it’s a 1.5 hour walk home from the station, but we could meet her halfway]. D1: “I can’t walk. I’m too tired.” Me [via only son]: “Stay there.” D1: “That’s exactly what I was planning on doing.” OS: “We’re in xx village suburbs [we were in fact 10 minutes away from xx, but I like to be one step ahead of myself. I call it positive thinking]. D1 [who knows my tactics]: “You mean you have not left secondary school yet?” OS: “No figritivly we are in xx village”. Only son loves the word figuratively, but he can’t quite spell it. D1 [15 minutes later as we had to make an emergency stop for petrol]: “How far are you? You’re making me regret not walking.”

We returned home in silence as daughter two, who is a bit on edge about her GCSE mocks, said something that annoyed daughter one, who had spent the night shivering in a campsite in Kent and was feeling a bit delicate. I worked most of the night to catch up, taking in a documentary about the New York Times out of one eye while typing up my returner conference notes. I miss newsrooms. Especially now when there is so much going on. I know I am still, figuratively, a journalist, but it’s not the same as being part of a newsroom. Will there ever be a return to the newsroom programme for journalists? I’m not very optimistic, given the state of journalism, even though good journalism has never been more necessary.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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