In the car office



Being a parent means getting to the end of the week and collapsing at around 8.30pm on Friday night shortly after looking at the calendar to find the entire weekend is mapped out with dropping and picking up activities.

So on Saturday with the sun shining all around, it was my turn to take only son to his dance show. My partner had done Friday evening’s rehearsal. I had to get up early to do an emergency Skype interview for work so I decided to use the time waiting for only son’s show to finish writing the interview up.

I loaded the car with only son’s costume and packed lunch and my laptop. He had three shows over the weekend and we only had tickets for one – the one first thing on Sunday morning [the teen wing of the family was not impressed]. So I dropped a very excited only son at the theatre in Romford and retired to the back of the car with my laptop.

The only problem was that I hadn’t reckoned on just how hot it was going to be. Even with the window open it was swelteringly humid. There was no shade in the car park. I set to work, pulling the shades down, taking my boots off and converting the back seat into a small office, a small office full of bits of plastic and assorted wrappings.

Small children in make-up drifted past, looking slightly perturbed to see someone hard at work on their computer in the car. After about two hours, the whole one-hour interview was typed up plus a bonus interview I’d done on Friday. I was melting, but I had got slightly ahead for Monday which is always a good thing in the school holidays.

Only son came bounding out of the theatre full of excitement, which was only slightly dulled by the fact that I wouldn’t give him £1 for the sweet machine. Only son is a one-man dance extravanganza. He dances even when he walks. So on top of the world was he that he arranged a sleepover and Easter egg hunt with his best friend for later in the week and we retired home.

The rest of the clan had gone out to the park except daughter two who was still in her pjs and cooking some sort of vegan extravaganza. Only son got into his swimming costume and headed to the trampoline. “Let’s play the hide and seek water pistol game,” he said. I had not up to that point heard of the hide and seek water pistol game, but it sounded like a great idea, given the heat. It involved daughter two and I hiding in the garden and only son counting to 30. He then had to fire his water pistol at us before we got to the safety of the trampoline. There are very few hiding places in the garden. I crouched under the slide while daughter two put some tarpaulin over her head.

We were soon drenched. It was quite a relief after an afternoon in the car office.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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