Nothing goes to plan


I’m in the middle of a very busy week so this will be fairly stream of consciousness or more so than usual. It didn’t begin as planned – does anything? Daughter one had a migraine first thing and emerged from her room looking like a zombie so had to be sent back to bed. I said I would take her in later and catch up on work in the small hours [not the best start to a busy week]. However, she is not known for speed in the mornings and, to be fair, was still fairly groggy by around 10.30, plus she had heard me having a minor technical blow-out and decided to stay in her room until it was safe to emerge. Bad mother, but also bad, bad computer.

So we were running late. As we set off, we got stuck, as is customary in the countryside, behind a tractor. Not just any tractor. It had about five huge cylinder things on it so you couldn’t see around it. The driver was sipping a drink and looking very king of the road. He turned off halfway along the road, but five minutes later we got stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident ahead. Everyone started doing u-turns so we did too. I decided to drive daughter one to the station. Halfway there she announced she didn’t have her Oyster card on her. As I had no money, due to children taking it all and time was running out, I gave up and went home.

Daughter one, who has just begun a philosophy course, was not best pleased. She shut herself in her room and quoted the feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir at me. I’m not sure why, but I studied her at university and mentioned, in passing, that I thought she could have put a few jokes into her book The Second Sex to lighten it up a bit. I am now down in daughter one’s books as a hater of all existentialists, with Simone de Beauvoir flung regularly in my face along with Spandau Ballet and other things I supposedly hate.

Daughter three had some homework to do the other night about whether we believe in souls. She had to interview three family members. She chose daughter one, daughter two and me. Daughter two’s responses were basically to copy whatever daughter one said. I said I didn’t believe in souls, but it was a nice idea. Brief, but not too brutal, I thought, and then I digressed about having a discussion with a nun back in the day about why she was so sure animals didn’t have souls when how could she know? Daughter one, however, gave a full philosophical treatise on the nature of souls, citing Plato, although not Simone de Beauvoir. “I think they don’t exist, but who can be sure? I am working my way towards an opinion on this one”, she said, but in a more elegant, long-winded fashion.

Anyway, daughter one had still not emerged from her room by school run time. Only son greeted me with an “I’ve had a very bad day, mum”. He couldn’t remember why though, which is slightly frustrating. Daughter three had done the dreaded cross country run that is reserved for this time of year and which all students fear. Daughter two has it later in the week. Daughter three did well enough to save face, but not quite well enough to be selected for the cross country team, which she considered a rip-roaring success, even if she could hardly walk afterwards. In the evening I went to an event and caught up with work later. I informed my partner that I am now officially doing a Spanish day – a morning and an evening shift, although without the siesta bit in the middle.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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