Spanish exchange student

We have a Spanish exchange student arriving tomorrow and daughter two assures me that her house is on an entirely different level of tidy to ours. To be fair, she is the only child in her flat and we are six people, including several who appear to find it difficult to pick anything up and one [daughter two] who veers between having a five star room and a creative workshop. Currently her room features piles of clothes and wood from various parts of furniture she has gathered for the next project.

Despite the challenges, we have spent the weekend attempting to give the house a makeover. The exchange is going on the camp bed in daughter two’s room. I have painted bits of the house that are covered in fingerprints. I’ve thrown out bags full of my notes and stuff like old birthday cards which I’ve been hoarding for no apparent reason. Things have been stuffed under beds. As long as the exchange student does’t look under the beds or open any cupboards or drawers we’ll be okay.

The tidying up process has been aided by the absence of daughter three, chief leaver of things on the floor. Daughter three is almost incapable of having a bath without towels, clothes and other accoutrements being left all over the floor, despite numerous reminders and tidy-up tactics.

So we were down one person at the weekend since daughter three is not back till tomorrow. We had a slight kerfuffle on Saturday when daughter one went off radar for a few hours, meaning we were two hours late for a family reunion and I went into slight panic stations mode. I fear this is a sign of things to come. As usual, it turned out that the lack of communication was in fact my fault – my data had run out and so whatsapp was defunct.

We’ve also had an influx of bees. I love bees. I have told the kids how much we need bees in this world. But a few bees invaded our shed and wouldn’t leave which made it difficult to go in there and quite a lot of things are stored there [as you can imagine]. So I tried to usher them out, but more came in. The only solution was to spray the shed. I thought there were five bees tops. I have found about 30 dead bees on the floor around the shed in the last few days. I now feel even more guilty than normal, having significantly contributed to the ecological collapse of the world.

Meanwhile we have been watching wall to wall politics and are no clearer about what on Earth is going to happen. Uncertainty in all things seems to be the default position for the future. I have decided to spend less time on social media because it just feels like going into a room and being screamed at all the time, mainly by people I mostly agree with. There are so many things happening all the time, in all aspects of life. I feel the need for some quiet head space before returning to the frenzy.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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