Summer holidays: week one


Week one of the holidays and the house is still more or less intact, if slightly dishevelled. There’s a neon orange and green cake in the kitchen and some decaying homemade ginger biscuits. Daughter three has begun a health drive and has created a menu for every meal. All of them involve her cooking. This would be a good thing, if they also involved her washing up.

She and only son have been doing “swimming badges” in the paddling pool so there is grass all over the floor where they have come in and out. Only son has got 70 points and eight swimming badges. He looks slightly purple, though, because the water is very cold. He has put some water in a smaller container which he calls his “hot tub”. It is similarly freezing.

The laptop keeps disappearing. Only son said something about daughter two putting it on “fly mode”. There was a long explanation of why he had not put it on fly mode and then this: “I don’t want to say this, mum, but I’m going to have to use a swear word. Daughter two got very annoyed [swear word] with the computer and put it on fly mode and now I don’t know how to take it off fly mode. Can you help me?” Only son also proudly showed me that he had created folders on my phone. There is one marked mum’s folder, one marked only son’s folder and one for daughter one. The mum one seems to contain all my text messages and the phone.

Workwise, I’ve turned the day inside out and am getting up early and staying up late. Out of interest the other day I asked only son what he thought my job was. He knows it involves a lot of typing so I thought he’d say something along those lines. “Keeping the whole family running,” he said without pausing for thought. I’m not sure if I should take this as a good thing or not.

Meanwhile, daughter two has been suffering from some strange condition that involves water coming out of her mouth. I looked it up and I think it is indigestion, possibly caused by eating too many fruit and vegetables. Daughter two is a bit of a health freak. I suggested some chocolate cake. She looked at me in disgust.

In short, the kids have taken over and now that they’re getting older the schedule has changed slightly in that, with the exception of only son, they never go to bed. Daughter one wants to stay up watching films and stuff about the 80s. She is particularly keen on playing Vienna on a loop. Mainly because she knows I hate Vienna – apologies to Midge Ure.

Meanwhile the parents are not yet on holiday, but very much anticipating being so soon.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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