Less than six years to go ….


Have you decided which Olympic event your child is going to win … er, I mean compete in? Cos there’s no time to waste, you know. Of course, it’s going to be tricky, since our children are mostly obese and spend their time playing computer games but with sufficient pushiness – and we parents are so very, very pushy – we might just manage it.

Interesting article here in Der Spiegel about how the powers that be are trawling the country for future winners (cos it’s the winning that matters, not the taking part). I particularly like the bit about mud being okay, as long as there are some nuggets of gold in with it. We mud-people are breathing a sigh of relief.

So if our children are too unfit to go for the flashy events, like sprinting and pole vaulting, and too lardy for the sexy ones, like beach volleyball, maybe they could go for something like table tennis. Now aren’t you glad I supplied that clip with the previous thread? Hope you’ve got started on the training regime ….

It’s a health and safety nightmare


It’s THAT time of year again and, well, you can’t be too careful, can you? Thanks heavens so many headteachers have seen sense and banned the playing of conkers from school playgrounds. Not only have you got the whole nut allergy thing going on there (er … are conkers nuts?), but clearly, you could put someone’s eye out, not to mention the danger of nasty abrasions from the string.

In fact, I’m so concerned about the risks of playing outdoors at all that I’m going to post a link to a video clip that will, hopefully, keep you and your loved ones safe while playing table tennis – and also assist you in attaining champion status. BUT the authors of this blog accept no liability … mumble mumble…blah blah…small print small print
Click here and pay close attention!

The minger dynasty


If there’s a more irritating, more repulsive expression in the daily vocabulary of teens (and pre-teens) than ‘minger’, I’ve yet to hear it. And yet, it seems so handy. Grammatically, it can virtually perform any role you want it to: ‘It mings in here!’, ‘You minger!’, ‘That food is mingin’!’. What, with that and ‘Whatever’, or should it be ‘Wha-eva!’ you’ve practically got everything you need for an adolescent conversation.

I once banned both expressions from my house for a whole day – cos that’s the kind of pedantic fun-sucker I am. And it went wonderfully quiet. For my tweenagers, apparently, there was nothing else worth saying.

I know it’s a phase and it won’t last and that some other fad expression will take over. These days, I feel fondly nostalgic for ‘rank’ and ‘random’, the immediate predecessors to the ‘m’ word. I just hope whatever comes next won’t have me feeling the same way about the minger dynasty.

If it’s tuesday, it must be Tae Kwon Do


Have you resisted the siren lure of the after-school club? Or have you gone all enthusiastic, it being September, and all. You know what I mean – that first chill in the air is indelibly linked in our minds and hearts with new beginnings: freshly sharpened pencils, nice new socks with name-tapes sewn in, over-sized blazers. It seems only natural to start a whole batch of new extra-curricular activities at the same time, doesn’t it?

And what a lovely lot there is to choose from. Swimming, trampolining, French, pottery, Kumon, piano, cross-country, Yoga-bugs, short tennis, circus skills – why, a single week just isn’t long enough!

And it’s never too early to start! Check out this brilliant article by Imogen Edwards-Jones in the Spectator. What was she thinking of, not getting eight-month-old Allegra plugged into the self-improvement circuit? Thank goodness her nanny is on hand to sort her out!

Imogen suggests that this phenomenon is restricted to ‘Alpha-mums’, so used to the fast pace of corporate life that they’re unable to let up when it comes to their children, but I think it’s far more wide-spread than that. Even those among us who haven’t had to say Goodbye, Jimmy Choo (sorry – shameless plug) feel the pressure. There’s that awful feeling, when you hear other parents talking about their child’s busy schedule, that you’re letting your children down, denying them the possibility to be just that little bit more accomplished. Before you know it, you’re filling in the forms, writing the cheques, and shuttling between activities until 6.30 four nights a week.

For all of us who have signed up already, I confidently predict that, come February, the combination of dark, chilly nights and the cosy comfort of Blue Peter will have us safely back home by 4.30 at the latest. And very nice too. But for now, while we’re still enthusiastic, what have you signed your kids up for? Go on, tell all ….