This is my hand


It’s a hand that does dishes (or at least loads and unloads the dishwasher).
It’s a hand that has raised two children.
It’s a hand can play the flute.
It’s a hand that has written eight novels.
It’s a hand that looks its age; that has a little arthritis starting in the wrist (broken twice while rollerblading and cycling).
It’s a hand that, for half its life, has worn a wedding ring. And now it doesn’t.
I like it fine.


I’ve done a terrible thing

I’ve just collected the twins from their Duke of Edinburgh training, wearing embarrassing trousers.

(I should perhaps make it clear that they’re not training to become the Duke of Edinburgh – although I’m sure they’d make a fine job of it.)*

I stayed in the car. It could have been worse. I could have got out and walked up and down in my embarrassing trousers and actually spoken to people, if I’d felt like it. But it seems I’m still a terrible mother. They were kind enough to observe, however,  that if I like my embarrassing trousers, I’m perfectly entitled to wear them – but in my own time.

That seems fair, don’t you think?

* if being the Duke of Edinburgh consists – as it seems to me – of not carrying any money and saying things out loud that would have been far better kept inside your head.


Everyone’s a critic!

As you’ve probably gathered, I live near Stratford on Avon, so there’s always plenty of hot thespian action going on. Many’s the time I’ve stalked Anthony Sher round Marks and Spencer, trying to get a look in his shopping basket. And I believe they even put on plays as well.

Another fringe benefit is that the RSC has an education department that, periodically, puts on courses and workshops and stuff like that for children.

So, pushy mother that I am, I sent the twins along to a half-day session on Macbeth. They were about 5 or 6 at the time – obviously ready for Shakespeare – but on the way home, the conversation with my daughter went something like this:

Me: So darling, did you enjoy it? Was it fun?

Daughter: (heavy sigh) Not really. Shakespeare’s so babyish!

Me: (thinking – gosh! She’s even brighter than I thought. She’s a genius!) Babyish? Why’s that?

Daughter: Well, you know that speech they taught us, the witches’ one?

Me: What, ‘Double, double, toil and trouble’?

Daughter: Yes, that one. It’s stupid. Everyone knows there’s no such place as Toyland.

So there you are. Shakespeare’s babyish. You have it from the lips of a genius. My daughter, the literary critic.

Spot the difference

Here’s another reason why the internet is pants. And why setting homework for children who have gained most of their culture from watching Spongebob Squarepants can throw up unexpected results.
I know it’s not really the internet’s fault this time. Believe me, I’d blame it if I could. But when a 10-year-old is asked to do a project on Shakespeare, and when one of the topics suggested by the teacher is Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and when one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries happens to be called Ben Jonson … well, which picture would you put in your project?
Just one more thought … remarkable really that Ben Johnson has managed to combine such a successful career as a sprinter with writing boffo smashes like Volpone and the Alchemist – although he’s been pretty quiet lately – and he’s looking frankly hot considering he’s 435. If this is down to steroids, sign me up now!