Sunday 31st July

The Teenager has a new hobby.

Dog forums.

I am unsure whether or not I should be concerned about this new development and, despite frantic Google searches, can find nothing whatsoever at all about ‘dog forum-ania’ following a brief stint at crime and disorder in the developmental stages of a teenager.

He has uploaded some ‘pics’ of Hector and has a profile that boasts a portfolio of doggy images with names like ‘Hector eating dinner’, ‘Hector playing with an old coke bottle’ and ‘Hector takes a nap’.

His new, silver surfing, chums seem delighted with this arrangement and are equally forthcoming with images and anecdotes about their four-legged-friends.

I am being treated, on an hourly basis, to updates on Alf and his Yorkshire Terrier. Betty-Blue and her Labradoodle (I’m fairly sure that back in the day, we used to call cross-breeds like that ‘mongrels’, but time marches on and now, apparently they’re a ‘breed’) and Dog-Lover24 and his gaggle of Golden Retrievers.

I could be wrong, but I fear that we may well be into serious ‘Hail Mary’ territory here.

When he was ‘trying on’ the ASBO personality, I had a rough idea how society expected me to respond. Even the American Pie incident of a few weeks ago came with a relatively predicable set of reaction guidelines but this, well this is completely off-road.

When being given a bollocking by a adolescent with ketchup on his chin about why I shouldn’t  ‘ak-chu-alli-dontcha-know’ be scraping left-over Chinese into the dog’s bowl, I honestly and truly have no idea how I should be arranging my face.

I went with ‘Oh shut-up you tart’ in the first instance but as he’s surprisingly feisty, he managed to wrestle the plastic container of Chicken-Chow-Mein out of my hands which he then danced around the kitchen holding out of my reach.

I was midway through plotting a rebellious, middle-of-the-night serving of rescued-from-the-bin-doggy-take-away-fest when It dawned on me that maybe he’s right.

Hmmmm, the student becomes the master.

Or put another way, the lunatics are now running the asylum.

I wonder what he’s going to say when he gets home from seeing his mates and discovers that Annabelle has spent the morning colouring the dog in so that his spots all join up in a purply-reddy-yellow-ish mosaic of splendour.

Wherever did she get an idea like that?

I’m shocked and appalled but at least my face now knows what to do with itself.

 <insert raspberry-blowing-sound here>.

Saturday 30th July

I’ve been getting a bit of ‘heat’ from Friend-Matt.

Friend-Matt lives in Manila where he works for a company that do something or other that requires the ex-pat presence of a significant number of Brits.

I’m not entirely sure what he is up to over there apart from playing snooker, drinking beer and moaning at me, but over there he is.

He tells me that I am developing quite a following amongst his ex-pat community and that I should stop being such a slacker, start writing more consistently and keep in mind, not to sound too ‘mafia-tastic’ about it, that people who are living in self-imposed exile from their homeland, enjoy reading about ‘back home’.

Mea Culpa.

In my defence, it is the summer holidays.

My kids are not at school.

They’re at home.

With me.

They show no inclination, whatsoever, to take Timmy-The-Dog, pack up some anchovies, ginger beer and a tent and fuck clear off to Famous-Five-Island, where they can spend the summer sleeping on beds made of heather and befriending kindly gypos.

Not once have they asked if we own a compass and on the one occasion, since the summer term ended, that I was actually sober long enough to find the only remaining pen that Annabelle hasn’t already lost, I even tried to draw a treasure map that detailed the hiding place of a bumper pack of Haribo that was secreted, by pirates hundreds of years ago on the Cornish Coast; they just asked me if I’d ‘be a doll’ and pop out and get it for them.

Now you’d think that I’d enjoy the idea of spending six weeks complaining about my offspring but, since every other female writer in England is busily doing the same, I’m going to take a firm ‘what-she-said’ stance and move swiftly on.

Anyway, this gin-drip isn’t going to re-fill itself, so I’ll be off now.

Tomorrow’s diary entry: Mothers who turn their bedside table into a mini-bar.

Thoughts please.

Monday 18th July

A normal day in the Single-Mum household generally begins with my wrestling the remote control out of Annabelle’s hands so that I can switch over to BBC1 Breakfast and ‘see what’s going on in the world’.

Today was no exception.

This morning’s ‘episode’ of UK PLC drama was presented by Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid.

Charlie and Susanna are simply ‘Eff-Ay-Bee’.

Charlie Stayt never seems to take anything particularly seriously (high five!) and, best of all, frequently asks the guests that he is interviewing totally random questions that are usually followed by a stunned silence.

The stunned silence is often filled by either stuttering, on the part of the greatly-ness and goodly-ness that are being interviewed, or by a timely rescue (slash translation of original question) by Susanna Reid.

Susanna, on the other hand, frequently ‘forgets’ what’s coming next whereupon she dissolves into peels of giggles and waves her hands around whilst burying her head in her lap.

Until someone in the control room manages to get the pair back under control, they usually while away the unscheduled hiatus by indulging in little ‘improvs’ that do nothing at all to return the format to anything remotely ‘Gloomy-Doomy-News at Ten-ish’.

On the days that Susanna and Charlie are writing out ‘Must-learn-not-disrupt-the-entire-country-by-not-taking-the-news-seriously,’ one hundred times, Sian Williams and Bill Turnbull do the presenting.

Sian and Bill are the grown-ups.

Like most grown-up men, Bill is a lover of puns and general ‘joshliness’.

Sian, like most grown-up ‘lay-dees’ is the Queen of both simulating amusement and pretending that she ‘gets-it’. She is also the undisputed champion of managing those awkward ‘anyway……..’ moments.

Sian runs a tight-ship when it comes to keeping her particular little handful, in the form of her partner, under control but still, as a pair, they manage to keep it light, keep it accessible and keep it entertaining (in a thoroughly grown up and dignified way, that is).

As a direct result of watching the BBC Breakfast Business segment, my crush on Justin King, Managing Director of Sainsbury’s was born.

I also became aware that Michael O’Leary, despite being a poster child for greed and shameless profiteering, is also a bit of a naughty schoolboy who is quite aware that he’s taking the financial mickey (t’be sure, t’be sure) but, since he’s getting away with it, will exploit his role as a pantomime bad guy and allow the audience to shout ‘Behind you, behind you’ at Simon Jack who is in sole charge of the ‘trying-to-pin-slippery-Irish-businessmen-down-long-enough-to-get-a-straight-answer’ part of the proceedings.

I also learned this morning, courtesy of ‘So-What’s-Next-Susanna’ and ‘Cheeky-Charlie’, that Rebekah Brooks’ hair has finally been apprehended and taken in for questioning.

A police station sounds about the right place for it since, in my experience, where the scary-hair goes, the woman is bound to follow.

Bonus!