Thursday 31st May. How can this be true?

My day started fairly normally.

I brushed my teeth, I had a shower and then I had a cup of coffee.

I coloured in my face with the hideously expensive Yves Saint Laurent make-up that The Teenager bought me for Christmas, that I have to keep stashed behind the toilet to prevent Annabelle from turning into ‘Fairy-Attracting-Potion.’

I made Annabelle’s lunch.

Well, when I say I ‘made’ her lunch, what I actually did was stuff a Penguin bar, a tangerine and a packet of (as she calls them) Red-and-Salted crisps into her school bag, along with two pounds fifty so she could buy a sandwich as she walked past the village shop.

I was running a bit late.

What can I say?

Anyway, my point is; life was proceeding fairly normally. Then I switched on the news.

At that point I discovered that the parents of the six kids that died in the house fire at the beginning of May, the one that totally gutted the building and was already generally accepted to have been started with petrol, have been charged with their murder.

I hear on the grapevine that, as a couple, they hatched the plan with the sole intention of acquiring a more spacious council dwelling.

Whether or not this rumour is correct, I can’t say as the only time the couple have appeared in public was when they were hauled into court this morning, since the only speaking they did was to confirm their names and addresses, we cannot as a nation, take that information as an admission of guilt.

Occasionally in my life I’ve burnt my finger on a match or gas flame or something, I also remember getting pretty badly sunburned when I was sixteen and in my frame of reference, I equate burning with varying degrees of quite nasty pain.

These poor bloody children were burnt alive.

We’re not talking about a singed finger here, we’re talking about the most unimaginable pain known to  man, never mind how it must have felt to some innocent little babies who were sleeping peacefully, safe in the knowledge that their loving parents, their PJ’s and a cuddly toy were all they needed to get them safely through the night.

I want to cry.

I want this not to have happened at all, but what I really want is not to have to live in a world where it can even be suggested that a parent, any parent, would or could deliberately set their children on fire.

I can only hope that the unfolding story reveals that these sobbing, emotional parents are innocent of this crime.

For all our sakes.

Wednesday 30th May. We’re attempting a do-over……


Getting a teenager and a college GCSE course in the same room together is a lot trickier than I had previously anticipated.

I appear to have been mistakenly labouring under the impression that you simply located the college, put your name down and the following Monday turned up ready to get your head down and your learning, on.

Wrongly, as it turns out, I believed that GCSEs came in a relatively standard array of subjects such as Maths, English and Physics and that if you joined the group late, well you just had to work harder.

Nah-Uh, a simple frigging O’Level is totally out of the question.

Not only did I discover today that the closing date for applications to our local college was back in January (so that would be a ‘no’ then?), but that, even if The Teenager and I had managed to get our act together and show up on time for once, the variety of course options that he would have had to compare and contrast would have sent him into one of those coma like trances that he slips into every time I give him the choice between baked or mashed potatoes.

There are NVQs, apprenticeships, fast-track courses, slow-track courses, options A through D that combine with levels one through six in a mix ‘n’ match blended type dealy, not to mention the GCSEs that have names like ‘Human Physiology’ (is that like Biology and that?)

Clearly the people who design these courses have a rather hazy and idealistic vision of what, precisely it is, that your run-of-the-mill teenage boy is capable of doing with, and more importantly in; his head.

The reason, I tearfully attempted to explain to the (as ever) terrifying voice on the end of the phone, that we are even having this conversation, is that my particular little handful misread his timetable in his last year of upper school and somehow became convinced that he was on the ‘Distract-The-Teacher-By-Telling-Yo-Mumma-Jokes-Course.’

Unfortunately, but quite understandably, when he came to sit his exams there was a distinct lack of ‘She-So-Fat-She-On-Both-Sides-Of-The-Family’ answers required and so, shockingly enough, he failed.

All of them.

Hoping this information would give the admin bird some idea what we were up against here, I tried to persuade her to just agree to take him off my hands to do, well, anything really, but she stubbornly refused to fudge the rules and so, since she was clearly unresponsive to either bribery or blackmail (I wouldn’t really have hidden in the back-seat of her car until she’d driven out of the car-park tonight, whereupon my reflection would have loomed out of the darkness and into her rear-view mirror) I agreed to write a pleading letter to the head of year, and she agreed to send me a prospectus.

Apparently it’s too big and complicated to come by Royal Mail, so it’ll be arriving in it’s own Parcelforce van.

So here I am, smack in the middle of a big puddle of poo.

And as usual, I’m wearing flip-flops.

Sunday 13th May. Circle The Date……..

Pimmsely is, according to the rather slick little itinerary that arrived through the door yesterday, organising a ‘Gala Weekend of Events’ to celebrate the length of time that that really old woman has cunningly evaded capture in her round-and-round the castle game of ‘Get-Stuffed-I’m-Not-Giving-It-To-Charles-Crown-Hide-And-Seek.’

Royal aides have been pursuing her for many years now but, alas, just when they think they’ve finally pinned down her location she disappears through a door cunningly disguised as a bookcase, that leads to a tunnel, the other end of which has a Range Rover parked in it.

As she disappears off to another royal residence, waving and giving one fingered gestures through the rear window, all Charlie and his panting staff are left with is a vague hint of octogenarian laughter floating in the air, along with a whiff of terrified Corgi fart.

Anyway, back in Pimmsley, they’re planning to celebrate her many years on the run and, in a style befitting the rather fugitive undertones of the occasion, are apparently, planning on bringing out the big guns.

Let me run you through the programme of events.

Friday 1st June, 7.30pm: A Pimmsley Command Performance (A variety show celebrating Pimmsley talent)

1. “Hiding the Cabbages” – A talk by members of the Pimmsley Boy Scouts on pulling off the perfect allotment slash shed burglary.
2. “Aiming Whilst Moving” – An informative discussion on the ideal speed for executing a successful High-Street-drive-by-shooting.
3. “Car-Art Can be Fun” – Current trends in the lesser known genre of proper mashing up the paint-work on some poor sods car with the front door key your Mum gave you.
4. “Slow Response Times Are Our Friend” – A member of the Parish Council will randomly break the noses of several members of the audience whilst Brownies undertake a pick-pocketing experiment to demonstrate precisely how many successful crimes can cheerfully and successfully be undertaken in the time it takes the boys-in-blue to travel the ten miles from main Police Station to village.

Sunday 3rd June, 11.30am: Special Service of Thanksgiving.

Many of our young folk have been arrested this year (hence the need for the informative lectures already mentioned), thankfully they have all been returned to us.

Also, we are very thankful that our thriving woods-based network of drug dealers has yet to be infiltrated or compromised.

Monday 4th June, 2.00pm: Town Crier Leads procession of Floats Along High Street.

A merry procession of colourful floats celebrating ‘Village Villiany Through The Ages.’ Notorious black-market alcohol smugglers, record holding bar-brawl champions and members of the illustrious ‘Going-To-The-Nags-Head-In-The-Next-Village-Over-Getting-Totally-Buttered-And-Not-Once-Ending-Up-In-A-Ditch-On-The-Way-Home Club will be represented.

Monday 4th June, 4.00pm: Hunt The Snitch

Torch bearing locals and their slathering hounds will gather on the village green for this timeless old favourite which deals with any villager who has, throughout the preceding year, felt the need to visit the village Sub-Police Station.

Evidential CCTV footage is gathered from the cottage opposite on a daily basis to prevent a repeat of the 2004 hiccup where an innocent passer-by happened to dawdle suspiciously outside the building in a manner that suggested he was intending to attempt entry.

The truth of his activities did not come to light, sadly, until some hours after that years ‘Snitch-Hunt’ when his rather vexed wife pointed out that he’d merely been pinning a ‘Has Anyone Seen Tiddles’ leaflet to the village noticeboard.

In an effort to make amends, the Parish Council placed the parts of his corpse that the drunken locals were actually able to wrestle from their dogs mouths and kennels, into the revered village crypt which is usually reserved for the coffins of the Notorious Village Villains.

A plaque was also added to the Wall-Of-Fame in the village hall.

His widow and family were obviously suitably delighted since, in general, it is only plaques proudly bearing the names of inhabitants of Pimmsley that have actually made it on to BBC1’s Crimewatch that are displayed there.

Monday 4th June, 8pm: Hog Roast & Bar-B-Que

Tuesday 5th June: A fresh set of missing cat, dog and children posters appear on Village noticeboard.

Needless to say, the Teenager and his mates will be attending.