Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mind the Gap

The other evening in the pub, about ten of us were sitting round, the majority of us parents of children in their late teens or early twenties.  Comfortably over our beer or J2O (driving) or white wine (just letting the side down, really), we agreed that there was less difference between ourselves and our children’s generation than there had been between us and our parents’ generation.

We reached a consensus on that.

But then, our children weren’t there. 

From a material culture point of view, the thesis stands:  Perran clacks through my CD collection more often than I do, and Carenza now rocks the few surviving frocks in which I once painted the town red.  Likewise, Pascoe has been sighted at parties wearing my kaftan which a friend brought me back from Syria in better days.

On the other hand, the current range of relationships now on offer bemuses me.  If somebody had been my “Friend with Benefits”, it would probably have meant a purely platonic relationship in which he allowed me access to his toaster, possibly his electric food mixer. 
When my children raise LGBT issues, I have to get past my confusion with BLT – a kind of sandwich, and certainly not the appropriate mental image.  Hopefully, they think the long silence is because I’m considering their point deeply.

So if you’re reading this, and you know of a point where communication between the generations is difficult, please do email me and let me know.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Feet under the table

When I started this blog, the twins were polishing their applications to apply for university.  Only two years on, I have just popped in on Perran who is now happily ensconced in Bristol at the top of a Georgian house full of students.  From his palatial room, he surveys the university he has come to love.  
He had not told us that he’d had the bravery to join the 150 dancers auditioning for a few places in the much-hyped Fuze fashion and dance event.  
But he did tell us once he’d been selected.
Meanwhile, Carenza had casually mentioned that she also had a fish to fry.  After harsh parental interrogation, she divulged that she had launched a bid to become president of the JCR at St Hugh’s College.  
Even to stand demanded grit.  She has published a focused manifesto and spoken at hustings in a packed and beery bar.  She also had to eat a punishing number of burritos (apparently). 
On the night when the votes came in, I was visiting my parents in Cornwall, Nigel was with his in Northumberland.  Perran was waiting in Bristol and Pascoe had joined Nigel in Northumberland.  Over the course of the evening, we each, in our separate locations, kept taking out our mobiles and frowning at them thoughtfully.  Finally, at around 9pm, Carenza sent us her news.  
She was president.  
It was only a text, but we could definitely hear the chink of champagne glasses in the background.
Two years on, the twins could be said to have their feet under the table.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


I used to have a face-painting kit and regularly appeared at school and church fetes to depict spider man, a tiger, or butterflies on chubby cheeks.    Conversation-wise it was as challenging as being a hairdresser,
“So, have you had a go on the tombola…?  I see.  No I wouldn’t want old bubble-bath either.  But you’ve had some sweets from the sweet stall then?  Lots of sweets.  Lots of sugary sweets.  Please do try to sit still for just a bit longer.” 
I’d have been very happy to continue face-painting – I thought I did it well.  But once my children reached eleven and left primary school, nobody asked me again.
The thing I had not realised about this art-form is that it is genetically determined. 

Yet just last weekend, I received solid proof that both of the twins have inherited a talent for face-painting.