Brass Monkeys and Brass Necks

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

'F*cking genius kid, you actually cried. Brilliant. What a dozy old tart your mother is. Now get an arse on before the chippie closes.'

Yesterday, Freddie appeared at breakfast. Not in the warm mufti they are instructed to wear to school until the Polar Ice Cap unfreezes, but still in his pyjamas.

'I've got a sore throat,' he said in a tiny voice of sadness. 'Get dressed. Now.' I countered. He smelled metallic; in our house that is either tonsilitis or morning breath. He cried and felt a bit warm. I felt terrible and bundled him back under the duvet; he smiled bravely at me. I left the Colonel with great lists of instructions about temperatures, how to make chicken soup, the importance of staying warm, which books to read to him if he felt well enough.

About eleven, I called from the office. My cleaner answered. 'Don't worry, Love, 'e was 'avin breakfast watching Soccer AM when I got 'ere. 'Im an' the Colonel's been 'avin a right laugh all mornin'. I think they've gone sledging.'

I picked up Rose after school and we stopped for hot chocolate. 'Is Freddie OK?' she asked. 'Harry really missed him and the Headmaster said to get better soon.'

When we got home, Freddie was under a duvet on the sofa. There were four wet wellies melting ice on the doorstep, two large, two small. I called him into the kitchen where I was sitting at the table supervising Rose's homework. My foot was drumming ominously on the floor. Being nine, he is unable to look at a lady and read The Signs.

'How are you feeling now?' I asked. 'GREAT!' he shouted. 'Me and the Colonel went out for fresh air and I felt SO much better that we went to the chippie and spoke to all the people about who likes vinegar and I had chips and then we went sledging and then I did dog-sledding then I watched football and it's been SO MUCH FUN.'

In a quiet, scary voice I asked him to go and put his pyjamas on. He dropped his jeans enthusiastically to show me he was still wearing them. The Colonel joined us. Being 53, he is well able to read The Signs, he just still doesn't know what to do when he's read them.

'Isn't it GREAT he's feeling so much better?' he gushed. 'You'll never guess, we took a tray and the dog pulled Freddie along SO fast on the ice, AND the field has a REALLY icy bit now that we just FLEW down. Don't worry about supper, we had loads of chips just now.'

There was silence apart from the tapping of my foot and the plop of Rose's tear onto her maths prep.

The Colonel put Freddie to bed double-quick. Rose got to watch Wayne's World in my bed and have three of my secret stash of Godiva chocolates.

Two bots have gone to school today. The Colonel has fixed the bathroom radiator and made pesto for Rose. He has got Wallander lined up to watch on the i-Player and has texted that he'll run me a bath later on.

I should bloody well think so too.


  1. Chips were the final straw.

  2. As my 9 year old Kate says: "Boys are trouble!"

  3. They got EVERYTHING wrong... but who has not lived the exact situation to varying degrees? courage, ca ne dure pas ( the whole thing whizzes by so quickly and then we miss all of it, fake booboos, junk food and adorable children's truthfulness and all). Love, love, love your blog each and every time.

  4. LPC - you must have met Rose - bang on! All the rest she could have forgiven, but CHIPS...

    Stephanie - she's right. Also, we could conclude from this post that they are also quite stupid.

    JADH = absolument! It does go by so fast and thank you for reminding me, it's important not to forget. XX

  5. Let's chalk one up to father and son bonding...mischief yes and FUN, I'll bet that the Colonel was delighted to have a "partner in crime".

  6. Good Lord I am thousands of miles away and I was scared.The Colonel did a wonderful job of trying to put a positive spin on the whole affair. No doubt while quaking in his boots.And the drawn bath is a nice touch,well played sir!I do agree with Jeanne-Aelia( isn't that a wonderful name?) Someday this will be a funny "remember the time" story between you and the Colonel.

  7. ..."able to read the signs but doesn't know what to do when he's read them".... Isn't that just the way.
    My son never gets the chance to play the poorly card with Doctor Dougie able to spot a fake a mile off.
    Two posts in two days, Mrs E? You spoil us!

  8. I love and live this line:

    Being 53, he is well able to read The Signs, he just still doesn't know what to do when he's read them.

  9. Hostess - yes, 24 hours has given me a softer perspective...

    James - are you mad? He actually thought I would agree!! That wasn't a positive spin, he was serious. But yes, you were right to be afraid.

    Trish - poor lad. Do you call him Dougie Howser? I bet the positives outweighted everything when he was a baby though - I used to curse myself for not having the sense to marry a doctor as I was faffing with Calpol and rosary at midnight...

    Toad - I bet you do, bless your heart. Entre nous, a well-run bath (candles, music, very expensive new bubbles and a glass of wine, door firmly closed with everyone except the dog on the other side of it) can get you out of many a domestic pickle.

  10. You are a hard task master ELS - poor Colonel, doing his best 'an all' !

  11. Gail, in northern California14 January 2010 at 01:04

    Good grief, your Colonel has a death wish! You're a wise lady to set some limits because, as I told Mrs. a few short years, your boys will tower over you and think your wagging finger is amusing.

  12. Loved all of this, as ever, but think I loved the picture caption best of all – a thing of genius!

  13. Colonel here. As I recall, my instructions were quite clear - take him out for some fresh air, if he is feeling better (which he clearly was, since it was plainly apparent that he wasn't remotely ill in the first place). I then used my initiative to turn what would otherwise have been a moan-fest ("it's cold, I'm tired, why doesn't Rose have to do this? You're going too fast [infantry marching pace as always]etc") into what was rather good fun. I also decided that some school work was in order so I showed the lad how to conduct a street census. Readers may be interested to learn that 16 out of 20 people randomly surveyed DO like vinegar on their chips (to my relief as the lad insisted with an air of absolute authority that this would not be the case). I also learnt something - always have a small child with you when conducting a survey (everyone was willing to participate) [note to self: wonder if this works in a bank robbery scenario?]

  14. Well the colonel just did an excellent job of getting himself out of the doghouse, so to speak! Just the chuckle I needed today, nice to see that bots behave the exact same way on either side of the pond!


Please leave a comment if you can be remotely bothered - anything you have to say is valuable and I absolutely love hearing from you all. Elizabeth