It's exams at school this week, which means that Rose comes home and consults her beautifully-coloured revision timetable, inhales supper, watches exactly one episode of America's Next Top Brain Surgeon and settles down for the evening with books and charts all over the kitchen table. She appears with metronomic regularity when the cooker clock goes off, to give me scary bits of paper decorated with hieroglyphical formulae on which to test her. I frequently mispronounce things or hold it upside down. This makes her impatient and snappy.
Freddie trails in wearing the face of Dame Maggie Smith, throws off an experimental sneeze and cough or two and picks sadly at his supper, shoulders defeated. I attempt amusing and memorable ways to remember the principles of refraction and Henry VIII's reasons for trashing the monasteries but no amount of winsome mnemonics or 5-minute bursts of Match of the Day will lift his morbid shroud of gloom.
Edward, sensibly, has buggered off to London for a few days work, his own tragic pall exacerbated by the dog being violently sick all over her basket at 4am the day he left; necessitating a trip down three flights of dark, chilly stairs to let her out into the freezing night, a shivering wait in the cellar while she retched theatrically, followed by a hijus clean-up operation.
I made a lemon and poppy seed cake for Edward's return. I think, on reflection, there's very little more romantic than letting your wife sleep through the explosive effects of a rotting badger on the digestion system of a Weimeraner. Except, perhaps, clearing up every last trace, in the frosty black morning, in your pyjamas and t-shirt. Because you have wrapped the dog in your dressing gown, tucked her in beside your unconscious wife and left them to sleep a few hours more before waking the slatternly pair with strong coffee and and porridge.
That's how much Edward hates revision.