Which means I can spend quality time with my children, while my husband hares out the door at 7.30am pretending that he doesn’t know the clocks have gone back. Later he rings me from a child free cafe to tell me he’s eating beans on toast with bacon AND reading the paper at the same time. Bastard! “So how’s the diet?” I enquire. Mean yes, but I am irritably scrubbing out a porridge pot having tried and failed the two kittens to eat the rest of it. The Boy slithers out of his room like a grumpy vampire. He is developing posture like a question mark.
To celebrate the first day of half-term I am taking the children to the dentist. The sun is glittering, so walking along in the fresh air, one drooping teenager keeping up a low level grumble on one side and a small girl twittering away about bees stinging with their bums on the other, is less soul destroying than usual. Then we get to the dentist and I realise I’ve gotten the day wrong. The Boy forgives me when I offer to go to the video store while he attempts to claw back some money for Zombie Crusading Throat Slashers V. These games are insanely expensive but I try not to say anything as it will make me sound very old and sad.
The Boy gets some money back and immediately ‘invests’ it in Zombie War Hell Disemboweling or something similar. In the middle of this, I get a call from my supervisor at the Open University. I’m trying to get one of my students off the course without her losing any money as she’s going through a personal crisis. As we talk about this, The Girl starts shouting that The Boy has told her to “bog off”. The Boy vigorously disputes this while managing to wangle a tenner out of me at the same time.
The Girl and I wander home and have lunch. All is calm until I see the kittens prodding something in the garden. When they corner something, they work together, the furry equivalent of the veloceraptors in Jurassic Park. It’s a little mouse. It’s alive. I can’t bear it, shriek and hare out the door, grabbing the ginger kitten by the tail and with a swift shake he drops the tiny creature. (And yes I know the mouse will probably die of a coronary and yes I do know it’s in their nature. It’s just I can’t watch while the two of them stalk and swipe at their terrified prey). The other kitten now dives at the inert mouse but I’m too quick for her. I yank both of them out of the way and hustle them into the kitchen, pulling the bin in front of the cat flap. Both kittens sit under the table and glare at me like that devil dog in The Omen. I half expect to hear evil choral music.
It’s nearly 2pm and I haven’t done any work. What have I done? I’ve taken my children to the dentist (on the wrong day) bought socks and cheese, gave money for a horrible computer game, and saved a rodent. Marvellous.