Tag Archives: family life

Food Fight

“Finished,” said Tommy.

His Mum looked at his plate. “You haven’t eaten your greens,” she said.

“Don’t like them,” he said.

“They’re good for you,” said Mum.

“How?” said Tommy.

“They stop you getting scurvy,” said Mum.

“What’s scurvy?” said Tommy.

“It’s, er, it’s um,” said Mum, who hadn’t been expecting this question. “It’s something sailors used to catch,” she suddenly remembered.

“What happens when you get scurvy?”

“Um, one of your legs drops off and a parrot grows on your shoulder,” said Mum. Tommy gave her a withering look. “That was a joke,” said Mum.

Tommy did not look amused. “Do Eskimos get scurvy?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” said Mum.

“But they probably don’t eat any greens at all,” said Tommy. “It’s hard to grow broccoli on solid ice.”

“Yes, but they eat a lot of fish,” said Mum. “The fish oil has the same effect as greens.”

“I ate my fish fingers,” pointed out Tommy.

“Yes, but fish fingers bear the same relation to fish as Mars Bars do to Mars,” said Mum. “So eat your greens. They’ll put hairs on your chest.”

“Do you have hairs on your chest?” asked Tommy.

“Er, no,” admitted Mum. “It doesn’t work with women.”

“Do they give women bumps on their chest instead?” asked Tommy. Mum closed her eyes. “Yes,” she said, eventually.

“Then Megan Fox from Transporters -” began Tommy.

Megan Fox

Megan, chest-hair-less

“Is probably a vegetarian,” said Mum, hoping that this might help in some way. It didn’t.

“If you’re a man vegetarian,” said Tommy, “how come you don’t end up looking like a yeti?”

“It only works on your chest,” said Mum desperately. She was starting to get a headache. There was, however, more to come.

“Snots are green,” said Tommy, “but you give out when I eat mine.”

“Snot is not a vegetable,” said Mum firmly, “otherwise the world food shortage would have been solved by now. Now eat up.”

“But it’s sprouts,” said Tommy, and they taste like snot.”

“They don’t,” said Mum, though she secretly reckoned he was right. “They’ve a strong taste because they’re full of iron.”

“So if I eat a lot of them well I turn into Ironman?” asked Tommy, momentarily excited.

I could say yes, thought Mum, it would only be a white lie, and at least he’d eat his greens. She thought ahead, though, to the next time she wanted him to eat soup, and decided not to.

“No, sorry,” she said.

“Will I turn green, like the Hulk?”

“Don’t make me angry,” said Mum, fighting back the urge to say “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Tommy knew when he was beaten. Well, almost beaten.

“I don’t have to eat the carrots, though, do I?”


“They’re not green.”

“Ok,” sighed Mum. “You can leave the carrots.”

How Right She Is

My venture into a second type of creative activity (there may be others, I am considering ice-sculpting, performance art (sitting on an ironing board, endlessly intoning the word “profiterole”) and marine choreography (teaching synchronised swimming to fish)) reminds of an incident from the Tinfamily past.

Tingirl was about five and was busily drawing away one day (something better even at that age than anything her father does now, probably) when she discovered that she was missing one crayon that she needed. Viv says that I have a genius for sign-off lines (and thank you, kind lady), but I’m leaving today’s to Tingirl, since there’s no way I can beat it.

She sighed a deep, deep sigh and said “we artists have tough lifes”.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Tingirl goes through a lot of shoes.

And I mean that in the literal sense, she manages to create holes in the soles after a very short time. Perhaps she is a fakir, walking on hot coals. Perhaps she water-skis, without skis, behind a speed-boat. Perhaps she is secretly in Riverdance.

Young folk today, you just wouldn’t know what they’d be up to.

Anyway, she needed new shoes for school so yesterday she sent Mrs Tin to buy them. The advantage of this was that she didn’t have to go herself. The disadvantage of this was that her shoes were now being bought by her mother.

Now, there are certain rules pertaining to school shoes. They cannot have high-heels, or peep-toes. They must not have the Nike Swoosh anywhere on them. They are not allowed to be pink.

They must not be in any way attractive. The term “sensible shoes” was invented with school shoes in mind.

As a rule of thumb, if any one of the Sex and the City girls would wear them then they are not suitable.

So Mrs Tin bought these shoes:

She left them outside Tingirl’s door, waiting to see her reaction when she got home from school. She heard the front door open and heard Tingirl, after the briefest of pauses, head into her bedroom (it’s right beside the front door, we live in a bungalow). After a minute or so Tingirl’s door opened for a few seconds, then closed again.

Mrs Tin crept upstairs (yes, yes, bungalow, but there are three steps up from the sitting-room to the hallway and that part of the house is always referred to as “upstairs”). The shoes were still outside Tingirl’s door, but now looked like this:

They are going today to buy shoes together.

Classy Crap

So, the Eurovision Song Contest takes place tonight, without Ireland. The girls were really good, and did themselves proud, but it was not to be.

The Tinfamily will still watch it. It is one of those things that we all do together. There are those who say that its rubbish, that the songs are crap, that the voting is too parochial, that some of the acts are laughably over the top, and to those people the Tinfamily will simply say “er, we know”.

A show does not necessarily have to be classy to be enjoyable, and the Eurovision is the supreme example of a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That was the problem with us entering Dustin the Turkey last year, we tried to make a laugh of a show that already knows how to laugh at itself.

Tonight we will make an event of it. We will sit with popcorn and drinks, with a sheet of paper for taking notes. Each song will have a comment written after it, so that, during the voting, if Ukraine, say, get twelve points we can just look at the list and say “oh, yeah, the girl in the red outfit in the hamster cage” (I’m not making that up, incidentally).

And we will give each song marks out of ten. From years of doing this I have discerned that Tingirl has the kindest personality, as she seldom gives anyone less than three. Not surprisingly I have the worst, frequently giving songs zero, and very occasionally minus zero (I’m not let go any lower). Not only do I give songs zero, I often write it down before the song has even started, simply by the look of the singer (a big hello to Greece tonight, by the way).



So what of tonight? Norway are the favourites, and their song is just bad enough to justify that. The afore-mentioned Ukraine is energetic and fun, and I see them as dark horses. I was hoping to get them in the draw at work, but got Lithuania instead. They are first on, a guy in a trilby singing a song that starts sounding like Queen before recoiling from such a display of possible talent and drifting off into mediocrity. My favourite song is Estonia’s, which means it has no chance. I like Turkey because the girl is singing in her bra.

Turkey - God, I'm shallow

Turkey - God, I'm shallow

And there is a theory in the Tinfamily that Portugal enter the same song every year just to see if anyone will notice, and we have visions of a big party in Lisbon each year when they get away with it again.

Anyway, we will laugh, shout at the voting patterns, give out about the song that wins, and ten minutes after it ends we’ll have to struggle to remember who did win.

It’s perfect disposable Saturday night TV.


Do mothers and daughters really talk to each other about their digestive tracts?

danone-activiaIn the ads on the TV for stuff like Activia, a mum will walk into her daughter’s house and the daughter will ask how she is. Now, I had always believed that an Irish Mammy will reply to such a question with, “ah sure, can’t complain, don’t mind me, sure I’m grand”, but apparently not. “I’m feeling a bit bloated,” she’ll say.

Far from being startled by this intimate revelation the daughter will recommend some yogurt-based product. She will come out with words like L Casei Immunitass and Bifidus Digestivum, which makes her sound as if she’s been asked to list the Geldof children. Apparently though these are “friendly bacteria” (is that like “friendly fire”?) which will help with her mum’s “daily transit”, a phrase which doesn’t seem to involve which bus she gets to work.

The daughter doesn’t actually use the words “it’ll make you do a massive shit, Mum”, but she might as well.

Speaking as the father of two sons, and indeed as the son of a father, I can assure you that blokes never talk to each other like this.

When we ask each other how we are, the answer is always “Fine”.

After all, if men feel the need to impart information about the state of their insides, well, a simple belch really does speak volumes.