I spend a substantial amount of my time telling my children what to do or not do, in a desperate bid to enable them to grow into polite, non-violent, kind human beings.
Generally this includes not beating each other senseless, keeping their voices down, stopping the endless inane bickering and swearing silently at them inside my head whilst gritting my teeth and maintaining an external calm.
This week, I arranged for us to meet my mother after work and we headed to Waterstones.
We sat in the café and I issued the usual military warnings to the children about noise, violence and pestering. As per usual, I was ignored.
However, for the first time, instead of exhausting myself with a litany of endless behaviour strategies, I simply took advantage of the fact that it was near empty and sat them at another table along with their drinks and my phone to amuse themselves.
Within 10 minutes, a woman appeared over my shoulder saying that she hoped she wasn’t being rude but that she could hear my children (and phone) where she was sitting with her own (older and, of course, behaving) offspring. Oh dear.
I called mine over, explained, and their shame at their mother being reprimanded by another caused them to shut up instantly.
Joy under any other circumstances!
But, sadly, this was the first day I had returned to work after a fortnight of full-blown flu and I had no energy to deal with the offspring effectively.
It was a strange situation because, on one hand, I felt like requesting that the woman come home with me and discipline them forthwith.
But, on the other, I couldn’t help but notice that in the then-silent café, the only thing you could hear was her very loud voice discussing the food and drinks with her own children.
Apparently, certain kinds of noise are acceptable (adult), and others (children), are not.
All well and good in a library, a restaurant, any adult environment, but less necessary, I feel, in a café that would – if it were not 5pm – be filled with hustle and bustle anyway.
IT ALWAYS ASTOUNDS ME HOW THE WEATHER TURNS SO FAST
I read recently that we would be due a spectacular autumn – something rather scientific linked to the sun/rain ratio of the year.
How right the wise leaf-peeping predictors were.
The trees are ablaze with riotous flames of colour over Portsdown Hill and it seems that the year is racing towards its end, given that we are approaching winter.
Hard to believe, but autumn 2016 has nearly passed us by already.
It never fails to astound me each year how the weather can turn so quickly.
In the warm glow of summer, it seems impossible that we should ever need to light our fires or retreat indoors.
Yet here we are, barely 10 weeks on, dark encroaching at 4pm and extra blankets on the beds
WHY WOULD YOU QUEUE UP TO GET INTO POUNDWORLD PLUS?
I drove past Poundworld Plus in North End, Portsmouth on the day it opened and wondered why on earth there was a huge queue outside.
Upon discovering that it was the opening day, I was still left perplexed as to why people were queuing outside.
I understand queuing to meet celebrities of whom you are in awe, or perhaps waiting outside Harrods if some extortionate item that you’ve had an eye on has been reduced to £5 in the January sales.
However, Poundworld Plus (advertising goods for £2 and £4 outside and nothing for £1), has less appeal.
Perhaps it was because the mayor was opening it.
But unless he’s been replaced by Bradley Cooper, I’m afraid that I’m still at a loss.