Thursday, July 05, 2007

Trouble at t'mill

This week is proving to be more boy-centred than usual. They broke up from school on Tuesday for the long summer holidays.

To celebrate, my youngest who had broken his glasses on Monday, broke his second best pair on Tuesday, just before his visit to the optometrist (eye physio). Luckily for him, the optician had a spare pair and was able to fit his existing lenses all under guarantee. Such are the advantages of an expensive social security system!

He continued with deep despair at the centre aéré (summer childcare) because he had no friends and his brother was refusing to let him become a pot de colle. I had the day off, so took him home after the optometrist visit which he was very pleased about. We did some cycling, tried and failed to fly his (crappy Happy Meal-type free gifty from Jacksonburger) kite on one of the windiest days of the year, and got out his new paints. He had a lovely afternoon, he said when he went to bed.

My eldest, meanwhile, was doing a scuba-diving course. This afternoon, I get a call at work asking me to come and collect him as his ears hurt. I told him to go home and I'd be there later. He rang me, miserable, saying his ears hurt A LOT, so I gave up and went to take him to the doctor. He's now on cortisone and anti-biotics for an otite - his first ever. Thank goodness we are not taking the plane next week.

It's pointless trying to be too well-organised with children. They will always manage to thwart your best laid plans either with illness or an accident, or some other 'event'. One should systematically expect the unexpected and believe one impossible thing every day. It's good practice for life in general.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say...


  1. By way of illustrating that Google and wikipedia between them can find anything, I can report that the original quote "Tha's trouble oop at t'mill" comes from Elizabeth Gaskell's 1854 novel North and South, a kind of exposé of the misery of life in the industrial north, originally serialised in the magazine Household Words. Bet you didn't know that, I sure didn't although I've used it as a cliché of social drama many times myself.

  2. Funny. I'd always imagined "at t'mill " was an acquired speech disorder, one that starts just north of Potters Bar, and gets progressively worse as you head up the A1/M1/M6.

    PS: only 1 Scot (so far) was injured in the making of this comment.

  3. Mrs. Gaskell was born in Chelsea so it certainly didn't come naturally to her...

  4. Ah, but you don't know, expat, from whence said literary lady came in her 19th century first-generation Chelsea tractor.

    Maybe she had the de luxe version whose coal bunker allowed her to commute between Chelsea and north of Potters Bar.

    Maybe she acquired, or more likely affected, an out-of-London vernacular to signal she was a true daughter of the soil.

    In that sense she was a prototype for Tony Blair, estuary-English glottal stops an' all.

    There, you've got me doing it now.


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