Perpetually Late Parent

09.35am (at the table in the front room)

The back door is open and the birds are singing their hearts out on this glorious sunny autumn day. My index finger is covered in a plaster which is irritating me as I type. The cars swish past on the main road.

Returning from school I carry the two scooters and I see two herons gliding heavily above the canal. The pigeons on the roosting above the railway bridge are silhouetted by the sun. The bulldozers are demolishing the local nursery to make a flood defence. Its my friends nursery, its sad to see the calamity.

frenchbreakfast autumnleavesdew08:10:15

I am a perpetually late parent. Naoise won’t go to sleep early so Naoise won’t wake early for school. Last night was a good in-ings as both boys dropped off to sleep which meant that me and P actually got to do a little work together and watch some mindless television.

I made Naoise a french breakfast, hot chocolate and baguette. The house is in chaos. The chaos ensues the more “outside” the domestic my work becomes. Plates and bowls are left for me to clear up. The family have got used to the luxury of dumping domesticity on my shoulders and shirking their responsibilities as they know that I am at home so just expect magic mum cleaner to wave her wand.

Syd was a very grumpy teenager this morning and I slipped into a ridiculous argument about sandwich contents with him. He moans on about having sandwiches but it is the only way for our family, school lunches are very expensive on a daily basis. I allow him one blast out on a friday when I gve him money for school brunch and dinner.

I am distracted by a red postoffice card, I will have to nip down and collect the mysterious package, probably a free poster from the open university but it might be more exciting than that.

Its national poetry day. Radio 4 have chosen a dubious theme about britishness. I was relieved however that the first poem by Carol Anne Duffy was not at all patriotic as the theme supposes. What is all this trending of britishness, it makes me want to cringe. We are a little island floating in the sea and there is a big world out there beyond our coast lines. All this inward talk.

I scootered alongside Naoise it is by far the quickest and most efficient way to get to school. We did almost collide, that is always a danger, but we both travel with smiles on our faces and people grin at our spectacle.

I was late. I had to escort Naoise to the classroom. I had to tell the teaching assistant that Naoise was being collected by my dear friend. I felt bad that I was disrupting the beginning of the day. However hard I try we are always late.

Late means finding the gate padlocked and then having to interrupt the care taker from his sneaky cigarette in the car park. Late means constantly feeling like you are running behind the main crowd. Late means that I was’nt able to take the images of the leaves on the tarmac of the playgound. The leaves obscuring the patterns and marks of defined play. I am sure that these marks are mostly ignored and the partial obscuring won’t worry anyone.

The bruise on Naoise thigh from falling on the tarmac playing football has been changing hue each day. Must record. Must remember a shot of his bruised skin together with the leaves obscuring the patterns on the tarmac.

Mum rings to tell me stories about mice in her house in Scotland and having to remove a dead sheep from a road. Time ticking by. Washing up to do. Space to clear. Stop.


Linder Sterling: ‘I have a library of every perversion on the planet”, The Guardian, Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Wednesday 7th October



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