Sunday, 8 February 2009


So Husband is travelling - again - and the Boys and I are navigating our way through Sunday without a playdate in sight. Our only spiritual sustenance is coming from the Sunday Times (me), a novel called 'The 19th Wife' (cheerful reading for, again, me), 'Horrid Henry' on cd (the Boys - this may be the last time as I much as I like Miranda Richardson, if I hear her scream 'Heeeeenryyyy! You horrid boy!' one more time, I may never be able to watch her in Blackadder again, which would be a shame), and promises for them of 'Mary Poppins' on dvd as soon as it gets remotely dark enough for me to justify it as being 'evening'. (Say it with me: Bad Mother).

Oh yes, and a skype call with my parents later on. Which is going to be interesting because, following his recent operation, my father currently has one of his glass lenses misted over, which should intrigue the boys no end, and will no doubt lead to lots of difficult questions...

It's amazing that I've managed to pull myself together to type this post actually; I made the mistake of reading a piece on the front page of the Sunday Times review section, that despite the current cold snap, forecasts global warming on a vast scale within the next few decades. The author tells us that there is really no point in getting all eco-warrior about it all either; frankly, it's too late. Renewable energy? A waste of time. Our salvation lies in nuclear facilities, apparantly. Bio-fuels? Don't bother. We should be using all our available land to grow food for when Britain - sorry, 'Lifeboat UK' - becomes one of the few habitable islands left on earth. Brotherly love? Forget it. We are going to be forced to defend ourselves against the hordes of global warming migrants who will head for our shores when currently temperate mainland Europe becomes a hellishly hot wasteland.

Not a very cheerful picture of the future, is it?

Luckily I was wrenched away from the Property section where I was searching for hillside properties (away from the impending flood-waters) with their own land (a spot of small-holding never did anyone ever harm) by my sons, who were demanding fresh air with menaces. We headed out to Holland Park for some weak sunshine, train driving in the sandpit, and some 'Lord of the Flies' style play from 5 year old boys.

Then we came home and had the following conversation over lunch;

Boy #1: "Mummy. What's ham made from?"

Me: "Pigs." (Well, if they're going to be living off the land in 30 years time it's important they know this sort of thing, surely?)

Boy #1: "And cheese?"

Me: "Cheese comes from cows. Or sheep, or goats." (Please don't ask me what the process is...)

Boy #1: "Goats?" (His only experience of them to date is that they eat turnips and knock over trolls). "What else comes from goats?"

Me: "Milk. And meat."

Boy #1: "Meat? No! You're not right, Mummy! WE don't eat goat meat!"

Me: "I know we don't, Boy #1, but some people do." (And when we're on our small-holding wearing hand-knitted shoes, the trolls will be lucky to get a look-in...)

Boy #1: "And what about this, Mummy? What is THIS made of?"

He's holding up the ultimate test; a slice of salami.

I can't do it. No matter what my principles on keeping my children in touch with where their food comes from, I can't risk his refusing to eat it ever again by 'fessing up that salami is essentially fat and pig's blood. It's a step too far.

Me: "I don't know, darling. Tell you what, when he gets back from Russia, you can ask Papa... I'm sure he knows."

I'm not sure I'm going to make it in the post-apocalyptic world... Pass me the car keys; sod the eco-friendly walk, I'm driving to the supermarket to stockpile chocolate before it runs out. Or melts.


  1. You are not alone.....I have a "when it's dark" DVD too - in Mac's case its Lion King. "Circle of Life" propels me either chocolate or wine-wards so we're both happy xx

  2. PM, at least you wait until it's (almost) dark before the DVD goes on, that's pretty good. I have to confess that, when a single mum, I occasionally sent the LP to bed a good couple of hours early (ah, happy days, when he couldn't tell the time), so that I could lie on the sofa and recover from the day.

  3. You managed to actually READ the newspaper? How? Tell me tell me.. I can't remember the last time I could without a small child appearing either underneath or over the top of it.

    Lovely to meet you yesterday.

    BM x

  4. I don't know how I'll hold up when I'll have to slaughter my own animals in the foreseeable future on my own piece of well cultivated land. I imagine I can kill and dress a chicken, but a pig? I suppose if I am desperate and hungry enough, maybe. I think I'll follow your lead and stockpile on the chocolate and hagelslag, if there is any bread left to eat.

  5. Good lord! The man is certainly not an optimist is he!

    Having read the entire article - I am happy that I live in northern Canada near the mountains. Possibly I can turn my entire yard into a garden with a small part fenced off for the animals I'm going to have to slaughter to eat unless I become a vegan.

    Sometimes I think I am fortunate that I am older. As the writer of that article is obviously in his late 70's - he'll probably not live long enough to see this change he predicts.

    It is the children one has to really worry about isn't it? (sorry PM) What kind of adult life are they going to have?

    Perhaps a course in knitting and spinning should be considered. You could raise the sheep and goats and rabbits - then spin the fibre and knit warm clothing. The animals when old become people fuel I suppose.

    Ahh! What a way to start my Sunday. Thank you!

  6. I, too, am impressed that you wait that long before putting on the DVDs.

    We are also father-less this weekend and I have spent the whole day out of the house entertaining the boys including a long walk in Greenwich Park. I am now thoroughly exhausted and in dire need of wine. They, on the other hand, are still charging around....

  7. NH Mum, we have that as one of our cd's. they have seen it on dvd but I don't think they realise it's in the house - thank heavens!

    FK, I knew that - and yes, it makes me feel better!

    BM, great to meet you too,and as for the newspaper reading I must confess to doing that in the kitchen whilst the boys were in the sitting room listening to Horrid Henry. And I only got to read the one section...

    Irene, with you on the hagelslag, but i agree, chocolate is much easier to eat if no bread is available!

    Sorry Aims! But you're right, it's today's children who will feel the brunt of this. Wasn't kidding when I said a hillside cottage with land might be a good thing to have...

    NVG, we should have done the long walk. Our Holland Park trip clearly wasn't long enough - have just had a hellish bath time, I should have tired them out more...

  8. Oh yes, I've had the 'where does it come from' conversation too.
    What meat is this?
    What, from a farm?
    Then we got into eyeballs and things and it didn't go down well!

  9. Ha - I've just been out with the Queenager looking for non-suede Moccasins! Not successful, but she stuck to her principles despite finding a fab pair at about 80% off.
    And I hate to tell you but global warming means that much of Europe is going to have far colder climates. Let's see if I can get this right, but when the polar ice caps melt, they will fill the seas and oceans with fresh water (as opposed to salt), which freezes at a higher temp. The winds coming off these frosty waters will blow right over Europeans. Or something like that, but it doesn't mean tropical climes necessarily.

  10. You wait that long! Bloimey you are good, mine sometimes were on by 10 in the morning just to give me an hour to myself!

  11. Very impressed with waiting until it's dark before sticking a DVD in!

    I try very hard not to go into details about R's food, yet, but she has started asking. I'm afraid that I'll push her too far to my veggie side of things without her having a proper chance to make her own decision.

  12. When the rising floodwaters force you to leave London, how about a large treadmill (of the hamster cage variety) that the boys can run on while watching DVDs? This could solve 2 problems for the future in the self-sufficient hilltop home, by both wearing the boys out and providing free power. You can read the Times (assuming it's still available) and maybe even indulge in coffee and cake in peace.

  13. Tara, it;s a tricky one, isn't it?

    EPM, that's what I had understood too, but if you click on the link in the post, this article tells a different story. Oh well - I think we're screwed either way...

    Tawny, whatever works, I say!

    Tasha, you're being much more restrained than a lot of veggies I know!

    Sharon, don't think I'll buy that treadmill just yet...

  14. Maybe, when daddy gets back from Russia, you can introduce the boys to haggis. That would create some more interesting questions....

  15. I missed that one, must go find it. Depressed already today, may as well read it and put salt in it.

    There is a bright spot, you just gave me an idea to write a post about little white lies ... we ALL succomb, but where do YOU draw the line?

  16. Mud, haggis... hmmm... Perhaps not...

    Good question Modern. When dealing with the Boys, I must admit I tend to draw the line only when I think I will get caught out! Obviously, in real life, I am honest to a fault!

  17. I have found that telling Four exactly what's in her food doesn't deter her in the slightest if she already likes it.
    On the matter of the environmental scary piece, I'm not sure that I would believe that entirely. It sounds like a piece designed to scare you first, then fill you with a sense of pointless doom so that you continue to buy whatever the advertisers want to sell you (including what's on the property pages). There is a point in guarding for the future of the children. It probably will take more uncomfortable action than many of us would like, but it's definitely worth taking. I say this with some confidence as my husband is a prof of environmental studies and works on climate change with a large international body ( I don't mean me when I say that).


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