The hazards of the double school pick up.

My wife left the iron on for 8 hours yesterday. Since then she has contracted a 24 hour virus and been confined to her bed, which means I’ve had to wait an agonising two days to tell her off.

“Why are you telling me off,” she bleated, “can’t you see that I’m ill?”

I lied when I said that I had waited two days. I couldn’t help it, it was like an itch that wouldn’t go away. I felt thoroughly guilty afterwards but that soon morphed into resentment when I was forced to soak up all her chores.

A day of feeding all the machines with dirty dishes and clothes culminated with a double pick up of kids from different schools. I picked the smallest one up first. She looked pleased to see me until I said February.

“Daddy, can I have an ice lolly?”

“No; it’s February.”


She let out an ear-piercing shriek just as I was bending over her to click in the seat belt. I struggled to find the housing, the screaming continued and the noise drilled into my temples. I now alive to the possibility that my wife left the iron on to kill us all.

We arrived at my son’s school. It’s his first year at big school and he has just got to an awkward stage biologically, which is signified by random bursts of embarrassing white boy rapping.

The car park is at the foot of sloping field with a dense wood to one side, and it is my job to wait in the car and until he appears on the horizon and trudges down the hill, dragging his bags in the mud.

Two tractor-sized Range Rovers park either side of me and fill the cabin of my Vauxhall Astra with an eery half light as they block out the sun. My inner rage is momentarily shifted away from my shrieking kid, who is strapped in the back seat and looks like a mental patient in a straight jacket shouting, ‘Ice lolly, Ice lolly’, to thinking about how selfish Range Rover owners are, which is followed by trying to suppress the burning desire to buy one myself.

I spot my boy on the ridge of the hill. At this point he is just a dot, but even at this distance I can tell by the way that he is walking that one of his shoe laces is untied.

My son and his friend meander slowly down the hill, occasionally one of them stops to pick up a bit of bush and chase the other with it. Then they stop by a tree and do some rapping; one raps with arms flailing around and the other cups his hands over his mouth to do some beatboxing.

The Range Rovers roar off and the cabin fills with sunlight. My son opens the door and throws all his muddy bags onto the seat that he is about to sit on. Sports’ bag, rucksack & book bag and then tries to cram himself on top of it all and fasten the seat belt. He looks at me as though this is somehow my fault.

“What have you done today?” I ask.

“Nothing,” he grunts.

“Nothing?” I ask with mock incredulity.

“Well, there was something,” he replied. “I learned that if you put the speaker part of an ipod up your nose, the music comes out of your mouth.”

He wedged the corner of his ipod up his nose and Uptown Funk came out of his mouth, which was accompanied by screams of ‘lolly, lolly’ from the nutter in the back, and I raced home quickly so that I could put the iron on.

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