Motherisms feat. Corona Virus

I have been paranoid since late January about COVID-19, a virus that sounds like one of the many tediously named planets at the arse-end of the solar system. I remember lying awake at night and saying “this is going to go fucking everywhere.” I was told I was being paranoid. I hoped I was, but I knew I wasn’t. I’d say there’s no consolation in being right all the time, but that just wouldn’t be true.

Time to head down to Devon to see someone else who’s right all the time…


It’s a few weeks ago now, and I’m in London on the phone to mum. This is just as the hand-sanitiser mania peaked, a time that we now look back on wistfully.

Me: We’re going to go to Keats’s house today, can’t imagine it will be very busy so a pretty contamination-free zone.

Mum: Let’s hope his bed’s not still infectious!

There was a time when there were other diseases, apparently…


I’ve just arrived down in Devon after another glorious 6hr National Distress bus trip, this time trying especially hard not to touch anything. Mum has come to meet me off the bus. She’s wearing a cute little outfit that involves a woolly cropped jumper.

Me: I like your little jumper.

Mum: Little!

Me: Yeah?

Mum: This is my big, cosy jumper! I put it on 60° by accident.


Mum wants some of the chocolate cake I’ve saved from the bus journey.

Me: No! We mustn’t co-handle things.

Mum: Co-handle—don’t be so ridiculous.

Me: I’m going to see if it takes off.


We’re doing some work that requires us to drink wine; it seems to have gone directly to mum’s voice box …

Me: Shhhh!

Mum (theatrically): I was taught to project.

Me: You don’t need to project, I’m right here.

Mum: I am a trained actress!


We’re out driving. While pootling about in our isolation pod we get stuck behind a man in a white car who can’t drive.

Mum: I bet he doesn’t own that.

Me: It’s a Ford Focus, you’d really hope he did.

Mum: They’re so expensive now you wouldn’t believe—sixteen grand for one of those.

Me: God.

Mum: Must be out of their minds. In fact, I think people will soon realise exactly that: they’ve all been out of their minds.


I have just tidied mum’s entire flat, including hoovering. I am packing the vacuum cleaner away, like any saint might…

Me: Well, I’d decontaminate the hoover but I don’t think there’s much chance of you touching it.

Mum: Oh, a joke, at last!


I’m on my phone, probably looking thick. The opening bars of some classical music come on.

Mum: What’s this, Jade?

Me (without looking up): Vaughn Williams.

There’s silence.

Me (to clarify): ‘Lark Ascending.’

Mum looks both annoyed and impressed.

Me: Can’t fuck with me motherfuckers!

Mum: No, you can’t. I’d jump on you if you weren’t potentially infections.


We’re talking about local people.

Me: Is this Dave The Wave?

Mum: No, this is Itinerant Dave.


Mum is hip to the groove of technology and is scrolling through the news on her iPad for some goss.

Mum: Madonna’s had to cancel her tour.

Me: Well she is over 70, isn’t she.

Mum: Oh she’d love you! No, she’s 65.

I burst out laughing.

Me: No she’s not! She’s like 50, mum.

Mum: No she’s not.

Me: Yes she is!


We’re in the car having marched mother to Currys to get a little freezer, because regardless of what the government is saying at this point, I’m telling her she needs to stay in as much as possible. And I am bossy.

Radio: The prime minister has advised the public against taking a cruise if they have flu-like symptoms.

Me: What?

Mum: Did I just hear that right?

Me: I think it basically just said that you shouldn’t take a cruise if you’ve got corona virus.

Mum: Are they joking? That must be a joke. Surely?

Me: No. I think that was Boris Johnson’s advice to the British public, based on science.

Mum: We’re doomed.


Mum’s phone rings. 

Me: Your phone’s ringing.

Mum: Oh, it’s probably a racist trying to sell me something. Ignore it.


I look over at mum typing away with her little wand on her iPad. I notice the keyboard has split in two and is now on either side of the screen.

Me: What’s happened to that?

Mum (proudly): I have been operating it like this for some time.

She continues trying to type something while having to move diagonally across the screen to get from one letter to the next.

Mum: It’s just a slight inconvenience.

I watch her in silence and say nothing.

Mum: Oh bugger, I spelled it wrong.


Someone else has gone skiing and caught the virus.

Me: Skiing, again! Always with the skiing, these guys.

Mum: It will be the rich that get this!

Me: Yes, but then the poor get it. The poor always get it.


We’re having supper. I’ve been busy worrying quietly in my head about my contamination levels and only tune in to the last part of mum’s sentence.

Mum: Andrew, the dirty pervert.

Me: Who’s Andrew?

Mum: Prince Andrew!


We’re in the greengrocers. Mum is talking loudly to everyone, as usual. This time about cruise ships.

Mum: Absolutely disgusting things. Destroying the planet almost single handedly.

Greengrocer: They use fifty gallons a mile.

Me: Really?

Mum: Oh it’s appalling. I think if you go on one of those you deserve the virus.

I am concerned for mother’s safety voicing such views in what is most likely cruise ship territory, but a little old lady with raspberries walks out of the shop giggling.


Mum goes to pick up a fork from the table.

Me: Oh no, don’t, I touched that!

Mum: Ah!

Mum drops the fork and puts her hands to her face in horror.

Mum: Oh no, I touched my face.

Screaming and waving her hands.

Mum: Oh god we’re all going mad.


The news continues its Covid orgy…

Presenter: Britain is the experiencing the worst health crisis in a generation.

Mum: Yeup, and the government are doing fuck nothing.


Mother is looking into the dark chasm (the light’s gone) of the fridge.

Mum: I’ve bought some feta, because feta’s the best thing you can eat.

Me (imagining it contains some magical antibody or mineral): Why is that?

Mum: I just wanted to eat it.


Typically with this visit, conversation has turned towards pandemics and pandemic-related things.

Mum: Ask your father if he’s seen ‘Survivor’. Fantastic television series from the seventies about a pandemic.

Me: Yes, I know, you got it out from the library and watched it with me when I was about thirteen.

Mum: Did I?

Me: Yes.

Mum (reminiscing): ‘Survivor’, yes… I’ve been preparing ever since.

Me: So have I.


I’m back in London now, or in “the firing line” as mum is calling it. I’m on the phone to her and  mum reads me something she has seen…

Mum: Oh, look at this: “Woman discovers she’s been washing hands with block of cheese.”

I spit water everywhere.

Me: Oh shit, I’ve got water all over my computer.

Mum (ignoring me, still deeply involved in the story): In her defence it seems she does keep a bar of yellow unscented soap by the sink.


I am complaining that in North London we are suffering from the side-effects of Boujis stockpilers – can’t get any organic porridge or apple cider vinegar for love nor money, and we’ve run out. What, you’re saying I’m supposed to have toast for breakfast? THERE’S NO BREAD. Meanwhile in Devon, mum can’t get even one lowly packet of paracetamol, forget loo roll…

“No paracetamol anywhere. No peas, nada. Shelves stripped. Where are they putting all this shit? This lot wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in “the war” they keep on about.”


Later on in the conversation I’m back to worrying about my parents. I mention my father. Mum reassures me…

“His grandmother was a peasant. So was mine, that’s why we’re so tough. Little strips of leather but we’re well put together.”


Stay safe out there, compadres. And if you’re not worried about yourself, be concerned for other’s safety and act accordingly. We really are in this together, whether we like it or not. This virus is many things, including a(n unpleasant) reminder that we are each a small part of a whole. What we do and, possibly more importantly, do not do, during this time can save someone’s life.


Screenshot 2020-03-18 at 10.19.31
Alcohol Kills Germs, Pouts Save Face


Motherisms feat: Sinatra’s Secret, Corruption, Moomin Butts and Lizzie Borden

It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve just returned to the room after wrapping mum’s presents. It seems mum is worried that I didn’t take long enough …

Mum: The thing is: to give and be giving

Me: Yes mum, don’t worry, I’m giving well this year.


As usual, mum has told me all about at least three of my presents within an hour of my arrival …

Mum: It will look great in the flat …

Me: Mum! Don’t tell me, it’s supposed to be a surprise – that’s half the point of presents!

Mum: I’ve been collecting this shit for months.

Apropos of nothing, and almost to herself, mum says ….

“Danny Dyer’s very funny.”


We’re watching University Challenge, there is a segment on Shakespeare quotes, which mum is usually very hot on …

Jeremy Paxman: “A calm and still conscience …”

Me: That’s unusual.

Mum: Exactly what I was thinking.



I am laughing and being young and happy, and evidently quite annoying because mum says …

“I think all young people should be made to wear fat suits so they understand what it’s like getting about when you’re old.”


There is a medieval style gold leaf painting of a monk-ish man on the table. I am observing his presence.

Me: Who is he?

Mum: St Nicholas … Do you like him?

Me: Yes he’s like that other dude over there (A minatutre medieval-esque illumination of St Jude rests on the windowsill)

Mum: Yeah, I’ve got dudes everywhere.



It’s Christmas Eve and the sparkling drinks have begun ..

Me: I’m feeling quite flushed after that!

Mum: Lightweight.


Mum left a chocolate walnut for me to eat, I didn’t get round to eating it. It’s later in the evening and she is studying the jar of them now.

Mum: We should do something with the chocolate walnuts.

I’m reminded to turn around and eat mine.

Me: Oh … someone’s eaten mine.

Mum: Yes well, they look like dog poos just lying about.



‘Would I Lie To You’ comes on , mum is not best pleased …

“Oh no, it’s just a load of people showing off.”


Monopoly North Devon edition began on Christmas eve. Mum, having been mightily bankrupted last year in a round of repairs to her many houses and hotels, is just playing the game to accrue as much cash as possible. There is a large, colourful pile of money on her side of the tablecloth.

“Millions! I’ve got millions! I’m the Philip Green of Barnstaple!”


I am being a normal girl, just walking around …

Mum: You look like Lizzie Borden.

Me: Who’s she?

Mum: A murderess.

Me: Thanks.


Mum is now complimenting me and wants due credit …

Mum: And me, for gestating this thing!

Me: Yes mum, thank you very much for giving birth to me.

Mum: You’re welcome.


We’re watching Guys and Dolls, or half-watching while lunch is being prepared saintily by me …

Me: I don’t get the Frank Sinatra thing

Mum: Big dick

Me: Jesus Christ mother.

I quickly cross myself in the hope it will prevent mum from saying anything like that ever again.

Mum: He did! Ava Gardner said it very plainly. Also charm, musical talent and wealth, of course …



We’re watching Kings College choir, one boy has done a maginificently high-pitch solo number for a while, and now the rest of the choir is joining in …

Me: All the out-of-tuners can come in now

Mum (horrified): Out of tuners, tut tut.



Mum has bought a decent-sized chicken for us to eat, currently raw she suggests we …

“Instagram it to my followers.”


Mum’s first boyfriend is in a film on Christmas Day …

Mum: I gambled with him under the stage for many hours during Julius Caesar.

Me: Gambled what? … Playing what?

Mum: Gambled … it’s an expression.



I hear things, tinkling things and spoon stirring …

Me: Are you having a brandy coffee?

Mum: Yes.

Me: I knew it!

Mum: You can smell it from 50ft. I’m not trying to get anything past you. There’s a pause. Want one?

Me: Yes please.


We’re all tiring a little of monopoly and a couple of brandies (sans coffee) have also been drunk. Mum is counting the spaces …

“Six, seven, eight, nine … I’ve got so bored I’ve forgotten what I was doing.”


Mum’s on a butt rant …

“These women! It’s just a succession of arses … ‘so and so “flaunts’ … And you think, “Jesus god, not another arse.” … Huge arses like moomins.”



Mum’s navigating slowly away from women with enormous arse implants towards sex robots, which seem to have inspired her imagination …

“The human race will die out … Soon they’ll sell sex robots in Argos.

Mum then attempts a teenage boy’s voice …

‘What would you like for Christmas dad? I got you a sex robot.’

Mum then attempts a robot voice …

‘Would you like to masturbate?’ ”



The Monopoly game-saga continues. We’re listening to some neglected Bob Dylan on Spotify, an ad comes on …

Ad woman: Sky Cinema so you ..

Mum: Go away this woman!

Ad woman: With Sky Cinema …

Mum: NO!! ‘Blood on the Tracks’, man!


We have a couple of peaceful rounds and now a new advert is on, the voice overs sound similar ..

Ad woman: Google home hub …

Mum (now shouting): WHO IS THIS WOMAN?



Mum is insisting we watch Kevin and Perry Go Large …

Mum: How old were you when this came out?

Me: I don’t know, about fourteen.

Mum: That must be why it left such a marked impression on me.

Me (in defence): These guys are a bit older.

Mum: Yes, but there’s and age range of between 14 and 40.



Mum has been raving about a sword scene in the old ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ since we watched the new one. Now the old one is on and so is the sword scene … I watch as a soldier shows off to his love interest by slashing a sword half an inch from her face, proceeding to run around a hilly outcrop screaming and then charging at her with the lethal blade …

Me: I don’t know, for me that’s a warning sign.

Mum: Yes … It’s not quite how I remember it.


We’re … you guessed it, playing Monopoly, the same game, on Boxing Day, three days after we started it, and, you guessed it, mum is still cash rich and land poor …

Me, to myself: Advance to go collect £200…

Mum: Won’t do you any good. The country has been corrupted by speculators, now I’m seeing if it will work for me.



Photo on 25-12-2018 at 13.35

Photo on 25-12-2018 at 13.33 #2

Pre and Post-Champagne Family Portrait










Long-Overdue Update

Dear little mice,

How are you? Is it sunny where you are? If not I hope you have felt its beams on your skin at least twice this year. (If you haven’t … where are you?? I’d love to hear from anyone living in a cave/centre of the earth.)

So, firstly: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for starting a blog and keeping it running for god knows how many years and gaining your trust and making you believe that there would always be mediocre content at least once a month and then all of a sudden … dropping off the face of the earth.

Secondly: I’m not sorry! Because I have some good things lined-up for all you excellent, strange creatures that follow this blog.

I’m still writing, and I’m writing a lot at the moment. The reason you haven’t seen any of this is because most of that writing is a book — a novel, a book-book. And it turns out writing a good book is actually very hard, even for very arrogant people like me. But I am very happy to tell you that earlier this year it was awarded an Arts Council ‘grant for the arts’. This not only provided some much needed money (for some much needed food), but has also given me confidence that I am hopefully dedicating a large portion of my life to something worthwhile.

Other than that, I am currently studying for my masters and have had the blessings of a couple of other writing contracts that have kept me busy, and quiet. But no longer!

As of Summer 2018, I can confirm more poetry is heading your way (yeah, let those fist bumps lose!), there will be a video with me talking about being a failure at poetry (at some point), there is an article about superstition and assigning meaning to nature in Breathe issue 12 for you to buy, and to the wonderful person who wrote in to tell me they’d dreamt I’d put up another Motherisms, you’ll be delighted to hear one of those is in the pipeline — as is a Fatherisms.

I’m also still wanting to do a collective Motherisms, so please write in with anything wonderful/hilarious or ridiculous your mother might have said and we can make something funny together. Isn’t that nice? ISN’T IT??


Pics: Alexandra Waespi


Happy Thursday everyone, it’s going to be beautiful (whether you like it or not). x x x


Motherisms Festive Specialé 2.0

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. But, here we are, mum and I at the end of it, still standing, still talking to each other …



It’s some time in September and we’re driving down a narrow country lane, Mum pulls in to let a person go past. They manage to raise a finger to thank her but don’t look happy about it. Mum is not impressed …

“God a smile wouldn’t break your face. So miserable all these people, the English take their pleasure sadly.”


Mum’s friend owns an excellent Pizza restaurant …

“That pizza oven’s incredible, they can do cremations in the winter when things get slow.”


In October Mum and I were in a rather nasty car crash. Mum got sent an awful lot of flowers (I didn’t). Mum’s looking around the room, barely visible through the foliage …

“It’s like a funeral parlour in here … so beautiful.”


Mum makes no apologies for being a big fan of Real Housewives (of New York, Beverly Hills … and wherever else these women live). She is setting the scene for me …

Mum: These poor men must get confused – all the women look the same. ‘Was she my wife? Or was she?’
Me: She seems like the smart one.
Mum: Yeah she’s the surgeon … her and her husband. He does all their work, so you don’t want to upset him too much.
Me: You can tell how much work she’s had done because her neck’s red with blood and there’s nothing in her face.
Mum: Oh yeah, the amount if work these women have had done! They’ve had their faces done, their fannies rearranged …


We’re watching Paddington Bear, who arrives in London and lands the most beautiful home, just like that …

Paddington Bear: I feel quite at home in Windsor Gardens!
Me: I bet you do you lucky sod.
Paddington is not representing the reality of living in London, and is skipping about with glee …
Mum: Might have made a serious mistake here.

(Actually turns out to be a lovely little film.)


Mum has discovered Marks and Spencer’s do bread and butter pudding, this has proved dangerous …
“I’m addicted to bread and butter pudding, the woman at the check out has started to notice. She said, “I started getting like this, but it was with the jam rolly polly.”


It’s Halloween and we’re in Barnstaple late at night walking back from the cinema, everyone is dressed as slutty zombies, zombies, pirates, slutty pirates and slutty cats. I see mum observing the revellers with suspicion …

Me: It’s Halloween.
Mum: Oh that’s what that is.


Mum’s wistfully looking out the window over the river …

“Wouldn’t it be nice if it were attractive people sitting on the wall.”


It’s time to squabble over what we should watch. Mum wants to watch something about forensic murders, life is stressful at the moment, and I’d like something a little more cheerful ..

Mum: Forensics is fascinating
Me: Yes it is, but isn’t there anything with a bit more joi de vivre?
Mum: Joi de Vivre … ok.
Mum puts something on, I can tell immediately it’s a television drama as someone is shouting at someone else.
Me: Not sure about this mum.
Mum: It’s supposed to be very good.
Me: Yeah but it’s not ‘joi de vivre’ is it?
Mum: No, it’s hard hitting drama about crack addiction in 1980s.


I am tinkling away on the guitar, I have improved, slightly over the last year or so …
Mum: You should write songs
Me: I should but I won’t.
Mum: Your guitar playing is getting quite good
Me: It is, but I can’t bare to be under appreciated about anything else
Mum (with sarcastic melodrama): Oh dear, couldn’t you?


It’s nearly supper time and there’s a strange noise coming from the kitchen, a low droning sound …

Me: What is that?
Mum: The chicken tikka masala.
Mum thinks twice about this and goes into the kitchen to double check it is the meal making this noise …
Mum: Oh god no it’s Bartok! Jesus Christ, at this time of night?


Mother is very up to date, she will soon be micro dosing daily and using a new crypto currency she calls …

“Bit con”


It’s two days before Christmas and I have deigned to grace mother with my presence, we are discussing the many treats we have, and what we don’t have …
Mum: We don’t have mince pies, you don’t like Mince pies do you.
Me: Yeah, but I don’t mind if we don’t have them.
Mum: Well we can always go to M+S and do the vulture’s dash tomorrow.


It’s Christmas Eve and continuing my grandmother’s tradition we are allowed to open a little present this evening. I unwrap a beautifully packaged present to reveal … a tube of effervescent Vitamin C.

Me: Oh lovely, thanks very much.
Mum: No darling look inside.
I do look inside and to my relief see a mascara.
Me: Oh excellent!
Mum: Took the vitamin c very graciously

I fail to take my two thermals vests and thermal tights quite as graciously.


David Attenborough is on in the background, again ….

“Kind of taken over from God now, Attenborough. We’ll have Attenborough carols next.”


Mum’s listing what we have to eat …

Mum: Bananas, brandy butter, brandy cream, hummus, dips ..
Me (trying to join in): Chips and dips …
My American terminology gets lots in translation.
Mum: No, no chips if you want chips you can lightly roast some potato skins.


It’s just gone Twelve in the morning of Christmas Eve, we’re discussing what we could possibly drink at this hour, mum is holding a minute glass filled with transparent liquid …

Mum: Gin.
Me: Mulled wine.
Mum: Mulled wine will make you sleepy, micro-dose with this, incredibly expensive stuff, won it in the raffle … this will get you going.
Me: Maybe later, I’m not sure in quite ready for neat gin.


Mum is worried we are being taken over by our robot overlords but can’t remember their names ..

Mum: All this stuff is spying on you, that bloody Celsy …
Me: Alexa.


For now mum can’t drive and she’s bored, so she’s thinking about joining a political party, any political party …

Mum: I’ll be a liberal and a communist.
Me: You can’t pick both, you have to be loyal to your party if you actually want to effect some change.
Mum: I don’t know which party I’m going to chose yet, and anyway I’m just agitating I think effecting change is a little ambitious


We are trying to plan our evening’s televisual entertainment, mum has her favourite show on the brain …

Mum: You can watch Dennis Potter
Me: Who?
Mum: Whatever his name is. …
Me: Harry Potter?
Mum: Yes.
Me: Is that on now is it?
Mum: Real housewives?
Me: No, Harry Potter!
Mum: No, later.


I have made a comprise and agreed to watch Real Housewives provided I get to watch Harry Potter, without complaints. Mum studies the men on the television and announces …

“This must be an old one all the husbands have left now.”


Mum bought me ‘Monoploly, North Devon Edition’ for Christmas, which comes as a surprise as the last time we played it I was 8 and had what a believe is a called an ‘episode’ – I was not born a good loser, it came with practice …

Me: Shall we play monopoly then?
Mum: Yeup. Made sure there’s a taser behind the sofa.


We’re on our wildly exciting Christmas walk, mum shouts excitedly over the roaring gale …

“Oh look, rabbit poo!”


Mum and I returning from our delightfully bleak and drizzly Christmas walk along the estuary and are walking down a little brambled road near the Rugby club, covered in litter. We are tutting furiously at the rubbish. Mum names the culprits …

“Rugger buggers.”


We’ve had a phone call from family in Japan and Mum is whimsically entertaining going to visit on her air miles, but appears to have a price on her head …
“Ah, but I’d be within range of Kim Jong Un.”


Mum comes in, puts 15th century convent maestro Hildegard von Bingham on the CD player, and then leaves. I am left to eat chicken sandwich alone in a fantastically ominous atmosphere.


It’s Boxing Day and we’re playing monopoly again, mum is on a losing streak after a night of winning the previous evening (and gracious losing on my part), I have landed on ‘Verity’, one of her less-expensive properties. Mum is disappointed …

“Verity … a cheap tart, £8.’


Poor mum was walking home with a very heavy pineapple from her friend’s and it left her unbalanced in wet conditions and she slipped over on the pavement. Displaying her excellent character, she has not held a grudge against the pineapple and is eating it with zeal …

Mum: It was lovely of Michael Jackson to give her so many pineapples.
Me: Michael Jackson?!
Mum: It’s his name, must be very annoying, his parents should have thought of that.


We’re watching the weather forecast for excitement. The skies are black, rain is attacking the windows and it’s a howling gale outside.

Weather Woman: … as storm Dylan comes in from the west.
Mum: With storm Cohen close behind.


It’s Boxing Day and I ask mum if she wants a chicken sandwich (the highlight of Christmas for me) …
“No bread for me – enough trans fats man … The countdown to starvation begins.”


I have just bankrupted mum for the third time this evening and the fourth time in her life, someone in a drama on television is saying that their mother couldn’t afford a bus ticket.

“If the mother can’t afford bus ticket she shouldn’t play monopoly then.’


Mum is decimating the chicken I thought I had already stripped in preparation for making chicken soup, she calls in from the kitchen:

Mum: Whole other meal on here.
Me: I’ll have another chicken sandwich tomorrow then …
I think for a second and try and count how many days it’s been since Christmas, possibly two hundred, I can’t be sure ….Is the chicken still ok to eat tomorrow?
Mum: You’ll find out.

(I ate it and I’m still alive so I guess it was.)


Mum’s looking in the fridge and telling me what we have a lot of …
“Things you can eat freely: Bread and butter pudding.”


Happy New Year! And if you have a Motherism (or two) you would like to share do send them in (anonymously if you don’t want to get in trouble). I will be compiling a collected Motherisms soon! Send them to

photo (11).JPG


Motherisms: Festive Specialé

I would be a scrooge to allow the festive season to pass without some of these. So, it’s the run-up to Christmas …


Mum: I always think of you when I see Centre Point …
Me: Why?
Mum: Because when you were 3, we were making a rare trip down Oxford Street and you pointed at Centre Point and said, ‘Who lives there?’ I told you no one did and then we chased some homeless people around with sandwiches for a while, and then you said, ‘Why don’t they just put all the homeless people on the big tall tower?’ And I had to explain capitalism to you at a very early age ….
There’s a pause.
Mum: … though actually it did end up a homeless charity.



We’re leaving mum’s enclosure. She’s turning the car round and has slightly misjudged it, meaning we have to go over the curb. Mum, very sweetly, as if she is talking to a horse says ….

“Goooood car …. That’s it … Over the pavement ….”


Mum’s asking me who someone is on ‘who do you think you are’ I know who it is but I dislike the fact I know who half of these people are so much I’m refusing to cooperate …

Mum: Is this Cheryl Cole?
Me: I don’t know …
Mum looks at TV times …
Mum: Yes, it is Cheryl Cole.
I don’t look up.
Mum: Hello??
Me: Yes, good we’ve established that. My interest level remains the same.
Mum: Oh I am SO sorry to disturb you!


Mum’s come round for another Christmas at the Cratchit’s. She’s admiring the tree my friend and I decorated …

Mum: Oh it does look rather good you know Jade …
Me: There’s more fake presents on the tree than real ones under it.
Mum: That’s usually the case.


We’re watching TV, mum is describing a scene, I think, rather abstractly …

Mum: Like an Escher sketch
I assume mum thinks the etch a sketch is French, which I don’t believe it is, and don’t like it with a French accent, so correct her …
Me: ETCH A sketch
Mum: No. Escher, the painter …
Me: Ohhhh okay.
Mum rolls her eyes and mutters something about the money wasted on my education.


I’m at mum’s and am so looking forward to eating something I haven’t cooked for myself …

Mum: Supper’s ready!
Me: Yum what are we having?
Mum: A variation on gruel.
Me: Oh. Cool …


I have no idea where this came from, but she suddenly comes out with …

“I should like to be an Internet crime wave.”


Driving in Devon, as with anywhere in the world, is exciting. People make it exciting thanks to human error, I imagine when we have robots it will be more exciting because the cars will just drive us straight off the face of the earth. But for now, someone else has failed to indicate when going round the roundabout …

Me: Indicator would have been good.
Mum: It’s a sign of weakness. We’re going by the will of Allah here …


We walk into mum’s flat and it’s like the Queen’s mailsack has been poured on the floor, thousands of cards litter the carpet ….
Me: Woah ..
Mum: Oh god. I keep getting all these cards and I don’t know who any of them are from …. dear people. So sweet.


We’ve started buying our Christmas decorations from charity shops and if you don’t use the same ones every year so should you but whatever I’m not here to lecture (one day I will be). Anyway, mum is describing some of the lights she was demonstrated …

“Then they got out these very dubious blue fairy lights … made the whole place look like a police station.”


We’re at some red traffic lights, mum wants to turn right, the guy opposite wants to turn right as well, mum is creeping towards the line, eyeing the red light and nudging the accelerator.

Me: Er …. Mum, are you racing?
The light turns amber and mum speeds left, effortlessly thanking the man opposite as we screech into the distance …
Mum: Well someone has to act decisively, and my acceleration is usually faster than theirs.


I hadn’t turned my tv on for over and month and had been some new age preacher talking about how much I hated it and couldn’t watch it anymore because of the adverts bla bla bla … when it came to Christmas, I really fancied watching some TV. Turned it on to watch the Snowman and … No. The TV now does not work. So it’s Christmas day and we’re about four hours in to the Sopranos ….

Mum: Oh, San Pellegrino. The best water there is.
Me: Yeah .. there’s a lot of product placement in this.
There’s a few more cutaways to characters, usually sitting behind the Pellegrino bottle …
Mum: The Pellegrino’s going to get a credit.


I’ve cut a mountain of brussles sprouts, there are two of us eating …

Me: Enough brussles sprouts now, surely?
Mum: Dear god yes.
Me: I’ve given myself RSI again
Mum: Well that was stupid.


Mum can recite massive chunks of Shakespeare, and general poems ‘and shit’. She’s quoting something over in the corner, I’m trying to engage and be a conversationalist while doing a hundred other things ….

Mum: … child Harold un to the high towered king …
Me: Right, yes. Harold wanted Jesus dead because he’d heard a prophecy about a new king …
Mum: That was Herod not Harold, dear god. It’s a poem by Byron called Children Harold’s pilgrimage, look it up.
Me: Ok, I will.
(I haven’t. But I will.)


(I will be in trouble for revealing this but) Mum has bought the Daily Mail for the television time thing …

Mum: No one believes me but on Saturdays it really does have the best TV time thing .. it has all the numbers of the channels, everything …
Me: I believe you.
Mum: And actually, I console myself whenever I buy it that if it weren’t for the Daily Mail they would never have caught those bastards in the Steven Lawrence case.
Me: Well, good … really good … strange that though …
Mum: Very strange for such a racist paper.


Hell froze over and Mum said something nice to me ….

Mum: …. Really, I mean it. I’m not just buttering you up.
Me: Well I know that, you’ve never buttered me up, ever ….
Mum: I didn’t grow up with buttering up, you’ve got to actually do something to get buttered up in my books. People getting buttered up left right and centre nowadays, it’s not healthy.


We’re watching the carols at Kings College. Mum’s from Cambridge and is crying within the first bar of the little angel’s mouth opening, mum gushes …

“Stone masons knew what they were doing back then … Venice is beautiful and the buildings are beautiful but I’ll take Kings College every time.”


Well it’s Christmas Eve, so we should probably talk about how cold it was in the 1940s and 50s ….

Mum: … you don’t understand how cold it was.
Me: Yes I do I used to live in a warehouse.
Mum: Well then yes you’ve got the gist if it.
I don’t think mum’s got the gist of quite how cold the warehouse was compared to the 1950s chill …
Me: I had to walk across a roof in December to get to showers.
Mum: What?! You didn’t tell me that at the time …
There’s a pause.
Mum: Jade?
I drink some champagne and stay quiet …


Mum is watching something, or reading something, I’ve been cooking and can’t really hear what’s going on but it’s obviously some rally cry as I hear her shout over …

“I’d have you … you’re good in a scrap.”


Mum and I both love Alan Bennet. He’s reading his dairies and we both think he is looking great for 81. Mum is maybe more vocal about her love for Alan Bennet though (please note: we’ve had 2 bottles of prosecco or some sparkling shit because prosecco’s poisoning the Italians or something) …

Mum: Just watch him. This, now this, is a wonderful lovely man. Brrriliant, brilliant writer …
It cuts away to Alan Bennet in a room with a nice wall-hanging behind him …
Mum: Lovely, lovely tagine hanging behind him …
There’s a pause as my brain slowly whirrs into action …
Mum: Not tagine
Me: Do you mean rug?
Mum: Prayer mat
I’m in hysterics. Mum looks away for a second and I start typing notes on my phone …
Me: DON’T YOU DARE! I’ll start my own blog with all the stupid shit you say.
I continue to type, giggling at my naughtiness ..
Mum: Tripping Over Whippets, you wonna watch yourself.


Mum is fascinated by Kanye West and the wife, I’ve started quite enjoying constructing conspiracy theories with mum about them. I see she has turned to a page with his crazed face on it …

Me: What’s the goss with Kanye then?
Mum: He’s in psychiatric care.
Me: Few years too late.
Mum: That jewellery heist was a bit suspect — he’s got financial problems … Big bum has been in seclusion.
Me: Good.


Mum’s on the computer which is always dangerous.

Mum: People keep inviting me to Linkedin but don’t know what it is.
Me: No, no one does. I can’t waste my time talking about it honestly it’s so boring and useless …
Mum: No don’t. I’m so over it I’ve done it already.


I’ve put on some Boubacar Traoré ….

Mum: Who’s this?
Me: Can’t remember his name, akin to …
Me and Mum: Ali fucker Tori
Mum: Is he Malian?
Me: Maybe …
Mum: Amazing music scene in Mali. But they’re all fleeing because of ISIS, but it was amazing in the 70s — peaceful festivals in the desert with camels, no one beheading anyone …
Me: Sounds perfect.
Mum: It was.


We’re going to go for a Boxing Day walk. Mum has brought round her ancient Hunter wellies …

Mum: Had these for fifteen years now, it was an anarchistic statement: pink wellies, I just thought you can’t get any more stupid than pink wellies. Then every twat got them ..
Me: I like the colour they’ve gone now … a weird whitey colour …
Mum:Yes I look as if I should be in an operating theatre.


I have six mountains of books I’ve never read. Mum’s going through them …

Mum:Read this Peter Ackroyde?
Me: I’ve read bits of it it’s a fucking huge book. It’s good though.
Mum: Right …
Me: What? I don’t have time to read a book from cover to cover, I dip in and out ..
Mum: I see … Just dip in and out. Read a couple of chapters from the middle of Middlemarch (she’s obviously seen it by the bath), couple of chapters of Albion …
Me: Yeah, basically.
Mum: It’s the death of literature.
Me: Whatever ….
A few minutes later …
Mum: Dances With Wolves is on later have you seen that?
Me: Uh … yeah I think so, bits of it definitely. I’d like to watch it again though, I can’t really remember it …
Mum: Just dipped in and out of it …


I am eating. Mum has been thinking and announces …

“I need to talk to Steven Hawking … just to say, ‘Hi … we’re all going to get better.”


Happy Hjksdabd;liwdbefa;f (whatever we’re saying nowadays). xxxx


Screen Shot 2016-12-26 at 13.50.47.png

Motherisms: The Great Escape …


I know. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m so sorry. It is now as inevitable as Death, there is no escape from its cellophane-wrapped clutches. BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have someone to say something nice to you, or someone to buy you a fake pearl/bad watch/silk boxers/teddybear. Remember you always have your friends and family, who love you. Why not say something nice to them, as well as your beloved? Why not use today to be really nice and loving to everyone in your life instead of hoping for a bunch of roses and some chocolates rich enough to fill the hole.

These are all the nice things mum and I have been saying to each other over the last few months …..


I walk in to mums flat, she’s moving house and boxes are everywhere in preparation for the move. As I come into the kitchen I see her bent over and wrestling with some very thick masking tape in her mouth …

Me: What are you doing …?

Mum: It’s Chinese New Year, you can’t use scissors.

Me: Oh …

Mum: Yes. Bit of shame we’re moving today but there we go …


I want an animal. I have wanted one for 10 years. The quest continues …

Me: We have to get a dog. Or any sort of pet, but really, specifically a dog. They lower heart disease by 78%.

Mum: Yes I know they do darling but I can’t have one now anyway.

Me: I’ve started stroking them on the street now, just to get a fix.

Mum: No, I do Hatha yoga. Much cleaner.


Mum’s playing a CD in the car, I haven’t heard it since our first house. Turns out niether’s mum …

Me: Who is this? We used to play this all the time. I love him

Mum: You know, I can’t remember …

Mum ejects the CD so we can look (we’re stationary, don’t worry beackseaters) …

Mum: Bruce Coben

I’ve read it, that’s not what it said. Mum must have terrible eyesight, poor old woman, she can’t read anymore …


Mum: COBURN, it’s pronounced CO-BURN. Cockburn …. Jesus.


Mum’s moved in to a new place that has, shall we say, the ‘capacity’ for an older person. This means a lovely walk-in power-shower and a strange array cords dangling from the ceiling, neither of us are sure of their purpose. I am bored, so I reach for one to see what will happen …

Mum: Don’t pull that! God knows what it does.

I don’t. But examine it suspiciously.

Mum: We’ll spray them all silver …

Me: No, gold remember, for warmth.

Mum: Yes good. I’ll just say my daughter is a very famous artist and got carried away. Do apologise.


Mum’s talking about something I’ve written. She is getting carried away …

Mum: You could channel the spirit of the late Brian Sewell … very underestimated.

Me: I feel I’ve done underestimated.


Mum is putting on some makeup, she looks infinitely more presentable than I do, but is not happy with the results …

“Oh god. This is it. What Shakespeare said: sans teeth, sans eyes … sans bloody everything.”


Mum is on the phone to her friend. They’re talking about the recent engagement between Jerry Hall and babe-magnet Rupert Murdoch. Mum appears to have some interesting theories on the union …

Mum: I think he’s a reptile. I think she’ll come into their room on their wedding night and he’ll be there, sitting in a big chair, a huge reptile with his lizard claws, waiting …

There’s a pause …

Mum: Yeah I’d do it for £10 billion.


We’re discussing our new-found saintliness ….

Mum: I’ve lost my capacity to drink large amounts of wine

Me: I’ve lost the desire to.

Mum: Yes the desire to. Like port though …

Me: Me too. Lots.

Mum: Got to keep away from that, too much and it’ll make you fat … and give you gout.

Me: Noted.


It’s a few months ago now and Mum’s on the phone to my godfather. They’re talking about the presidentatial election (not in depth). Mum is struggling to remember who the “cool, old guy” is. I can’t help but offer some assistance …

Me: Bernie Sanders.

Mum: Jade’s telling me it’s Bernie Sanders. Apparently she keeps a note of my political preferences.

Me: No, I’m not keeping note. I just know who he is.

Mum starts making a variety of childish faces at me in response.


It’s Christmas and we’re all watching Downton Abbey – mum and I are used to chatting through TV shows like this. Today, we’re not allowed, because it turns out we aren’t as enteratining. Mum is struggling, and just can’t keep her mouth shut. The butler has come down to give the well-to-doers some news …

American Lady: Where’s Lady Edith?

Mum: Tripwire me lady.


Mum has a love-hate relationship with The Archers. I just have mild distain (but affection for the theme tune). It is on, as it is at 7pm every night of our lives …

Mum: Come on!!!

Archers: I think I need a cup of tea …

Mum: Well go and have one!!!

Archers: Just cleaning up the workshop …

Mum: Oh for crying out loud. I hoped Rachel would stay in New Zealand.

Archers: These cows, when I look at them …

Me: … I get aroused.

Archers: They’re like family.

Mum: Yes. Great. Another bloody homily of cows! Get on with it. Let’s have a murder for once!


We’re settling down to some well-deserved television:

Mum: Ah now this is Bear Grylls who’s fallen in love with a lunatic …

I laugh, knowingly …

Me: It’s Ben Fogle and Rich Hall ….

I realize 45 minutes later that, it is indeed Ben Fogle, but it’s not Rich Hall, it is a mad man who lives in a swamp.


Mum is looking through the Style magazine in the papers, which I now loath.  It’s turned into Mizz. But anyway …

Mum: I do wish these girls would learn to cover up one day.

Me: They will soon, I told you, Dolce and Gabanna have started making hijabs.

Mum: Oh, dear …

Me: I might get one, a hijab. As an act of rebellion …

Mum: Mmm … I won’t discourage this, you’ve always looked great in a veil.


Mum’s complaining about the youth of today, as usual. I agree with her but like to pick holes, for picking holes sake …

Mum: Smart phone, dumb people.

Me: And there’s you begging me for my smart phone.

Mum: Well you can fuck your fucking smart phone.


Mum is talking about the cold draft that comes into flat. Apparently this has something to do with squirrels …

“Now you see, squirrels have an extra layer of fat to get them through the winter …  the little bastards.”


We are reconvening mid-week and discussing anything interesting we have come across. Mum is first …

Mum: There’s an article in The Times about teenage feminist boys …

Me: I’ve seen it. I’ve never seen so much bullshit in all my life. The title and pull quotes were enough.

Mum: One must be aware of the bullshit.

Me: Yeah, I’m aware of it, I’m just not willing to engage in 6 pages of it .

Mum: Yes no, fair enough ….I wasn’t either.


It’s the Archers again ….

Archers: Can I share something with you?

Archers: What?

Me: Pull my finger  …

Mum: Oh don’t be so ridiculous jade. Shush now.

A pause …

Archers: There’s something I want to do …

Mum: Suck your dick.

Me: Mum!!!!!

Mum: You wait …

(She’s a little graphic, but as usual, correct.)





Motherisms: The Return


It’s been a while, too long I know some believe, but sometimes life doesn’t give you much amusing ammunition. Fortunately for everyone we’re emerging out the other side, and mum is firing on all cylinders.

(Excuse half-arsed/mixed up gun/car metaphor). ((Thanks)).


I have discovered people are EATING the cute little ponies that run wild on Dartmoor. I express my distress to mum. This is how our text conversation goes:

Me: They’re selling poor little dartmoor ponies as sausages!! In the times xxx

Mum: Its the only way they will survive. Heard this woman on the farming prog. Meat is meat, horse, cow, whatever. At the moment they go for dog food. Uneconomic for moorland farmers now, they are turning to sheep and cattle which will chang the whole ecology of the moorland. This way they are slaughtered close to home rather than being trucked miles to be slaughtered for dog food. Im all for it!! xxxx

Everyone knows I’m squeamish/pathetic and predominantly vegetarian. What mum’s forgotten is I also have a tendency to fall asleep on the sofa. So when I fail to react to mum’s practical nature I receive …

Mum: Oh shit! have .I shocked you.? This phome only does very basic punctuation. Xxx

(As if good punctuation and grammar might soften the blow). It’s only 12hrs later she receives the reassuringly idiotic:

Me: Oh no!! I fell asleep! Only just got that. Well, maybe I will start a pony sanctuary, divert all the sausage ponies in to my field xxx

Mum: Yes.Ok darling xxxx



Mum likes to vocalise when she’s bought a lottery ticket, as if voicing its possession somehow increases our numbers’ chances …

“Well I bought a lottery ticket for Saturday as it’s over 20 million, I only do them now if they’re over 20 million – though I’m thinking I might get scratch cards, where the disappointments more immediate.”


A ‘Sun Life’ life insurance advert is on television and they’re kindly offering a free pen, just for enquiring ….

Sun Life: And you’ll receive a welcome gift  ….

Mum: When you’re dead.


Mum is talking about a boy she used to babysit who’s cut his long hair ….

“He’s much happier since he’s out of this Jesus faze. He used to sit there under this veil of misery.”


We’ve just watched Lady in the Van and are talking about the Ascension at the end ….

Mum: A ‘beam-up’ doesn’t seem too likely  …

Me (always searching for the positive): Well, who knows …

Mum (change of tune): I do. We shed our bodies and our spirit goes on to something else, then we get to start again and become one with the fucking universe, man.

Me: Ok! Cool.


Mum has been learning about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – I assume through the Daily Mail she flicks through in Sainsbury’s but refuses to buy…

Mum: That woman with the fat bottom and her husband who’s designed a line of absolutely horrible beige things …

Me: Yes. What? I try not to think about them …

Mum: Well, she’s pregnant again and has been squeezed into this latex dress-thing. It’s absolutely comical!

A very accurate afterthought comes to mum …

Mum: He’s very up himself isn’t he, the husband.

Me: Yeah. I think it’s sort of beyond that …


We’re watching Judge Judy, I have no problem with this but mum seems to think she needs to make an excuse ….

Mum: Judge Judy is better than the news …

Me: The news makes me nervous.

Mum: Me too, I can’t watch the news. I read the papers but the news makes me anxious. It’s designed to make you anxious; if you’re anxious, you’re conservative.


Inspired by The Simpsons I buy some pink florescent donuts and bring them back to the car. I can see mum’s face contorting in horror as I approach. I get in …

Mum: Oh my god no!!! Darling what have you done?! I’m not even sure I want to share the car with them ….


Mum has been telling me that her old doctor, Dr Beaven, once told her that if someone dies you should go out and tell the bees. I have, coincidentally, mentioned a bee in passing, in one of my poems. Mum is reading the poem …

Mum: You’ve stolen my bee line! We’re like Shelley and Keats!

Me: Just like Shelley and Keats.

(In case of future lawsuits: I didn’t steal her bee line, I just used the word bee.)



We’re watching Have I Got News For You and are learning Germany sent a Saint a license fee bill. (She died in 774) …

Mum: Well, I wont take the water bills too seriously any more.

Me: I’d have them sent ‘Care Of’ St Jude if I were you.


We’re watching Judge Judy again. There is a robust woman, very pretty, with burnt copper hair and a complexion I can only dream about, mum feels equally bitter …

“I’d die for skin and hair like that … she’s probably related to Henry VIII …. they’re about the same size.”


I’m reading a newspaper out loud …

Me: Stress is on the rise, is this news?

Mum: Of course not. Who’s surprised? All these people do is just sit on the sofa watching other people with perfect lives, eating ice cream.

Me: Where as we watch Judge Judy and Police Interceptors and eat brown rice and vegetables …

Mum: Exactly.


We’re talking about where mum will go when she moves out of the beloved little ‘garret’ in January …

Me: Maybe I’ll put you in an old peoples home ..

Mum(with utmost sincerity): You put me in an old peoples home, I make sure they throw me out!


We’ve just had people simulate some shagging in a perfume advert, now we’re watching people shagging again in some drama thing …

“Sex used to be fun when I was young, everyone kept quiet, it was furtive and secret; now it’s like having a bowl of cornflakes. So boring.”


I’ve finally done something relatively sensible, that someone incredibly sensible advised I did. I’m reading out an email in response to my sensible thing to mum …

Mum: Doesn’t give much away does it?

Me: Think that’s called ‘expectation management’ …

Mum: Yes. Right … That’s what I have to start doing.


Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 16.04.28