All in family


“We had caught him on a fishing trip, having initially mistaken the piscine scrap for a piece of weed. I feel bad now, for yanking him out of his lovely big pond and slish-sloshing him home in a Bejam bag.”


“The boys' relationship has never been characterised by conflict, they accommodate and give way to each other like they do for no one else. Very gradually, companionship sprouted like a persistent plant on bare earth.”


“Spike lay sleepy amongst the rumpled sheets of our bed. He squinted, raised his hand next to head and opened and closed his pudgy starfish fist. He had made the Makaton sign for "light".”


“In the event of any playground injury, I would act as self-appointed triage, deciding whether the wounded party needed to be taken to the school nurse, or whether to sacrifice one of my beloved antibacterial wipes/plasters.”


“Instead, my eye was caught by something else. A thrill turned into a shiver as I shifted my cold-stiffened toes and took a careful step forward. Now I could reach the unmistakably brassy-yellow crystalline rock, glinting at the stream edge. Gold!”


“It was a hard-working blanket and had dropped stitches and unravelling trim. It was an uncolour, its former milky creaminess lost to intense amounts of loving.”


“Since 2000, the year I came to live in London, the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion by a leading architect. I love the regularity and predictability of it. An annual marker of the summer months.”


“Tucked away under that beautifully-shaved ice were pockets of strawberry sorbet, strawberry salad, chantilly cream and cookie goo.”

Pig Pen

“I jabbed my finger at them excitedly, and Oscar gasped in recognition, and shouted "OH MY GOSH!". I loved that he was so excited - bedtime be damned! I rushed to get my pen and paper, and we set to work.”


“The boxes I made were a wonky, rustic affair, at the very limits of what you could reasonably call a box, and they proliferated way beyond the point of usefulness.”


“At Center Parcs, Spike summed up his essential dismay at being literally and figuratively outside of his comfort zone with exclamations of "I'm in the "Special Fares Apply" zone!". A long way from what felt like home.”


“Bedtime, in particular, seems to turn his thoughts to philosophical enquiry. He has probably figured out that sensible worldly questions buy him extra minutes with the light on. Maybe even a full half-hour if mummy really gets the wind in her sails!”


“There then follows a period of psychological over-adjustment, where Spike copes with the not-being-at-homeness of holidays by designating our accommodation "home". He mentally moves house.”


“Oscar describes Nikker as having black teeth and a curved spine. She lives in a hollow tree, sleeps on a bed of bugs and will only eat mustard custard.”