Smile, Please.

I have gone a little quiet just recently. I have – for exciting reasons I shall share with you just as soon as I can draw breath – been insanely busy. Also, Harry and I (and as of today, my mother too) have a mysterious, long-standing and highly unwelcome cyclic gastro bug, producing fluctuating levels of diarrhoea, and in my case, also inducing repulsively sulfurous vomiting every 4 or 5 days. I’ve had this particular digestive nasty before, in my early 20s, and I distinctly remember being off work for 3 successive isolated Mondays – rendering my employer enormously suspicious, naturally; I also retain a vivid impression of the hideously eggy burps and chunders. I know not what this thing is: Harry’s stool sample came back negative for anything interesting. I merely wish it would go. Go soon. Not let the door hit, etc.

I have been both blue-arsed-busy and feeling completely exhausted and washed out. So I could have done without spending an entire morning running around after my sleep-deprived (4 successive nights of screamy meltdown) and un-cooperative son, trying desperately to take a photo in which he is A) vaguely facing the camera B) in focus and C) smiling. I am sending in a birthday card to CBeebies – the UK’s digital pre-schooler’s channel – and to be in with even a tiny chance of a birthday mention, it needs posting today. I took upwards of 200 indifferent shots this morning.

Naturally, the best ones were all out of focus:

Harry blur  harry blur 2  harry blur 3

and I took a huge number that were idiosyncratically composed

Harry off caera 

or seemed to feature an invisible fist

 invisible fist Harry pout 

closed eyes

eyes closed  eyes closed 2  eyes closed 3

or too many teeth for comfort.


He had his own ideas on outside activities: there was much utilisation of my car as a play area,

harry not quite smiling

directing of (invisible) traffic,

directing traffic

imitating elephants,


and… balancing a pen on Daddy’s bike…?

pen balancing

(Seriously: the child’s achievements with cutlery? Slow. Balancing a tiny pen on an even tinier cable? No fucking problem!)

pen cloes-up

Then there were the expressions that were edging towards something a little cheerier…sort of…

nearly a smile  not a smile

nearly a smile 2  not quite a smile

and the basilik expressions that accurately conveyed the moment

Harry angry

Harry glare

and my absolute favourite: the potty FAIL pic.

potty fail

Eventually, he condescended to twitch the corners of his mouth up


and I called the job done.

timmy  timmy2

If the BBC don’t show it, I am cancelling my bloody licence.

He’s from Barcelona

Readers from any country unlucky enough not to be TV-syndicated 1970s British comedy (no no, really, you’ve missed out…) will most likely not understand this at all. I do apologise.

This morning I glanced at the packet in which Harry’s new bath boats arrived, and spotted a fabulous typo.

This made me extremely nostalgic for a bit of Basil, and I have felt strangely compelled to include gratuitous clips for your viewing pleasure. Bizarrely, I could find no decent short clips of Manuel being walloped. Shame!

Changing the subject, Work have left me a phone message saying that they Would Like To Talk. I expect they would like to know when I’m going back to work. If they have hopes of this, I feel they may be due a dashing.

Why should I let the toad work

Squat on my life?

Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork

And drive the brute off?

Ah, were I courageous enough

To shout Stuff your pension!

Philip Larkin; Toads

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