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MOTHERING SUNDAE: Betting on a route to recovery
WE HAVE been plagued with a nasty virus in the house for the past 10 days.
While the Daughter was as spotty as a speckled hen and hot as a chicken dinner, the boys were subsumed in a cacophony of coughing barely matched in any doctor’s waiting room across the land.
Their early-morning hacking marathons would have put any cockerel’s beak right out of joint. And I’m no patient, nor patient: I may have avoided any physical manifestations but suffered by proxy with the grump of waning tolerance (informally known as cow-prox) and the Grouch of Illness pervaded the house.
My medicine chest is comparable to the bikini chest of an androgynous supermodel – really rather scanty – and consists of three things.
The first is a gel-filled Mr Bump that lives in the fridge door with the lemon, ginger and garlic and is in constant fear of being accidentally sliced for a Thai stir-fry.
The second is a stockpile of plasters each the size of a penny piece. I regularly buy mixed boxes promising great variety but all the useful shapes seem to vanish. I’m beginning to think the children are involved in some kind of black market plaster racketeering.
The wonderdrug, Calpol, is last but not least in my armoury. I prescribed this over-the-counter nectar to my under-the-weather brood and then, to while away the time while we were cooped up in the recovery position, I taught them to gamble.
As the Grand National bore down upon us, I gave them each £1, the horse-racing odds, and the benefit of my experience. This was primarily competing in a pantomime horse relay at the 2008 Kingston Bagpuize village fete.
We lined up on the sofa with hotdogs and onions to evoke an Aintree atmosphere. I acted as a bookie, betting dangerously that despite yelling themselves hoarse, none of the children would pick the winner. I was right. And next year I might even put money on it.
- Esther Browning is festival director of Oxfordshire Artweeks in May. See artweeks.org
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