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Friday 27th May 2016


Time to leave behind Charlestown and even though I had the worst week of sleep that I’ve had for months, it was relaxing and fun: perhaps a tad too short a holiday but we packed a lot in. And terrific to spend so much time with Phoebe just as she’s going through a really fun phase.

We loaded up the slightly too small people carrier and headed off to Cheddar to see Phoebe’s Grandma and Grandad. Who coincidentally are also my parents. It’s all nepotism.

I told (and from your point of view probably retold) my wife the stories of how I’d nearly killed both of my parents (in separate incidents). When I’d been about 14 I had been playing with a yellow boule ball in the lounge whilst my dad sat in a chair in the other corner. I pretended to throw the ball at him and he claimed that he’d be able to catch it however hard I threw it. I thought he was crazy. This was a hard plastic ball, but he was quite insistent and I assumed he had some trick or skill or maybe because he was good at cricket he’d be OK. So I threw it at him and he looked shocked and managed to deflect it from hitting him in the head. He’d thought I was playing with a yellow sponge ball, so yeah, his cockiness was much more understandable. But as the boule travelled much harder and faster than he’d been anticipating he was very lucky to have manage to stop it. If he hadn’t then he would have had at least a nasty crack on the head. 

My dad did not remember this story. But he doesn’t remember me kicking him down the stairs when he was chasing me, so is an unreliable witness.

My mum volunteered the story of how I’d nearly killed her. Again as a teenager I had stormed out of the kitchen in a rage (over nothing important I am sure - my wife was surprised to discover that I used to have a quick temper as I am pretty patient and placid these days) and to emphasise how angry I was I slammed the kitchen door. But I slammed it so hard that if flew open again and then came off its hinges and toppled towards my mother. Only the quick thinking of my grandfather jumping up to catch it saved my mother from a solid block of wood smashing into her skull. 

To brain damage one parent may be seen as unfortunate, but I very nearly got both of them. I wonder how close my own child will come to killing me. Let’s hope she does a better job.

We only throw boules and break doors on to the faces and heads of those that we love.

Many people kill their parents on purpose (and who can blame them, parents are idiots, bringing us and loving us and doing all that stuff for us, but never getting HOW WE THINK and trying to stop us HAVING FUN), but God knows how you cope if you manage to do it by accident. But for some quick reflexes I could have changed the course of my family history. Would I have been able to forgive myself? Maybe if they had both been killed, but what if they were just disabled and furiously angry with me forever? 

I would forgive Phoebe if her adolescent fury caused her to smash something hard into my brain. It’s hard to imagine that this cute and funny toddler, who mainly wants to make us laugh and show off a bit, will one day be a petulant and potentially lethal assassin. Though the way she smashed my sandcastles was perhaps a clue to what lurks beneath.

Ah well, fun afternoon and evening with the aged Ps (and aged GPs). I am mainly pleased that I have not (yet) committed patricide and matricide. If I do it I am then going to kill my brother, just so I can get a good poem out of it. Sisters of the world were wise to that danger. Sororicide doesn’t rhyme with much, though if I kill myself I might then kill my sister for the half-rhyme…. wait a minute.

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My new stand up show, Happy Now? will be touring from September 2015 to June 2016 All details here.
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