Je mange donc je suis

My daughter is due back from France at the weekend.  I must hurry up and finish the crisps before she gets home.

I’m worried about her.  Her eating habits are terrible.  She nibbles at mealtime and pushes her plate away half finished.  We find crisp packets and sweet wrappers stuffed down the back of the sofa and in the sock drawer.  When she says she’s going to the village shop to post a letter, we suspect her of economising with the truth.  She has neither energy nor enthusiasm for exercise, nor the ability to concentrate on anything other than her phone and the TV, usually at the same time.

If only she ate better, wouldn’t she feel better, have more energy, get fitter, find it easier to apply herself and stand a better chance of making a success of the important A level year that lies ahead?

We try to help her by not filling the cupboards with tempting things like cakes, biscuits and crisps.   When my son comes home, he’s indignant.  “Why isn’t there anything worth eating in this house?” he yells.  We explain the reason.  “That’s so rubbish!”

When she went off to France for a week, I thought it was safe to buy some crisps, as a special treat.  A bag of six packets for £1 – wow!  Silly not to buy two bags.

On Thursday I had to go into school and get her A/S results. She had nominated me as less likely to “busybody around”, comparing notes with other parents.

I had a date with the dentist after a tooth fell out on holiday last week, but he agreed to see me at 08.30 and finished excavating and rebuilding my jaw within the hour.  “You might consider seeing the hygienist before we meet again,” he said, peeling off his paper face mask with veiled disgust.

At school I barged my way through the melee of parents and daughters.  The A level after-party was in full swing.  My daughter’s teacher handed me a sealed envelope.  “You can open it if you like,” she said.  “Will she be pleased, or should I sit down?” I asked nervously.  “She ought to be,” said Mrs Thwaites, adding that I could probably disregard the sheets of paper detailing procedures for a remark.

aaa, seemed to be message.  I was surprised to see the grades written in lower case, I must say.  “Does that mean she’s got three As?” I asked.  “Yes,” said Mrs Thwaites.

100% in French (oral and written).  How do you achieve that?  Would Voltaire have got 100% in French?  What about all the mistakes my daughter told us about after the exam?  How can I hope to persuade her to eat better, after results like that?

After guzzling the last remaining packets of crisps, I awarded myself and the more compliant of our two dogs an evening round of golf in celebration of the weather forecast, which announced the end of summer.   It was a beautiful balmy evening on the Berkshire Downs, with no one else on the course and a sweet whiff of pigswill wafting across the fairway on the south-easterly breeze.

“How was your golf ?” asked my wife when I got back.

“Even worse than usual,” I replied truthfully, pouring myself a large whisky. “Perhaps it’s all the crisps I’ve been eating.”






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