13 August 2001
8 November 2013
6 December 2013
15 October 2013
18 October 2013
12 February 2014
The Lawyer won a sports car for the weekend in a charity raffle, and we have had no peace since. It was shaped like a sugar mouse, bright yellow, with chrome bits all over the place. The top rolled down at the touch of a button.
"Where's the roof, Daddy?" asked Liability. "Won't you blow away?"
"Ha ha, I'll blow the neighbours away, you mean," chortled the Lawyer.
And he proceeded to take all the neighbours for a spin up the dual carriageway at unheard-of speeds for our neck of the woods. They came back with their hair all over the place (interestingly, one of them came back with no hair at all, whereas when he went out he had a luxurious thatch which we had never suspected of being a wig) and with glazed expressions on their faces.
"I want one," they all said as they clambered out. By the end of Friday evening there was a small crowd of men silently standing around the car, occasionally reaching out a hand to caress the bonnet… or the chrome petrol cap… or the individual seat roll-bars. Deminimus, who had got into the spirit of the thing, leaped forward with a clean cloth and wiped away the offending fingerprints.
"I want one," said the Lawyer in bed that night - or rather, as he stood by the window, looking down at the car in the driveway. "I want one," he said over breakfast. "I want one," as he came back from a completely gratuitous drive to the paper shop (half the Saturday sections had blown off the passenger seat and were now two miles down the road, but he hadn't noticed).
"But it's not very practical, is it?" I pointed out. "I mean, where are you going to put the children?"
"Children?" he asked, with a faraway expression in his eyes, before blasting off to Wales. Or Scotland. Or somewhere at the end of a motorway.
That morning I packed the children off to their classes and went out and hired a people carrier (otherwise known as an MPV for those in the know) for the weekend. "Look," I told the neighbours. "CD player! Drinks and sweetie holders! Air-conditioning! Fold-downable seats! And they're washable!"
"Oooh!" said the girls, who were all standing around, bopping to Madonna on the CD.
"Let's go to the seaside!" someone shouted, and before you could gasp the vehicle was crammed full of mums waving bottles of bubbly. We left messages on the mobiles for husbands to pick up children from swimming, tennis, ballet and street graffiti classes, and swept away. In the evening we came back suntanned, sandy, gorgeous. We spilled out of the MPV, singing at the top of our voices. The Lawyer was polishing the sports car, on his own.
"Where the hell have you been?" he demanded. Turns out he had to spend the whole afternoon ferrying the kids around singly, as even he balked from stuffing the extra ones in the boot. The kids, of course, loved it, waving their hands and little bare legs in the air. The Lawyer got sunburned on his bald spot from keeping the top down all day long. And he'd just come back from putting £40 in the tank following an embarrassing half hour at the petrol station when he realised he couldn't find the button that made the petrol cap open. People in Vauxhalls were laughing at him.
"It's not very practical, is it?" he asked, looking longingly at the MPV, from which the sirens were still decanting.
"I want one," said Subjudice, Deminimus and Liability in unison.