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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH
and a reader are both frazzled at half-term ...

Dear Alice,

I am a frazzled mum at half-term, and (you guessed it) it is raining. What on earth can I do to stop my two kids driving each other (and me) crazy?

Violinist, Herts, UK

Dear violinist,

I know, I know. Bad enough that you go increasingly cross-eyed as you get higher and higher (unlike sensible stringed instruments), and now this!!!!!!!!!!

This is how to manage your little problem -- Of course, not everyone has my special organisational skills, but -- even though you never ever get to completely FINISH anything in half-term week -- this is what you can perhaps ASPIRE to:

  1. Shove the washing in the washing machine
  2. Brilliantly forget to put the washing powder in
  3. Rescue the phone from your child, who is desperate to answer it though not to tidy her room, practise her tenor horn, or get out from under your feet
  4. Have a go at the kitchen hob for a whole two minutes before
  5. Rescuing the phone from child (as above)
  6. Forget that she had 'helped' you make brownies and discover, with the aid of a smoke detector, that you have burned them
  7. Console the 'cook' with another batch of brownies, most of which winds up on her prettiest dress (she will wear nothing else, in case she fails to look 'princessy' enough
  8. Have a go at the hob again (it has a sticky tar-like substance on it that you suspect may be uneradicatable
  9. Remember the brownied prettiest dress, and discover you are out of stain remover
  10. Rescue the phone from child
  11. Discover that the phone IS for the child
  12. Stomp back to the hob until you suddenly -- just in time -- remember the brownies ...
  13. ... which have failed to rise yet, so you slam the oven door shut before Rachel notices
  14. You remember that you're working that evening and quickly wash your hair
  15. There is someone at the door, a totally unexpected pupil, who you reassure that yes, of COURSE you were expecting them
  16. Which is probably why you have dripping wet hair, a tar-like substance on your hands and brownie mix on your clothes and no make-up on
  17. The brownies are done
  18. You assure daughter that only the best brownies sink in the middle, although your pupil helpfully points out that HERS never do
  19. You teach child, failing to rescue the phone in the process. You later discover that Rachel has told a double-glazing salesperson that she didn't know that they'd better RING BACK and told your best friend that you'd thought she'd put on a lot of weight recently, or so she'd heard me tell Simon
  20. Your hair has failed to dry properly because of the pupil so you set about drying it but of course you never get to finish it because ...

Copyright © 29 October 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK



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