Hot House

Yule live to regret this

On seasonal stress

School fees panic is intense. The irony being that we don’t pay them … our parents do. But naturally the onus is still on Will and me to keep up with the scare stories,while the boomers contemplate their clutter i.e. Imminent VAT on school fees, with impending Labour government. This has now morphed into all the kids’ schools offering us the option to pay a lump sum now, in case of a hike next year.

Will went for this in a big way, determined to convince his parents that it would be “an investment in their grandchildren”. Not foreseeing that a) his mother refuses to even entertain the prospect of a Labour government and
b) his dad is massively offended by the implication that he might let down his side of the bargain if/when a hypothetical Labour government were to hike the fees by 20%.

In other words, as usual, all Will’s efforts have achieved is added festive tension. Which there was no shortage of, chez Savage-Gore. Other annual family arguments include: tinsel and the naffness thereof, whether Christmas, Actually the musical has cultural value or not (my mother wanted to take the kids to The Nutcracker, they didn’t want to go), whether it’s tight to have a tree less than six foot (obviously) and whether or not Minecraft merchandise is allowed on the Christmas list (emphatically not).

And that’s before all the usual school hell of Christmas Jumper Day, volunteering for three school Christmas fairs
(kill me immediately), watching three Christmas plays in which your own child only ever has a line, attempting to get Hector to draw a Christmas card before the deadline knowing it won’t be good enough to send out, Amazon Priming my way through five grand’s worth of shit presents etc etc. In other words, December is the usual write off.

I’m aiming no higher than everyone being alive by the 31st. speaking of which, we are now firmly in the teen years for Minnie, cue full wheedling campaign for a 1am New Year’s Eve curfew. So far, she has had to be home from any Kings Road/St John’s Wood wandering by 11pm. Thanks to her Apple AirBit tracker and various nightmare mothers all texting our WhatsApp group “Where are they?” “Why are the girls not back yet?” this has been doable so far. But clearly it’s
awkward to insist upon a pre-midnight return on New Year’s Eve … except if we cave on this we’ll never have her home
before midnight again. And guess who will be stuck waiting up, poised — sober — to go on a search and rescue mission, come 2am? Why did I have children? Why?

Worse, apparently drinking, vaping and worse is now unremarkable in Minnie’s world. Not according to Minnie, who maintains that they go to Pizza Express and drink milk, but the other mothers on the tracking/spy group, who are adamant they are “really close” with their daughters and that “their girls tell them everything”. As a result, they apparently have superior intelligence on how much each child is drinking/vomiting. I actually don’t want to know — while obviously very much wanting to know.

As for January, current resolutions are:

✖ Get new couples therapist (don’t rate the current one, she keeps saying that “nobody is wrong or right”, which is clearly BS)
✖ Get new therapist for Lyra (see above, though this woman’s line is “Well, we don’t know, do we?” Which isn’t doing anyone any favours)
✖ Sort out loft (perennial January favourite)
✖ Print out all photos ever (see above)
✖ Sort out own face/arse/hair (see above)

Happy Christmas x

This article is taken from the December-January 2024 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

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