What Man Has Joined Together Let No Man Put Asunder

photo (7)Union or no union that is the question on many minds tonight.

Take Gabriel. We might as well give him a biblical pseudonym. I am really keen in preserving this man’s right to remain anonymous. He is going through a terrible time from the snippets I gathered from his parable; so the least I can do is afford him one of the many basic human rights that he is so convinced was taken away from him.

Gabriel is a man who is a strong advocate of the better together campaign. Better together as a family: Mum- Dad- Children. But his visions were short lived. It transpired after what he described as a minuscule marriage lifespan that his wife had other plans. She didn’t share his apparition, so she devised an evil plan to eliminate his presence and put a callous end to this union. She ignored the majority vote comprised of Dad and Child for a union. It wasn’t long before he found himself in the dog-house with the law enforcement agencies imploring him to surrender or to suffer the consequences of an alleged domestic violence case he was accused of.

At times, during his narration he seemed so close to welling up that I had to call a time out and excuse myself to the toilet so as to avoid witnessing a nervous breakdown. Such scenes are too disturbing for someone who is emotionally unstable these days to witness. I either cry in solidarity with the person (bogies and all) or I lend a sound track of intermittent nervous laughter to an already awkward situation. I am never quite sure which way the hormonal wind will blow. And frankly, I don’t get paid enough to provide my new boss with a shoulder to cry on nor am I professionally equipped to deal with such cases. Is there organisational training for such things because I sure as heck didn’t get any..?!

By the time I visited the toilet for what was the dozenth time in the space of an hour and this time Gabriel being at a real breaking point, closer than ever to a point of no return… I decided to save us both from the imminent. To borrow the local vernacular save him face, and of course protract my sanity!

So I resorted to the only thing I know when placed in such discomfiture – verbal diarrhoea! This time it took an unintended, unexpected religious turn. Gabriel and I were both taken aback

I went on a self-inflicted sermonette on how God knows best, and how Gabriel should put his trust in Him and that everything will work itself out, with the help of God that is!

His pupils retracted those tears faster than I could have anticipated. They were now widening and awestruck. Relieved of their heavy watery task they were now beginning to dance in joy given the gospel I just dropped.

He spoke of marriage idealisms that I haven’t encountered since Sudan was one country. “My son needs his dad”, he would contest. “It is not good for him to grow up in this world fatherless”. “I can’t even see him”, he said dejectedly; those tears threatening to do a comeback. I quickly reasumed my sermonette.

“God is on your side Gabriel” I reassured him. “He won’t leave you to face this alone. Put your trust in him and He won’t disappoint you”.

I was more than happy to continue with this theological monologue, to avoid witnessing this man cry or until the clock indicated home time. God seemed to have answered my prayers because my escapade was nearing. Ten minutes to home time.

He spoke with the fervour of a new convert. “My wife should obey me” he would contest. “She shouldn’t have done what she did and gave me the respect that I deserve as head of the family”. His conviction was infectious I almost believed him too. Thanks to my caffeinated beverage of choice at the time, my sound judgement was somewhat still intact.

The last time such levels of subservience was being practised anywhere; Scotland and England were embarking on a not so holy matrimony of their own…Heck the last time anyone really practised such nonsense the world was one big fat country!

“I still love her though despite everything”, he eventually declared. “I just want us to be united”. I don’t know why the preacher in me turned devil’s advocate. “Maybe she doesn’t want unity, maybe she wants to move on with her life, maybe this union you so desire isn’t a healthy solution for all parties concerned, maybe it is better to part ways. You know how the saying goes if you love something you should set it free. Self-determination and all that jazz”!

I can wholeheartedly attest that this wasn’t the best thing I ever said. He looked troubled. This was troubling. Can I possibly get sacked over this? Shall I just resign now?

“I want to punish her”, he finally said after few moments. “I am going to marry a second wife, then she’ll realise my worth”. Nothing like being part of a concubine to make you realise your husband’s worth, eh.

I felt obliged to reiterate the position of the English legal system on polygamy given that this man was already on bail. Lock yourself up and throw away the keys while you are at it, why don’t you?!

He saw some sense, i think. I saw a man that needed professional help. I could also foresee an ugly divorce battle ensuing.

But it wasn’t long before he started questioning me on how one can acquire a second wife. This was now worrying. I wasn’t sure at which point in this conversation did I indicate that I had a spreadsheet priming with details of women wanting to take the leap into concubine-hood! This was messed up. I was insulted. I acted like I didn’t hear his question.

My Casio watch starting beeping indicating my release. I did my time and I was more than ready for my freedom. “Gabriel I would love to continue this talk with you but I have got to go now”, I said. God doesn’t like liars I reminded myself. He apologised fervently for keeping me behind and offloading his problems on me. Will my services be rewarded with a promotion, I wanted to add?!

“Do you have any children?” he asked just as I was leaving. “No”, I replied. “Ohhh so you won’t possibly know the feeling of parenthood”, he conquered.




I didn’t think you had such cattiness in you!


Grapes Are Not The Only Fruit

I am someone who has had the good fortune of being borne and brought up in a household full of feminist hypochondriacs. From a young age I was indoctrinated with the ways of the world albeit cryptically. As a child you don’t appreciate the linguistic wonders of metaphors, analogies and proverbs which my parents utilised more often than I could recall and thus I was unable to fully comprehend the gravity of what messages my parents were attempting to convey to me. I was too busy chasing balls (strictly of the leather type), being a tom boy and advancing my skills as a centre forward to care too much for their crypticism.


With little assistance from the Angels and the Almighty or so my mother tells me I came into this world. I was always a cheery go lucky child who grew up to be a bit too trusting of strangers, or so my father tells me. So unbeknown to me my parents devised a plan to ensure that I don’t grow up too gullible especially where men are concerned and later in my teenage life – girls. My mother was always of the belief that girls are a mischief and having brought up five girls she was of the belief too that this was her golden ticket to heaven – My mother works in mysterious ways!


I was born at an unfortunate time where the joys of wondering off as a child were slowly diminishing. Though things were not as bad as they are now but the signs were cropping up. There were the odd horror stories here and there concerning children.


Years of primary socialisation that my parents took upon themselves remained forever ingrained in my brains. My mother used to say “strangers are friends you are yet to meet and I’ll be sure it stays that way”. We can all conclude that I had a sheltered life.


Consequently, as an adult hypochondriac woman with Feminist tendencies, I am weary of unsolicited conversations, gifts and offerings from people who I am not familiar with. Not so long ago a male colleague started working with us. Unfortunately before we could get to know each other I jetted off on much deserved and belated annual leave from work. I am unsurest as to what happened in that time but all I know is that grapes are a thing for this guy.


I am not aloof and I am not overtly friendly either. I am particularly volatile capricious pre 12pm. I don’t ask for much, all I want is to be left alone with my coffee and respond to whatever vituperation humans have via the best mode of communication invented for folks like me- Emails! Save the world one human at a time with few unicorns and mermaids thrown in for a good measure.


Post 12:00 pm a different woman emerges; one that is more receptive to other modes of communication including the occasional human format; I’ll even hmm and ahh at few office gossips! Suspending my frivolous digression and coming back to the story at hand… So when someone disturbs this little routine and wants to engage in some small talk pre 12:00 pm with offerings of grapes that I don’t know where they have been, I am a little taken aback. When someone offers me grapes that I don’t know where they have been and then instructs me to eat them as they watch me; I am more than taken aback.


My hypochondria comes out in full blow. I assume some verbal diarrhoea about how it is lunch time and studies show that grapes are best eaten after food and how the acidity found in grapes can cause untoward incidents to someone’s intestines.


All the inculcating ideas on how I shouldn’t talk to strangers my parents instilled in me as a child do go out of the window every now and then. I like to give people benefit of the doubt, most of the time anyway. So I got talking to this individual. There is something inviting about me despite all my attempts at staying aloof. Our exchange was plagued by platitude at best, mendacity at worst.


I don’t know if this guy has some weird grape fetish, or whether I show signs of grape malnutrition or if it is just his way of peace offering- maybe a triangulation of all three. I don’t know…


All I know is my germ sirens have been giving off prolonged warning signs. I have had few sleepless nights worrying about all the possible germs I might have contracted. I have rescheduled few meetings in an attempt to disinfect my desk, only for Mr. Grapes to come back with yet more lashings of the damn fruit personally hand washed by him. I also know that I probably erased all possible signs of natural oils in my hands due to excessively washing them.


In hindsight I wish I feigned an allergy to grapes but then again grapes aren’t the only fruit and I believe where there is a will there is a way.


There was a banana on my desk this morning!


I wonder how much time one should allow to lapse before one can report suspicious behaviour on the grounds of gratuitous grapes?!



Parenting 101

Parenting 101

I have a new form of admiration for parents. Last week my sister has foolishly wisely trusted me with her two children. And thus I was thrusted into the world of parenthood with no afore mentioned training or manual. Being an acting-in parent is just so exhausting and I can’t even begin to imagine what the real gig is like!

One of the main reasons I am not a parent yet and happily (carelessly would be the chosen adverb here if my mother was the author) allowing the number of good eggs I have dwindle away is precisely that. I can just about manage to take responsibility for myself let alone have another living being(s) solely depend on my good counsel… I mean what even constitutes as “good”?

I am a chocoholic with no self-restraint and I don’t believe anyone should be deprived of it. Milk on the other hand, now that is gross, I wouldn’t force anyone to have it in fear of forever loathing it. And this is coming from an experienced soul who was tortured as a child with my father’s weird concoction of cardamom and honey infused milk. **gags at the memory** I now have an irrational fear of all three ingredients; I wouldn’t want my niece and nephew to follow suit. Do I mind children playing outside for extended periods of time..? No, not at all, by all means please do. Why would anyone say no to some peace and quiet watching some good old telly without the need to have subtitles and voice-over simultaneously on because of the noises these littlins make! It is truly mystifying.

Of course the end result of my non-conformist untraditional parenting strategy results in rearing insomniac children who are hyperactive, with a Maritime stench, suffering from calcium deficiency and superfluous melanin! Yaay me!  This is probably the underlying reason why I am my niece and nephew’s favourite aunt.


In my quest to be an infallible acting-in parent, I concurred that I should dive straight into all things parenthood; I am not one to do things half-heartedly. So I befriended other parents whom I now had common grounds with, albeit temporary, who have kindly indoctrinated me in all things parenting. I must say I am well versed in a new kind of acronyms these days such as the likes of SEN, LEN, LEA and PTA. I now find myself championing causes that were not so long ago foreign to me. I find myself campaigning for small classroom sizes in schools and volunteering at various events. I even had my own stall bursting with homemade goodies at one of the events. I believe they were called cake bake, cake sale, sell cakes, bake sell cakes, sell bake cake…who knows something to that effect anyways.

My diary now indicates school term times where it once indicated cherished bank holidays. My lifestyle now revolves around childcare duties and forward planning is pretty much part of my realm these days. Spontaneity has taken a backseat in favour of forward planning and that child psychology module I did in my undergraduate days has finally come to some good use.  Yes positive encouragement … that I do utilise quite a bit; stick and carrot chocolate, yes that treatment is quite handy too and a bit of 10 minute strikes here and there does a child (and my sanity) wonders. My egg-timer is called upon in such instances where it once notified me if my quadruple chocolate brownie (yes quadruple you heard it right) was ready to be scoffed, I mean taken out of the oven.

Quadruple Chocolate Brownie

Quadruple Chocolate Brownie

I now know the various after-study school clubs within a 10 metre radius of my post code. I even attended my first ever parents meeting. Of course I attended numerous parents evenings few decades ago but not in my current elevated role as an enquirer of my supposed children’s academic attainment but more as a culprit that needed reporting. Those teachers always found the need to report me to my parents for all sorts of trivia; from the sublime to the ridiculous. My personal favourite was from my science teacher who said that I daydreamed a fair bit in her class. Unbeknown to all parties to that conversation then, such was to be my case forever more. Of course my parents didn’t see day dreaming as trivia. To them if something warranted a report regardless of how big or small it was, then it must be serious. The meeting I attended last week though was altogether different.

I sat amongst other parents where we discussed the faith of the after school club. Our good counsel was called upon to determine the next course of action. There was no time or frankly patience for indecisiveness so I quickly relinquished such known idiosyncrasies and put on my sensible parent hat and thought deep and hard about what I the parent would say should say.  There were penetrating questions (clearly to other parents) thrown in on us. Such as should we still have classes during the Easter break? I with my sensible parent hat on uttered the unthinkable… “Sure lets have classes during the Easter break”.  Because in my head I was thinking parents would need their children at some form of an educational asylum to keep them sane… Nope I was mistaken!

This is what I imagine a sensible parent hat to look like!

This is what I imagine a sensible parent hat to look like!

It transpired that everyone else voted for having Easter off because as one parent put it “they needed a break from toing and froing the length of the city“… I had to quickly retract my vote and act in unison. Clearly I suck at this. I can’t wait to hand over my acting-in parent role and resume my permanent favourite aunt role.

As if the universe was telling me something, I was introduced once more to the world of parents and children this week, though this time in my place of employment working on infrastructure and capacity building for early years. If you are baffled by that it is just a shamancy phrase for working with parents. Seriously you don’t have to be a superstitious person to sense that the cosmos are trying to convey some sort of a message here. I am not a superstitious person, you know what let me go and decipher this cryptic terseness first before I make any ill-founded claims … which reminds me I mustn’t walk through that scaffolding on my way out later.