All in the genes

All in the genes

Trying too hard

I moved to a new school when I was 7. Everyone else had started the year before and knew what the hell was going on.

My first ballet class: stretched into a pink leotard, pink ballet skirt and pink satin pumps from Freeds, THE ballet suppliers of London – standing in the Assembly Room surrounded by huge mirrors and wooden bars nailed to the walls. The teacher, hair up in an elegant bun, her cardigan buttoned just so, and sensibly heeled blue polished court shoes faced us and intoned in a sing song voice :-

“Good Morning Girls, today I would like you to be a tree. When the piano begins to play, just imagine yourself rooted in the ground and swaying in the breeze. Try and think of the trees in the park – no Samantha, not the ones with dog poo underneath – some of you may even have trees in your gardens which I expect your naughty brothers like to climb – yes Annaglypta, I know SOME brothers prefers to wear tutus and practice their positions.”

When the music started, probably Schubert, Ravel or Tchaikovsky bashed out by Miss Crotchett on the sturdy upright in the corner, I had moping before me, long-haired Weeping Willows, leaping thick-thighed Oaks testing the sprung wooden flooring to its limits, and a rather splendid Cypress whose arms, locked at the elbow, pointed heavenward as though lift off to Mars was on final countdown.

All the girls seemed to know what to do.

I didn’t. My arms and legs were more wooden than any tree and appeared more like a telegraph pole than anything nature had raised from the ground.

Considering the above, my first school report AGED 7.10 though was surprisingly promising:

7.10 Potential dancer

every potential of being a very good dancer
every potential of being a very good dancer



8.5 Dancing Report

she tries a little too hard
She tries a little too hard


Uses arms all the time

Using her arms all the time
Using her arms all the time


Here is my husbands first ever report: In the days when Radio 4 was still the Home Service, Radio 2 was The Light Programme, and they wrote DRILL instead of PE.

AGED 4.8

School report

Then and now

So a genetic evaluation might say that our combined genes could have created another Usain Bolt, Darcey Bussell or Andy Murray. Possible. But unlikely. If its all in the genes, our son didn’t stand a chance. Here are our little one’s reports from his earliest sporting days:-

AGED 5.5

Close to friends

Close to friends

AGED 5.10

Head on the floor

Head on the floor

AGED 6.5

Major Muscles

Major Muscles

Anyone there at the back remember what Mr Kierkegaard said?

“Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards “

Was Mr Kierkegaard right?

What do I know? That our son, even before he was born, cleverly selected parents who don’t like to leap out of bed on a wet Saturday morning and stand around yelling at other parents next to a games pitch.

Lazy? Me?

Yeah. Well. Whatever.


Getting Older

When did you stop wanting to get older? For me it was about 33-35. Until then, I only ever wanted to be a Grown-Up. Being a younger sister, I never felt this was really possible – there was always SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED two years ahead, and I was always playing catch-up. But then everyone around…Continue Reading

Get Fit !

Get Fit !

I’m on stage at The Oxford Playhouse next week and need to shape up. I found an excellent way of both having the toned muscles of a Wimbledon champion and getting to embarrass my child at the same time. Watched a Get Fit video from the USA and have been religiously copying Mrs Workout to…Continue Reading

Tolerance and respect

Tolerance and respect

    I am posting this illustration in the hope that even if no one sees it, my little drawing of the fictional town of Cattleford with its university and many places of worship, (from the front cover of my children’s book), may radiate some its harmonic image into the real world.   Previous post  Also … how…Continue Reading

Be Happy

            My 9 year old son didn’t believe he’d won a prize for his illustrated poem last week, but when we arrived at The Story Museum in Oxford last week, and saw his work mounted and framed on smart black display panels, he looked hugely relieved. The charity Family Links…Continue Reading

Stand Up

    How do you get your family to do what you want them to? Embarrass them. Always works for me. Recently – on the Comedy Workshop in Greece – we got the chance to show off big time. It was fun. I loved it. Came back home with a whole set of tools to make relations…Continue Reading