Wednesday, 28 May 2014


This is us.

The title of tonight’s half term midweek Drake Towers Cinema 7pm special showing (or to give it its full moniker: One Direction: This Is Us), sums up tonight perfectly.

My 15-year-old daughter had her new friend round. During the hugely-anticipated visit, her 13-year old New Best Friend was treated to games, tea, the 1D film, carefully weighed-out popcorn, and a sleepover.

They met three weeks ago, on a Prader-Willi Syndrome Association family weekend. They clicked, in a shy/not-talking too much/chatting when prompted/content/sitting near each other/smiling/stealing glances/oddly sociable/PWS way. Today's half term fun and frolics were tentatively arranged.

First, I had a grand old chinwag with PWS NBF’s mum, while the girls went upstairs to check out the sleeping arrangements, under attack from Annoying Little Brother, who was in Full On Show Off Banzai mode.

Then Mum nipped off home, with us both ridiculously content at just not having to bother with the usual PWS conversation about food, and portions, and banned grub, and acceptable nosh. I knew. She knew I knew. It wasn’t a thing.

Board games were played: our visitor brought Scattergories, where spelling and quick-thinking were required. It was a little challenging for both of them, but they piled in willingly, managing to come up with a celebrity and a herb beginning with O: Olly Murs and Oregano. (Or was it the other way round?) Next, we lightened things up with a game of Ladybirds, which is aimed at 3-7-year-olds, and involves rolling a dice and turning over cards, to find, predictably enough, ladybirds. They shrieked with delight when they got three bugs on a leaf, and giggled and groaned when they got the worst cards: "I've got a none! Oh no, another none!"

I then had two kitchen assistants whilst making the tea, which was a triumph, of course. (If ever you want to be complimented on your cooking, invite someone with PWS round. The pair of them were so appreciative of the Hairy Bikers’ diet enchiladas, that I’ve stuck four Michelin stars on my front door). The successful meal prompted a dreamy discussion about food, which lasted a good half hour.

Finally it was onesies on and 1D on. My daughter has a loud, almost hysterical, nasally, honking laugh, which is one of my favourite sounds in the world. Her NBF has one just like it. They’d been duet honking throughout the evening. Only now it wasn't laughter, it was the glorious honk of 'singing' along to every word of every song - one of the sweetest sounds I’ve heard, despite it bridging the gap between Simon Le Bon and a braying donkey. Which, as you well know, is a very narrow gap.

Meanwhile, my husband had been charged with keeping annoying little brother out of the way. He failed. The three foot anarchist, watching Harry Potter in the other room, had obviously picked up some lessons in mild swearing from Ron Weasley, which he felt he needed to share. He broke ranks near the end, bursting through the door, cocking his head to one side, and yodelling the immortal lyric-mangle: “You light up my life like no bloody hell! You don’t know you’re bloody hell!”.

As you can imagine, mayhem ensued. The worshipping congregation on the sofa (both equally disapproving of rude words) reared up, in indignant unison, and yodelled back: “You light up my life like NOBODY ELSE! You don’t know you’re BEAUTIFUL!” 

I looked at them both, as the world’s worst minder scooped the potty-mouthed usurper from the room and took him to bed for a stern talking to. The girls sat there, giggling, slightly shocked, my daughter and her new buddy, like peas in a pod. 

They’re upstairs, fast asleep, in my daughter’s bedroom, having cleaned their teeth with their new 1D toothbrushes (my girl's presented to her by her NBF as a surprise gift).

As Ron Weasley and Harry Styles might jointly say: bloody hell, they don’t know they’re beautiful.

Video is One Direction: What Makes You Beautiful. Nah, not really, I've just sat through the blinkin' film, I'm not subjecting you to it, too. Here's Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - There She Goes, My Beautiful World.

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