Saturday, 7 June 2014


Sometimes I’m terribly British. Not in the swivel-eyed, frothing at the mouth, UKIPping sense, more like in the queuing in an orderly fashion, being faintly embarrassed by fuss sort of sense.

We spent the afternoon at a school fete, watching tugs of war, taking potshots at coconuts, and launching water bottle rockets into the air.

The kids both took part in a rugby try-out session: my daughter ambling along, making doe-eyes at the nice man who came to talk to her at school about the game a few of months ago (see blog post Nuffink), my son discovering an unusual technique of putting his hand behind his back and running head first into the tackle mat like a baby rhino.

I bought some tickets in the raffle (and here was where the British bit kicked in). I’d asked the seller if it was a pound a strip, and she nodded, and when I asked for two strips she painstaking wrote my details on the tickets before not giving me any change. It was then I realised she’d meant a pound a ticket. So I stood there, all British, with my £10 worth of raffle tickets, feeling like a numpty, kind of wanting to ask to give my overspend tickets back. And then I thought, sod it. It’s a good cause: schools are always short of cash for decent play equipment and the like. Plus, it’ll be a bit awkward. So I left, with my ten tickets, and a purse that was considerably emptier than I’d planned.

And then the plaguing started. “Are we staying to hear when we win the raffle, Mum? What are we going to win? When are they calling the numbers?” My daughter was in full Repeating Zebra mode. Let me explain this further: the repeating bit is the perseveration common in children and adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome - an anxious fixation on a subject, usually displayed by the incessant repetition of the same question over and over again. The zebra bit is the slightly autistic, everything is black and white, there are no shades of grey thing. In this case, we had bought raffle tickets, ergo we would win a raffle prize.

She continued: “We are going to win, aren’t we? They will pick our number won’t they? When are they picking our number?” And then my son started joining in, bouncing alongside her on the tightrope of my patience, which was already sagging from the nagging.

So I was forced to take a deep breath and launch into a explanation of how you cannot expect to win every time you enter a competition. I patiently told them both how there were hundreds of people at the fete and only a few would have their numbers picked out and would win a prize. I explained that we would not enter any competitions at future events if they couldn’t learn to lose gracefully, and to accept that somebody else’s good fortune is not a reason to be sad or angry.

So of course we won.

I suppose it was karma. By being overly generous, albeit by accident, and buying those extra tickets by mistake, a bit of good luck came my way. It was, of course, one of the ‘extra’ numbers wot won it. A haul so sizeable* that I had to bring my car round of the back of the school because we couldn’t carry it all. 

"I told you, Mummy. You see. I told you."

"Yes, yes you did."

"I was right. Usually I am, you know."

*A Homebase charcoal BBQ
Family day out at Thurleigh Farm Centre (worth £35)
£20 Morrisons vouchers
£20 hairdressers’ vouchers
2 x Personal Training Sessions
Bottle of champagne
Two bottles of wine
A large, potted fuschia 
Two costume jewellery rings
24 litre Asda cooler box
6 piece plastic picnic set
Waterproof backed picnic rug
Thermos-style coffee cup
‘Wimbledon’ sunglasses

Video is John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band- Instant Karma

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