Thursday, 4 October 2018


It’s my daughter’s 20th birthday today.

That floppy, limp, beautiful scrap of a baby girl has grown up to the grand, towering height of 4ft 10½in, and spent every day of the last two decades making life more full of life.

She opened her presents this morning before her minibus picked her up for college. She was stuffing her mobile phone into her rucksack, her ears - and mine - still ringing from the hearty rendition of Happy Birthday sung to her over 3G by her baritone-voiced friend Kevin.

Another birthday, another day of wonder.

I’m dreading next year, though. 

You see, every year, around her birthday, she talks about having a tattoo. And every year I tell her she needs to wait until she’s at least 21.

I wouldn’t mind so much, if I could be confident of steering her towards something discreet. 

“How about a tiny flower?,” I suggested, “Or the pretty feather from the PWSA UK logo? Something...nice.”

Her response to any suggestions is always a stubborn stare and a firm "No!". But lately there's something else, something specific. A choice. Her choice.

“I want a pug. A pug in a doughnut.”

(The idea for this stinky inking came up on a Google Images search for pug tattoos, for which her cousins will never be forgiven). 

My response? 

“I’d rather buy you both a doughnut and a real pug before I let you get that monstrosity.”

I think she now thinks we’re getting a dog.

Song is The Trumpet Hornpipe (Theme from Captain Pugwash).

Monday, 1 October 2018


I’m just about to hit the sack after a weekend of Prader-Willi wonder with my tribe. 

My tribe is a rare and beautiful thing. A weird and wonderful collection of tots, toddlers, kids, teenagers, and adults with the same rare chromosome disorder.

Also included in the clan are siblings, parents, grandparents, and a bunch of dedicated staff from the PWSA UK (the tribe-wrangling charity that organised the Family Weekend at a strangely-monikered New Forest holiday park). New faces, old friends, all with common jitters and joys.

The event is one my daughter is extremely obsessed with, and can’t bear to miss. Her anxiety - always potentially flammable - was on tinderbox tenterhooks this year, because we’d not been able to book our place until a few weeks ago. (I wasn’t going to dob her in here, but sod it: my mum was terminally ill, and my girl waited nearly an entire day after her nanna died before she could contain herself no longer and blurted out: “Does this mean we can go to Sandy Balls?” It was heart-breaking and kind of funny. This mix is not unusual amongst our tribe).

So this weekend we met up and chatted, played, painted stuff, took a train ride, cuddled dogs, paddled, swam, jacuzzied, walked some alpacas, barbecued, tombola-ed, frisbeed, giggled, cajoled, soothed, whispered, yelled, smiled, held hands, drank, quizzed, and hijacked the dance floor. 

These are all things that we can do elsewhere (apart from walking some alpacas, I’d struggle to do that any place else, I’ll give you that). We can go to parties, mix with other families, have a holiday, but what we don’t usually have is our tribe. The people who get it. The people who KNOW. And sometimes that's all you need.

Song is A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It?