Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Snouts are the new ears

Here we still are.

What can I possibly find to tell you? This (admittedly oddly pleasant) child wrangling hiatus is even less interesting than me navel gazing. Oh! We found a multipack of dried snouts in Carrefour for the weepette that were obscurely entertaining, but Fingers would not even let me near the camera in case it distracted me from snack duty. Whenever I edged, cautiously, towards the laptop he would summon me back to lay out his biscuit collection by size and colour, or crueller still, commandeer the computer for the dark, dark works of Playhouse Disney.

When not busy bending me to his will, Fingers drew Steve Green, the Stegosaurus. As a stalling mechanism it was of limited success since it was the work of seconds, but we were both pleased with the result.

Steve (and Dave, frequent commenter on these pages):

Life According to Dinosaurs is horribly popular with the spawn. It's the combination of mindless violence and exotic, English swearing ("you ate my arm, ya green fucker!"). They don't know which the English bad words are, but they know they are in there, since I have mentioned it in an unguarded moment. Lashes is desperate to know.

"Is it 'kill' maman? Or 'chess'?"

"No. I'm not going to tell you anyway, you hear enough swearing as it is"

"But what IS it? I won't say it ever I promise"

"It's something I say all the time, so it's hardly new to you"


"No, not that one. STOP ASKING"

As for Lashes, today he made a draughts board with beer capsules for pawns at the house of hippie. Beer capsules play a central rôle in all Belgian cutting and sticking type projects. There's a reason why this:

is a common sight in Brussels' car boot sales. Otherwise I am none the wiser as to what happens at hippie summer school, though I have noticed that the hippies see fit to just allow their charges to wander off into the public park outside at the end of the day with no supervision whatsoever. I am torn between respecting - admiring even - their trusting stupidity, and atavistic fear that my child will be the one who decides to lie down in the road for a bet. Tomorrow I expect they will provide them all with a packet of Rizlas and an eighth of decent grass.

The whole thing is slightly reminiscent of the deprived kids club I used to go to in York (single parent = deprivation in early 80s North Yorkshire). They were always taking us on half-arsed coach trips to local sites of interest and forgetting half of us in Knaresborough, where we would have to find our own way to the nearest police officer and explain our predicament. It was tremendously character building, and noone actually died, to my knowledge.

There's something about this unseasonally warm weather and aimlessness that reminds me of being seven myself. I can't believe the freedom I had - particularly since I think of my mother as being a superlative worrier - even outside of the Terrifying Club for Latchkey Kids Who Wanted To Beat Me To Pulp. I spent the rest of my time roaming around between the seven sweet shops in the Groves, eking out 8p on Cowans Highland Toffee and and trying to poison Alice Gladwin's next door neighbour with midget gems mixed with Baby Bio because we had decided he was a spy. Or taking the rabbit for walks on a lead to the City Walls. Or just wandering aimlessly around the lanes of York in the summer evening pretending to be a pony. I would love Lashes to have that slightly terrifying freedom and you know, I think I trust him not to be any more of an idiot than the next 7 year old. Bring it on, hippies. Do what I don't quite dare to. Give him a jumbo box of matches and a tram pass. Set him free!

Tell me in the comments whether you want to see dried snouts. Cassandra, I am giving you a chance to rock the no vote here. Use it wisely.


reenie said...

ooh, am I the first? Snouts, please, instanter.

Red Shoes said...


Parts of my childhood were full of terrifying freedom too. The parts when it was just my mom and us kids, in between horrific marriages. I remember ages 7 to 10 as being the best, full of fearsome escapades and exploring . How I didn't get killed or kidnapped, I'll never know, but I do know that it was fantastic. And that I could never, ever, ever let my hypothetical child have the same experiences, God no.

Tea said...

Snouts please!

Vanessa said...

Oh dear Nathan, those adorable rosy, bossy little cheeks.

I did horrible, horrible things as a child as a result of no supervision but no one ever died and besides, IT. WAS. AMAZING.

Rémy le puppy is gnawing on some kind of actual animal's hoof at the moment, but he would like to see these snouts to keep his options open.

redfox said...

Vanessa beat me to the comment I was planning to make about the outrageous gorgeousness of your spawn's rosy cheeks. So I will just add to the chorus. How could anyone not want to see snouts? The word itself is so fantastic I must say it again: SNOUTS. Also, I have no idea what the French for snout is. What is it?

My word verification is "manon". Of the spring, naturally!

Jaywalker said...

Redfox - get this, they are called GROINS. The packet reads GROINS SECHEES.

Wafflebebe said...


You know you want to... I was a bizarre 7 YO - spent much time on uk based summer holidays torturing younger sisters and generally being odd- thought was in famous 5- this wouldn't be a problem if I hadn't been 7 in 1994- about a gazillion years after Ginger beer and ripping larks became extinct- set lashes free!! Hippies are terrible and this is what is great about them- he will now either become the cool kid at school or be permanently scarred and resentful and be a supressed but hugely successful hedge fund manager.

Yay. Or an art student- a course of action only worthy of the highest quality freaks. Go team freak!

katyboo1 said...

Please miss. I too would like to see the snouts.

My child is nine and I fear for her life should she be left to roam about freely. This is problematic as she is a) nearly ten and b) going to big school next year. All big schools are miles away and I will have two littlies at a different school.

My one cunning plan at the moment is to post her there using express delivery.

I had tons of freedom and was forever nearly drowning, throwing myself off and into things and having hideous accidents. My kids will never know that pleasure unless we move to a remote desert island.

Mr Farty said...

Dried snouts? How bad can it be? Am I going to regret asking that?

Cassandra said...

As if I'll be able to say ANYTHING to stop you. Do your worst, twisted sister.

livesbythewoods said...

I have an idea.

Go back to the pet food shop and buy some dried pig's ears, then make your own dessicated porker!

I've seen what you can do with common household rubbish and glitter. With ears and snouts to begin with it will be a thing of wonderment.

You're welcome.

(oh this is too good - my verification word is DEADO)

Titian red said...

As I am regularly surrounded by grisly and gristly lumps of dead animal I did not feel it would be fair to place a vote - however for the delight and delectation of F & L I could post a picture of Diggers next bone. We usually get most of a beef shin bone for him - we could say it was from.............. a dinosaur !

victoriark said...

Snouts are go.

pplongstocking said...

I would be curious about the snouts too I have to say..

I am a first time comment doer on your lovely and entertaining blog, but have passed by on several occasions.
I felt compelled to comment to this post as the childhood imagery you conjured up brought me back to being a young scally wag growing up in Dublins' fair city.
I do wish I had thought of using baby bio as a poison, a damn fine idea.
Myself and my friend were regularly trying to poison ALL the boys on our road because we thought they were RUBBISH!
We concocted our own imaginary potion which we would mix in with carefully measured quantities of leaves and erm .. mud.
Happy Days!

Iheartfashion said...

I had a terrifying amount of freedom as a small child too, riding my bike for miles, exploring the woods, climbing trees and jumping off's a wonder I was never seriously hurt.
As a parent I barely let my kids out of my sight, never mind out of the yard. They'll never know the freedom...

Wife in Hong Kong said...

We want GROINS!

As children in the 70s we would tear around the countryside on bikes looking out for the flasher on the common (armed with withering comments and derisive laughter, just in case). As long as we were home for tea no-one worried or cared much where we we went or what we did. I'd love my kids to have that freedom. Will I leave the metropolis to make it happen? You must be joking!

monk said...

I was ambivalent about the snouts before learning they were actually groins. Actually, am still ambivalent.

Unrelated, was overjoyed to come back to the internets after a week's enforced absence and discover that the accusations that I passed cheap remaindered christmas chocolate ornaments off as easter eggs completely unfounded. I should have known the source of all Belgian wisdom would have the answer; I am now vindicated as generous giver of traditional Easter bells, and thank you.

pinklea said...

Oui pour les groins!
As for child freedom, I also had tons. I often left the house right after breakfast and wandered home only when I was hungry. My own child? Never! I truly wanted her to have it, but societal pressure won out. What is now considered proper parenting is very restrictive on kids, but it's SOOOO hard to go against it and still have friends.

redfox said...

GROINS SECHEES = So amazing, so great, that I died. I am dead. But do not mourn me! It was all worth it.

Completely Alienne said...

We did what we liked too - as long as we didn't tear our clothes my mother didn't seem too bothered. In fact I seem to remember being encouraged to get out; strange that. She assumed that I, as the eldest, would keep an eye on the others (and she was right - she had a heavy hand and I am not daft). We went home when we were hungry or it got dark.

aghtheinlaws said...

No snouts! Am I a dissenter. Oh the joys of childhood freedom - I always wonder why people are so fearful as adults, is it because we survived and don't think our offsring will be so fortunate. I'm just as protective/worrier type as the next yet I roamed the streets from the age of 4! Unbelievable now and yet I'm so resourceful because of it.

Pochyemu said...


(That's what Hitler used to yell when his German Shepards would get rowdy.)

Jaywalker said...

Reenie - you are and you have snouts.

RedShoes - I am quite scarily laissez faire. All my fears are concentrated on their mental, rather than physical wellbeing for some reason.

Vanessa - your puppy is called Rémy! He sounds like a French Canadian singer. Photo? Pliz?

Wafflebébé - I could deal with a repressed hedge fund manager, but I would really rather he was maître d at the Wolesley.

katyboo she will be fine. Repeat until your head falls off. Thank you.

Cassandra - just wait and see.

livesbythewoods - how about we add a class to the village fête this year - sculptures made from dog chews? That could be ACE. Will you take part?

Titian - yes. YES. We want to see the great dane with his mammoth bone! by 'we' obviously I mean 'me'.

Pplongstocking - ah, the deadly magic of, er, leaves.

Iheart - oooh go on. Send them to hippie camp!

Wife in HK - well, no. The country would be a few thousand steps too far.

monk - I can write you a note if you want. 'Authentic Easter Bell'

pinklea - ah, those tiny bits of freedom. They are so special.

redfox - ah, we can dry you out and feed you to someone.

aghtheinlaws - we should totally try, but pinklea is right. The pressure is enormous, even though the risks are doubtless no higher statistically than they ever were.

Pochyemu - SNOUTS ARE GO.

Liberty London Girl said...

I spent my pre-ten years going on enormously long bike rides, roaming the countryside, damming streams, climbing trees, etc etc and no one every knew where the hell we were...And I'm perfectly *normal* now...LLGxx

ps I used to take the train (25mins) to school aged six a seul (okay with other kids, but the point is: no parental supervision)

Rebecca said...

I lived in the Groves while I was at York St John university. Smelt mostly of Kitkats.

Jaywalker said...

LLG - me too. Running around on horrible boggy moorside, poking dead things, finding owl pellets, dreaming FRUITLESSLy (cheers dad) of ponies. I sound like a psychopath now. Ah well.

Rebecca - And you miss it now. DON'T YOU. The pervasive smell of After Eight, morning, noon and night. Ah, York.

(Very) Lost in France said...

Too late to vote on the snouts as they have already appeared. Yippee for snouts I say! Have the hippies ever been to France? Here colanders decorated with bottle tops seem to be 'tres tendance'! VLiF

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