Pet Symmetry

Queen of all she surveys
The newest member of Family Little City

The more my kids’ childhoods look nothing like my own (living abroad; live-in maids, backyard swimming pools and so on) the more determined I am to draw some parallels with my own upbringing.

Which brings us neatly to my latest lesson: Pets are fun, and then they die. Continue reading

Pint of No Return

Happy new year! I’ve already failed to keep my New Year’s resolution…while it was still 2015

Charity runner
Ain’t gonna happen

Resolutions are inherently doomed to fail. Making a foolishly grand promise when you’re skint, knackered and retoxed puts a hex on your plans from day one.

It’s a bad time for even the best ideas. Because the best time to decide to run 10K for charity is when you can barely stumble to the fridge…

Which is why I thought I was being clever earlier this week (or last year, depending on your point of view) when I thought I had cracked the annual new year’s resolution conundrum early.

More fool me.

Casting my mind around for something other than ‘better shape up’ (thanks for the Fitbit, Santa), I had remembered something I had done dozens of times before. Something quick, easy, that can be done multiple times in a year, bathes you in an altruistic glow and may just save someone’s life. Continue reading

Empire of the Son

18 months ago, I would have paid good money for someone else to take my son to see The Force Awakens. Now the day is here, however, and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

The Force is strong with this one

There’s a neverending game of parental one-upmanship, in which every participant tries to outdo each other in terms of who’s got it the hardest.

From the sanity-sapping whirlwind engulfing new parents, to the joy sponge that is parenting teens, via an endless trade-off between energy and time, during which almost none of your efforts will be appreciated by the target audience.

But if there are spikes of chaos along the parenting road, then there must also be better times as well. And I’m hyper aware that I’m in one now: an almost mythical spot on the parenting Venn diagram when my kids don’t want to hide away in their rooms all day, and aren’t yet embarrassed to be seen out with me in public.

I know it won’t last – Kid A is now just a year away from officially being a teenager – so I have to enjoy it while I can.

We do things for our kids that can only be explained by love, and willingly come back for more. We forget the sleep deprivation, the crying, the expense, the kit, the logistics, the threats, the coaxing, the hassle, and the punishments; the nightmares, the interruptions, the distractions, the endless demands for time, energy, attention, and money.

We endure the injuries and accidents, the spillages and breakages, the emergencies, the crises of conscience and self doubt. We forget the mess, chaos and bodily fluids.

We put up with it all, willingly – in many cases multiple times over – and why? For days like today.

For a day when my eight-year-old son’s eyes light up like light sabres. For a day he’s been looking forward to probably more than Christmas itself. For the Force to Awaken.

Continue reading

Ghosts of Christmas Past

In which all good things come to those who wait…

Carols at the Embassy
Joyful and Triumphant

To anyone else watching, the scene wouldn’t have looked too momentous: a beautiful winter’s evening in Abu Dhabi, with about a hundred or so Brownies, Girl Guides (like Kid A) and assorted helpers (like Mrs LC) singing Christmas carols and attempting to be heard over the thud of construction deep in the heart of the city.

But to me it was a cathartic, almost spiritual, experience that helped slay a three-year old ghost.

The occasion was the Brownies’ festive concert. Al fresco singing, excited kids, proud parents, the works. Yes, it was 25C outside, so the snow wasn’t so much deep and crisp and even as non-existent, but you can only play the hand you’re dealt, right? Continue reading

Dazed and Confused

I’m experiencing a strange feeling which I can’t quite put my finger on.

I know what it’s not: hitting a wall; I’ve done that before and I know what it feels like when the euphoric rush of relocation just seems to wear off in a heartbeat. This isn’t that.

Spectre Mexico opening
Spectre’s Mexican opening is fantastic. Sadly, it’s all downhill from there

I asked Mrs LC to review an early draft of this post because I didn’t think I was explaining myself very well. “You sound unhappy,” was her verdict. (“Thanks,” I replied, “but what did you think of the article?”) So it’s not that, either.


A demanding new day job to occupy me from 8am-6pm means my role back home has inevitably changed, too. In a daytime twist on the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker, things seem to get done as if by magic while I’m out. (This week, for example, a garden appeared). My kids have new friends over I don’t recognise. Continue reading