STOWED: Everything had its place in the Devereaux's new bus set-up ... until day two.
STOWED: Everything had its place in the Devereaux's new bus set-up ... until day two.

Burst sinks and a word to the wise

"BRUCE!” came the shout across the park here at the Kenilworth Showgrounds where we've pulled up for a couple of days. "Bruce!”

I did my best impersonation of a man running. All of the puffing and exertion without any actual perceivable increase in speed.

Judging by the urgency of her voice, my concern was the hot water pipe under our sink had burst again. That would make three times today - the very first day of our big leg down to Victoria. The bloody thing had exploded all over the inside of our newly installed kitchen twice this morning. Once before I fixed it and, frustratingly but not entirely unexpectedly, once afterwards.

The first time it happened Tracey screamed so gut-wrenchingly I thought she'd scorched herself, but it turned out she was picturing all the cabinetry warping.

I completed my 50m 'sprint' to our bus in record time.

By which I mean you could probably have played the better part of an entire 80s LP.

But the problem wasn't I found a busted pipe so much as I'd seemingly been busted. Or so Tracey seemed to think.

"Your daughter,” Tracey said accusingly as she pointed behind her to a highly amused looking Miss10, "was just quoting me something she saw on the internet.”

I breathlessly swung into action.

"I don't know why you're looking so pleased with yourself,” I said to Miss10 because she was a bit smug and Tracey was looking a lot cranky. "What were you saying?”

If anything, my daughter's grin got wider as she said, bold as brass, "I think the one Mum really didn't like was f**kwit.”

Only she said it with all the letters included!

I don't think I've ever heard this particular daughter say that word before. I mean, I've caught her lips moving to the chorus of CeeLo Green's F**k You a few times, but she's had the good sense to mumble.

My stunned, wide-eyed expression darted from Miss10 to Tracey and back again.

As I opened my mouth to admonish our daughter it occurred to me Tracey's whole demeanour was one of crankiness with her arms clamped across her chest, but also that she was glaring at me rather than Miss10.

I was missing something here.

Nothing unusual in that, so I ploughed on.

"What on Earth are you watching?! You know we've got rules about the internet and if you can't stick to them then you'll be banned from using your iPad. We won't have you parroting that sort of rot.”

As Miss10 launched into a predictable, "But, Dad...,” I risked a glance back at Tracey just to make sure I was doing well.

Her facial expression had softened. Good, I thought. The slightly confusing bit was she was now giving off a bemused sort of 'he's such an idiot' vibe.

"Don't give me that 'but, Dad' nonsense,” I carried on. "You are not to hang about trash sites which use that sort of language. Hey, Mummy,” I added, hoping to rope her in with a little support.

"How about a site which uses the phrase 'nut chokers'?” Tracey asked me.

"Really?” I said, my voice up a pitch and my head shaking solemnly.

"Or fruit loops?” went on Tracey.

Ah, now they were starting to sound vaguely familiar.


"But, Daddy,” repeated Miss10, making use of the pause in my tirade, "I asked you this morning if I could read your blog posts and you said I could.”

To make some sort of point, Tracey did a search of my site later in the day. Apart from How Grandma Broke My Children there are apparently another six stories she'd rather our children didn't stumble across. Which, as I tried to explain, is pretty good for a site with over 1800 posts.

Well, another seven now I've written this up.

But I reckon I might let one of the kids tell her about that.

You know, eventually.

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