Family dramas

Done your homework? Amanda hasn’t… and she’s blaming Poldark


If there’s one thing worse than being 13 and realising on Sunday night that you haven’t done your homework, it’s being the mother of a 13-year-old and realising neither of you have done your homework. The scary thing about being old enough to have seen the original Poldark is that, along with the memories of snuggling up on the sofa to swoon over Ross and admire Demelza’s ability to haul off a riding boot in under two seconds, are equally sharp memories of that scary post-show guilt when I realised that I’d definitely left it too late to finish my homework and I’d have to do it on the bus on the way to school the next morning.

A lifetime on and I still haven’t learnt my lesson, which is why, after bundling the kids upstairs last night I pulled out the 21st century equivalent of my Brodies’ notes (ie my laptop), and started planning a lesson on the conditional mood, so I can gently introduce the idea of the right way to use “if” to my students tomorrow afternoon. I’d barely got my head round the zero conditional, “If I procrastinate, everything goes to hell in a handcart,” when Jack snuck back downstairs to ask me to explain the plot of Othello because he’d got a test on it tomorrow. “If you’d mentioned this two hours ago, it would have been much easier to sort out!” I bellowed, slipping from zero to third conditional in two seconds flat.

“OK, first things first,” I said, making room for Jack at the laptop. “Why is Othello a tragedy?” “Because he intended to do good but brought his own problems on himself?” Exactly! Now, repeat after me, “Virtue? A fig! ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.”

Never was a truer word spoken when it comes to my own procrastination. Still, it wouldn’t be Sunday night without a costume drama would it?

Amanda Blinkhorn is a freelance journalist who has been writing about money, family life and everything in between since she was 19.

She blogs here almost every day and writes the Money Matters finance column in Candis magazine as well as for The Sunday Times and other newspapers and magazines. She lives in London with her four children aged between 8 and 19. She has almost finished training to be an adult literacy teacher and will qualify this summer, if she ever finishes those pesky essays.

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