Sunday, October 26

On Mandelson And The Sunday Papers; Madeleine On Unfair

An in-class photo appropriately posted on the eve of half-term, which keeps the kids away for ten days. This one taken in Mrs. X's class whilst making cookies.

The kids come home from Aggie's this morning excited and exhausted, a bad combination and immediately there are tears when I tell the Shakespeare's we are not going to Snakes and Ladders (full disclosure: I am lazy). It rains so we settle into a Sunday afternoon routine: kids finish home-work, Sonnet reads Harry Potter and I leaf through the papers. I used to hate the UK Sundays especially comped to the New York Times but now I enjoy their shallow-reporting of British concerns. I am not being patronising - but the articles never more than a half-page and no more in-depth to the BBC Radio 4 which keeps its news-reporting to a short minimum.

For instance, today the Fleet Street rags focus on Shadow Chancellor Gordon Osbourne's relationship with Russia's richest oligarch Oleg Deripaska who deals in metals - Osbourne may or may not have solicited £50,000 for his Tory party. This is where the fun begins, you see. The politically inexperienced Osbourne let slip some secrecy about rival Peter Mandelson whilst on Deripaska's £80M boat in the presence of Nat Rotschild. Well, Mandeleson tit-for-tats influencing friend Nat's father Jacob to force Nat to write a letter to The Times discrediting Obourne, which he does. Then the worm turns. Now all eyes on Mandelson who also knows the oligarch and lies about their first meeting in 2006 or 2007. It turns out Mandelson and Deripaska dined in Moscow in October '04 weeks before Mandelson becomes the European Trade Commissioner and - surprise! surprise! - certain EU tariffs on European imports of Russian aluminium eliminated favoring - ding! ding! - Deripaska. If you follow all this, well done. Mandelson has been sacked from government twice for his shadiness and now it may be a third - what is equally surprising is Super Gee's appointment of him and why?

Madeleine begs me to buy her a pair of reading glasses at the neighborhood pharmacy.
Me: What do you need to do before I get you reading glasses?
Madeleine: Get a subscription? (I think she means presciption)
Me: Guess again
Madeleine: give you ten pounds?
Me: Yes, but something else too.
Madeleine, after some thought: Know how to read?
Me: Bingo!
Madeleine: Aw, dad, that is sooo unfair! Alison has a pair and she so cannot even read!

Sonnet: Madeleine, please come down and set the table for dinner.
Madeleine: Why don't you give me a break?
Sonnet gives a dressing down to Madeleine, who comes to me sniffling: "it is not even fair. I did not even say anything mean - I just wanted to have a break from doing all the chores!" In this instance I cede to her understanding of the expression.)

Madeleine, to no one in particular: "Life can be so unfair."