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Busy week: getting up early, working late, relentless deadlines – that’s the holidays! | Lucy Mangan



We are on vacation. This is a complete mistake. Here’s what I mean: the school holidays have started, I’m taking half a week off almost all the time, getting up early and going to bed late to get everything else done after hours.

It’s a magical time.

In the old days, of course, those six straight weeks of quality time with my offspring could be enhanced by sending him to his grandparents for days at a time to be honored. and patted instead of snarled for breaking deadlines. But Covid and screening are still things, by the way! – paid for it.

We used to send him to random “fun” day courses and other activities, but now that he’s old enough to refuse, he’s refused. He hates sports and people. I don’t know where he gets it from.

So now that it’s Audible (“Read the book! Read the BOOK!” “My EARS are reading!”), Joe Weeks is also a thing, at least for the inert, introverted kid whose heart rate needs to be nurtured nonetheless. cuts at least once a day – day trips when it’s not too hot outside, board games when it is, and, by my rough count, five meals and 17 substantial snacks a day, every day.

A. Charovny. Time.


“Help me onto the couch,” I croaked, pale and sweaty and exhausted, exhausted.

“What’s wrong?” said my husband as he gently placed me on the two-seater, which is not very comfortable, but you don’t find 19th century lovers these days.

“I have… I was bidding on eBay,” I said softly.

Under normal circumstances, I’m strictly a buy-it-now advocate. I don’t even make suggestions – stress knocks me out of order. But every now and then, the usual rules have to be thrown away, and a rare discontinued Ikea chair cover has just appeared at auction. So I took part.

I don’t know how people do it regularly. I’ve only been sitting there for the last 10 minutes and after two my nerves are literally shaking. After four I throw up in a bucket from nerves. I’m making my only bet in the last few minutes before I completely lose control of my powers and have to go to bed for 48 hours to recover.

And – that’s what – it’s worse if, like me here, I win. I feel guilty for depriving someone else of an item, or not paying what someone else could have paid if the seller had listed at a different time, or, or, or….

Sometimes it seems to me that modern life is not for me.


An adorable video of an eight-to-nine-year-old girl dancing and pumping air in celebration of the Lionesses’ 4-0 win over Sweden to reach the Euro 22 final is doing the rounds on social media.

Someone added a caption saying she’s never known a time when women didn’t play football, which is obviously great, but you really don’t need more than her looks. Genuinely delighted, completely relishing the moment, her untainted pleasure and flinging herself completely freely and unconsciously is a rarity.

I understand that at this age, watching her, girls are usually already cautious. Pay attention to their bodies, pay attention to how much space they take up, pay attention to how much real feeling they put out into the world – very reasonable, given how hostile they’ve often been towards them and how obvious it will become the more so. the older they get.

It’s one of the many things Derry Girls, for example, gets right – the boisterous exuberance of the girls when they’re all together, and the easy silence that envelops them when they’re apart.

We need more Lioness moments.


I’m not an economist – I still don’t understand how we… print money? Do we literally make money that we also earn and spend? Everything seems wrong to me. It has to come out of some magical nugget of gold that we all worship daily or something, right? And don’t send any clever jokes or explanations about how much of this is going on, because I don’t even know enough to understand them.

Excuse me, where was I? Oh yes. Not an economist, BUT. If the news reaches us on the same day as The price of a McDonald’s cheeseburger is on the rise for the first time in 14 years, and Asia’s richest woman has lost half of her $24 billion fortune due to China’s real estate crisis, I’ve started stockpiling the beans and no one can convince me otherwise.

My pantry is back to post-Brexit, pre-lockdown levels of saturation. Coffee, pasta, rice, beans, pasta, soup, flour, pasta, salt, coffee, pasta, coffee. All the basics are here. What I might once have spent on frills and pads (Lingbo seat covers notwithstanding) I now spend on caffeine and long-life carbs.

It’s still cheaper than proper therapy, which of course she does. These nutritious fragments I protected from my soul’s demise.


I’m going to the therapist to have the mole removed (not dangerous – it’s just painful and looks like a second head growing out of my back). She asks, as always in the counseling process, how I feel about stopping the anti-depressants.

“Depressed,” I say.

She insists. I refuse. “You’ve seen,” I say, gesturing widely in a way that takes in everything from the roadworks outside, to Brexit, to Ukraine, “all of it?”

She insists. I decide to distract her by mentioning a few other health issues I wasn’t going to mention because I didn’t think there was anything she could do about them.

“There’s X and Y,” I say.

“Hmm,” she says. “Well, we often recommend your anti-depressants also to get rid of X, and there’s some evidence that they also help with Y.”

“Really?” I say, amused that the seemingly individually dysfunctional parts of my dark little body seem to be working for some deeper concern.

“Really,” she says.

So take heart ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes, just occasionally, middle age can actually work for you.

“What am I? Teddy bear? So I’ll grow up big and fierce? Like, apex predator? Wait, what? A panda bear you say? Oh. Photo: VCG/Getty Images

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