Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word -In our house, squirrel string is a thing, if you can find it


I’ve just been going through these kitchen drawers,” says Middle Child, indignant. “Looking for my pen knife. Pen KNIVES. And found all kinds of stuff that’s gone missing from my room. Do you know how much duct tape you’ve got?”

“Yes. Four rolls. It’ll come in handy next time I want to gaffer tape someone to a radiator.”

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“All my scissors! And tools for my skateboard. All in the kitchen drawers!”

“No, some are in the tool box,” I say. “Seemed like a good place to keep tools.”

“My ROOM’S the place to keep MY tools! There are spanners that are SPECIFICALLY for skateboards and I haven’t been able to find them for AGES.

“My G-clamp! Bet you don’t even know what that’s for!”

“I do. For clamping Gs. Handy. I moved all of that stuff last summer as I uncovered it among the three bin bags of rubbish on your bedroom floor before shampooing the carpet.”

“But I knew where it all was!”

“You know where it all is now. The kitchen drawers, the toolbox.”

“Some of those things were from Papa and I thought I’d lost them and felt sad! That nice pen knife. His mouth organs.”

He continues to rummage, loudly.

“My string!” he says, holding it aloft. “My SPECIAL string that I brought back from Portugal that I was going to use to make a ladder for the squirrels to get from their tree to my room!”

“Oh yes, the string, kept it of course. Sorry, didn’t realise it was special squirrel string. Not sure you want a room full of squirrels anyway. Biggie Smalls would go nuts.”

“It’s none of Biggie’s business,” he says.

“He’s a cat. Home pest control IS his business.”

“They wouldn’t be coming IN the window. Just up the special plastic-coated string and running along the window ledge to get seeds and nuts from a birdfeeder.”

“Oh, OK, nice idea. And the mouthies are stacked on a shelf.”

“Hmph. Yes, well… Thanks for doing that mum,” he says, grudgingly. “BUT, if you could avoid doing any tidying when we’re away THIS TIME I’d appreciate it.”


Ha, the minute the three of them are out of the door for their holiday with Other Parent I’ll be up there with my bin bags. And when I’ve unearthed the floor and restored order, I might have a go at making a squirrel ladder. I’ve got some special string for that very purpose and I know exactly where it is.