Daddy Cool: ‘Surely ketchup counts as a vegetable anyway’

CRIPPLING writer’s cramp ails me at the start of every school term, as it no doubt does many other parents, caused by the relentless signing of cheques to pay for all the additional expenses our children manage to rack up both inside and outside the classroom.

Whether for clothes, clubs or excursions, it all adds up. One bill that particularly sticks in my craw is the political legacy of ‘milk-snatcher Thatcher’, which means I don’t get much change out of £80 for a small daily carton of semi-skimmed for our ten-year-old son, his eight-year-old brother and their five-year-old sister. At least the children tell me they enjoy drinking the stuff. In my day, milk was free, but they really should have paid us to consume the fetid contents of the wee glass bottles. Invariably the crate had been left out in the sun for several hours beforehand, at the mercy of disease-ridden sparrows with a taste for slightly rancid lukewarm gold top. They were welcome to it – and I don’t think I’ve drunk a single glass of the white stuff since.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I have saved myself a few quid, however, by persevering with providing packed lunches for the terrible trio rather than handing over another penny to the council for school dinners. I like to think that it’s a principled decision, if perhaps not a nutritionally balanced one.

So while the pallid offspring of joyless food snobs nibble away on wilting celery sticks, my sturdy bunch wolf down hearty fare inspired by artery-tightening American reality television show Man v Food. Who could have guessed that chicken and chorizo, fried in lard and served up in a heavily buttered roll, would prove so popular? For my money, it’s certainly more appealing than the school dinner option of a solitary baked potato (no butter or salt permitted, of course). Besides, surely ketchup counts as a vegetable anyway?

In other news, I have unilaterally and quite selfishly decided to call time on my daughter’s attendance at football training, on the grounds that she’s a girl and should stick to playing with dollies. Well, that’s not entirely true, but from what I saw she seemed to spend more time chasing the boys around the park than chasing the ball. More importantly, it’s another cheque I don’t have to write.