Janet Christie: ‘Can we emigrate to California?’

Mu-um… Mu-um. Mum! Mum! Mother!”

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie


“I’m talking to you,” says Youngest Child, appearing in the kitchen, sporting eyebrows that would give Cara Delevingne a wriggle for their money.

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“What is it?” I say. I’m on hold to my mobile supplier while making the tea, so I admit I’m not hanging on her every word. Particularly since she summoned me ten minutes ago to switch on her bedroom light as she sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the wardrobe mirror, too busy wielding an eyebrow pencil to move.

“Oh yes, that was a bit lazy of me, wasn’t it?” she said when I voiced outrage. “Sorry mum. I do love you. Thanks.” I was half way back up the hall to rescue the burning onions, mobile clamped between shoulder and ear, when I realised I had in fact switched on the light. Doormat.

Now she’s at me again, just as I’m through to “Paul” in Cairo.

“What is it?” I ask her, back on hold.

“Can we emigrate to California?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Agggh. I hate when you do that! It’s not a no. It’s a yes and then it won’t really ever happen.”

“Listen, I’m all for California. But it takes time to organise. Anyway why California? I quite fancy Australia.”

“Doesn’t need to be California, but on YouTube it’s always sunny there. And here it’s dark at 4pm. Look.” She’s right. It is dark. And cold. And wet.

But she’s never ever complained about the weather before. After all she’s a Scottish child, it’s her destiny. I knew it was a risk exposing her to the Med this summer. She’d always been happy with the North Sea, emerging red raw and chittering, up till now.

“Ok. I’ll sort out emigrating,” I say.


“In the meantime, let’s brighten up your room. How about some …

“Don’t say fairy lights,” she says.

“... fairy lights.”


And she’s gone. Result.

So Paul, Cairo, how do you find that?

“Oh, far too hot.”