“Mu-um! Mu-um!” Cries of alarm from the kitchen. I ignore them but they crank up from shrill to Youngest Child’s special “if you don’t come now you’re in for it” tone.
Sigh. I pad through. The blind at the window over the sink has sprung from its moorings. Again. I’ve told them not to touch it. I’m the only person that is allowed. I put it up, I have the knack. It requires the lightest of touches: a tickle. But no, they heave and wrench away, like impresarios revealing Scotland’s beardiest woman or suchlike.
“Someone’s pulled the cord right out of the thingmy,” I say to Youngest.
“Yes, but never mind who,” she says, guilty as sin, balanced on the window ledge. “I know how to fix it,” she says.
“You don’t. Get down.”
“I can do it.”
She fiddles with the right-hand side bracket. The left-hand side springs out. She giggles, then drops the blind completely.
“Shall I call the Chuckle Brothers for help?” I ask. She giggles some more.
“I’m coming up,” I say and step from a chair onto the ledge, one toe dipping in a basin of cold water.
“Well, this is a warming family experience,” she says, the sarco-meter high this early on a Sunday.
“If you want warming family experiences, you’re in the wrong family,” I say as we wrangle the blind back in situ.
“Now, getting down is the hardest part,” I say. She snorts.
“You won’t be laughing if I break a hip and you’re wiping my backside for the next six months,” I say. “Misjudge these folding chairs and you’ll be trapped thigh deep, chafing, until someone rescues you. Take it from me. I’ve been there.”
I retreat from her laughter, but quick as a flash she’s in front of me, barring my way.
“Now you’re up, can you give me a lift?” she says. “Go on, please – I’ve just fixed the blind.”