Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

For sale - one flat, residents included


There’s nothing like selling your house to get you tidying, or shoving things under the beds/into cupboards/in the bin. I want a calm, respectable, in-control atmosphere.

But viewing day has arrived and the boydults don’t seem to understand that people might mind residents in situ, ‘just doing their thing’.

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All week I’ve been asking them to tidy, threatening to do it myself, and all week hearing “No mum, you shouldn’t have to do that (YES, I KNOW!). I’ll do it. When I get back from climbing/band practice/skateboarding...”

So an hour from viewing I’m bracing myself to go in when Middle arrives.

“Been climbing,” he says, which is handy ‘cos there’s a mountain of stuff to shift in his room. Which to give him credit, he does. Apart from a trio of bananas on his coffee table. Always with the food...

Then the cavalry arrives in the shape of my pal who has dropped round, assesses the situation (panic) and rolls up her sleeves.

“No food in bedrooms,” she says, grabbing the bananas.

“Shove them... in that top drawer,” I say.

“His pants drawer? No! They look like sex toys.”

“What? Never mind, no-one’s going to look in there.”

“Oh, they will,” she assures me.

Middle sniggers, grabs the bananas and begins to eat. Problem solved.

Then Eldest texts. “Sorry, delayed at work, still on bus. Sorry ‘bout mess.”

“It’s OK, done it,” I text back.

“Oh good. I’ll go straight to the gym then,” he says, as the buzzer goes.

There are viewers aplenty and it’s going well until I can’t show them the bathroom because it’s occupied. My pal was right.

“Where’s the toilet roll?” comes the shout. It’s Middle. Now, really?

Then Eldest arrives.

“Starving. Just gonna make some food.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Only eggs and sausages, people won’t mind.”

“They will.”

“OK, just sausages then. Great smell.”

“Go away.” I send him to find a cafe.

Finally the last viewers leave.

“Well done us,” I say to Middle. “I think we projected the right image there.”


Which is when I look down and realise both of us are barefoot.

“So?” says Middle. “What’s wrong with that?”

I no longer know. Or have any idea where I hid all our trainers.