Mum's the Word

Being serious about climate change still leaves room for laughs

Climate protestors in Glasgow at COP26.
Climate protestors in Glasgow at COP26.

I’m watching footage on Youngest’s mobile phone of a dark city centre side street. Parked cars line the pavements and street lights struggle to lift the gloom. A teenage girl and friends walk up to her parked car and she reaches for the boot. She springs it open and leaps back with a screen splitting scream. There’s a body inside. AAAAAAAghhhh! More screams as ‘the body’ sits up and shouts ‘let me out of here!’. Which is when a passing police van pulls up.

“Funny eh?” Says Youngest.

“What the…”

“Me and my friends were doing a skit. You know how Thingy does acting?”


“So this is practice. Cos I’m not good at acting I was just standing and saw the police turn into the street and thought ‘oh no’. See there I am smiling at them. (She’s given them her butter-wouldn’t-melt-I-can-explain-officer look). Remember when there were police everywhere, up for their conference. These ones were from Kent or somewhere and stopped to check what was going on, with the body in the boot.”

“Aw no…”

“But it’s OK,” she says quickly. “They thought it was funny.”

“Oh good.”

“Yeah. What were the chances of that? So funny.”

“Lol. But it wasn’t a police conference you know. It was COP26. ”

“Yeah, cops.”

“No, in Glasgow. The big world conference about climate change. We talked about it! You asked why there were so many police about and I said because of security for the conference - there were lots of delegates and politicians here. Remember we rubber-necked that hair salon at seven in the morning when I was running you to work and loads of death-on-two-legs security guys were talking up their sleeves outside and someone important was in getting a do and I said it would be someone from COP26 and you said what’s COP26 stand for and I said Conference of the Parties?”

“Conference of the Parties.”

“FGS! The environment. Thousands of people were demonstrating and making banners, glueing their hands to motorways. It’s one minute to midnight… Greta Thunberg...

“I know!”

“And you’re shutting each other in car boots…”

“I care about climate change and THAT conference! But loads of politicians talking and doing nothing. Flying here, getting their hair done, making speeches, flying home, loads of police. COP26. It’s number 26. Blah, blah, blah. THAT’S what Greta was saying. Doesn’t mean we can’t sometimes have a laugh too.”

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