Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Bruno Tree

Bruno keeps breaking things, so to teach him their value I have started to tell him they don’t grow on trees.

‘Do you see where the water gun/ plastic toy/ school hat tree is?’ I say, brimming with self-satisfied wisdom.

‘No’, says he, not caring disproportionately given that the supermarket tree is likely to yield a fresh crop anyway.

This week-end when he was cheeky, I aimed for new heights of sanctimony.

‘Most things don’t grow in the garden, but there is, in fact, a Bruno tree.’

Disbelieving gesture.

‘Yes,’ adds Gethin. ‘It’s got tons of Brunos, and they’re more polite, and better mannered, so I’m going to go and pick one.’

And off he goes.

Sitting on the soft smiling, Bruno says quite serenely, ‘He won’t find another Bruno.’

But he continues to sit there quietly.

A minute passes.

Then another minute.

Finally, he raises his eyebrows, and leans forward ever so slightly to look outside.

This is the best and the worst thing about being a child.



Filed under Mini mumbo, Mumbo Life

Sound of Music Fan Letter: Georg

Dear Gayorg,

Yes, I know you don’t spell your name like that- it’s George without the ‘e’- but what a name for a Captain with 7 children, in need of a new wife!

I wanted to tell you how glad I am you let the cameras follow your life in Vienna; those aren’t the kind of memories you want buggered up by Alzheimers.

If a Blockbuster were burning to the ground in a cloud of synthetic carpeting and bubbling black jelly worms yours is the one reel of celluloid that the fluids of the last shower on earth should be sacrificed for.

Two hours and fifty-four minutes of saturated emotion and the sort of singing the police get called in to stop: your whole story makes my hills come alive.

I think you and the ex did a first-rate job with the children. The whistle business is OTT, granted, but they’re a real set. I kind of suspect Liezl is a bit older than 16 but no matter- she’s dreamy. And little Gretl- well, I could just bake her up in the oven and eat her with condiments.

Now, I can see why you were courting your Baroness. She’s a bit slutty and husky and when you chuck a wad of cash and a 20-a-day Gitanes habit into the mix she’s got a lot going for her.

But she only plays the poxy harmonica, Gayorg, and she doesn’t mind a bit of Nazi either, which isn’t really up your straza.

What I can’t understand is how long it took for you to get Maria, with her tomboy hairdo-clutching and annunciation of every word to within an inch of its life.

She makes curtain playclothes, she yodels, she does indoor theatre; there aren’t many women out there bringing all that under one roof of feisty tenderness, make no mistake.

You could have shaved a good hour off the footage if you’d just taken her straight into the ballroom on interview day and shown her why she didn’t want to marry God. (Should any woman go from nun to wife without discovering their genitalia? Or are there some scenes on the cutting room floor?)

But thank Mozart you didn’t.

The way you look at her when she brings music back into the house. The moment she leaves because she wants to save you from loving her. They make me take a sharp intake of breath and put down my sewing every time.

She was slowly opening your heart, like the world’s strongest man trying to prize open heavy steal doors.

You validate her, you complete her, she is soaked in your suave demeanour. And all while taking some evening air in your well-tended garden. I tell you, this is what Jude Law’s nanny really had in mind.

So thank you, Gayorg.

Your manly restraint, your patriotic principles, your knee-high boots, have set the standard.

Every rainstorm, every lonely goatherd, every piano scale of my life is heavy with do-re-me and you and your reality show are the reason why.




Filed under Movie Mumbo, Mumbo Life, Mumbo Obsessions, Uncategorized


Texting is for young people who want sex with each other and need to arrange a time and place to have it. (Or Vernon Kay who wants it but is not allowed to have it.)

It suits them perfectly because it is a made-up language with lazy grammatical rules and they don’t need to fiddle around with those nasty little ink cartridges that stain your hands.

Pity the children of the 60s and 70s who have caught onto its coat-tails, like an embarrassing Mum wearing flares at the school gates. They know nothing of this world, even though their own parents are managing to Skype like bastards.

Talking on the phone is a risky business. It is fraught with nuance and the possibility of the other person Talking For Too Long or Raising an Unforeseen Topic.

Facebook is like cabaret and has rendered emails dry as a bone, not to mention steeped in zombie potential ever since a grubby spin doctor typed about it being a good day to bury bad news.

Texting gets you straight to the source on your own terms: intimate and impersonal, functional and frivolous, it’s the perfect conversation- one where you don’t have to listen, reply or disguise the contempt in your voice.

Even so, women can read more into a text than into the Declaration of Human Rights, eyeballing their phone incredulously, gasping, ‘How are you? What the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s taken him 2 hours and 43 minutes to reply to my last text. How the hell am I supposed to be?’

Regular texters develop a style their regular textees understand and aren’t offended by. It may be exclamation mark-heavy or brutally to the point but as long as they stick to it everyone knows where they stand. In this territory, a typo can spell trubbly and ‘c u later’ a vicious snub if it comes from the wrong mobile number.

That said, vicar texts are always creepy and capitals mean SHOUTING.

Phones too need to be compatible, as any jobbing Nokia scrambling the arse out of an iPhone missive will testify.

Every now and then, in the middle of a text orgy, one party takes it upon themselves to decide it’s silly to do all this texting- we may as well talk.


This changes the level of the playing field and exhibits an ETI (Emotional Texting Intelligence) that is wanting, making them the last person in the world with whom you would want a real dialogue.

Certain textual emotions are universal: the heart skip at the beep alert; the ‘chosen one’ feeling of a message flashing up in silent mode; the confusion resulting from a delayed text agreeing with something you sent outside Texting Real Time, necessitating a laborious scroll through the sent box.

Textual content, on the other hand, can be customised; several decisions must be made: capitals after full stops or lower case throughout- it’s a question of conformity; abbreviations (Wend for week-end) and textspeak (gr8) , a marker of age; use of smiley faces :), hahaha and lol, mental stability.

Predictive text is Simon Cowell: contrived, bonkers and unhelpful if you want to express individuality; funny if you’re pissed.

The most rewarding of the texting lexicon is the truncated sentence: ‘buying tomatoes’ transforms your Mum into a Wall Street trader while firing off ‘am outside’ could catapult even Nick Clegg into The Bourne Supremacy.

And the most controversial? The ‘x’, of course. Or the size, number, lack thereof.

It can re-appear in dreams as a punch in the face or a violation, start or finish a relationship and make a riddle of a post code.

Be afraid. b v. frAd.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mumbo Life, Uncategorized