Tag Archives: stepmother

Wicked Stepmother working to rule.

Wicked Stepmother hasn’t posted for a while.

She’s been a little under the weather. These long French school holidays are a strain, particularly when coping with complications from CRPS – you know- the shortage of sleep, the constant pain etc.

stepmother is sick

looking blackly


Wicked Stepmother was at the end of her tether

with Gaming person who lives upstairs, otherwise known as Gollum Boy who has had close to three months off school. I’ll repeat that – THREE months off school. All right then, two and a half. One is prone to exaggeration when one is at the end of aforementioned tether.

None of his chores were being completed.

emptying dishwasher

little kids can do it – picture from mirror.co.uk

A job even little kids can do – GB doesn’t get up in the morning so if you need clean plates and cups etc. for lunch (as you do) you have to empty the dishwasher yourself.

He’d conveniently forget to take out the trash.

(We have three collections weekly here in France. During very hot summers you need non recyclables to be gone. Fast.)

taking out trash for stepmother

smelly stuff!

See, little kids can do it. GB did it when he was little. But now he’s GB. He’s only interested in online gaming and as we’ve already seen, gamers are cuckoos in your house, lady.

They take. They never offer to give.

Biological parent (BP) and Wicked Stepmother (WS) grew tired of always having to ask GB to do his chores.

He refused point blank to get up before his preferred 1pm or even later. He refused point blank to help with bringing in supermarket shopping and putting it away.

Yesterday he said he was inviting 7 of his friends to come round here for the last day of school summer vacation. They would like to use the pool and possibly stay for something to eat.

Wicked Stepmother refused point blank.

‘No,’ she said. ‘And the reason is this. Since my incapacitation last December when I was hit by a car, you have shown so little consideration for your father and me.  This morning I have yet again emptied the dishwasher for you and washed all your clothes.

Throughout the whole of the summer holidays you have offered to do nothing. And yet you still expect to get what you want. It isn’t happening any more. Neither is your ironing. I don’t want to wear your tee shirts. You do. You iron them. This is what is called working to rule.

worktoruleWicked Stepmother signing out for now.

And if you think WS is being over the top in her treatment of online gamer – watch this video of what happens to some  gaming addicts in China.

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The Poisonous Crusts Saga.

Crusts are poisonous. They must be. Kids leave them. Who hasn’t seen a slice of bread like this in the picture below? Crusts are so poisonous kids leave them even if, really, to be perfectly honest, they really like the stuff they’ve left behind on their plates.

Why do kids leave crusts?


perfectly poisonous crust

They do it to get to you, you know. Kids leave crusts behind just so’s they can let you know who’s really in charge here.

In my last Wicked Stepmother post I showed you photos of the poisonous crusts making a regular appearance on my kitchen table each morning. Not to mention the half a jar of Nutella smeared on them. The Nutella saga requires a Chronicle post all of its very own, together with the tomato ketchup one, jars of which get flushed from where it’s been left on the plate down the plughole on a regular basis.

tomato sauce

blobs left on plates

Now, we’re not talking little kids here. Not toddlers. Not primary schoolers. Not anybody who isn’t taller than me.

We’re talking nearly 16 years old, towering over the top of me and so sharp you’d prick your finger if you went to hug him.

I thought I had a cunning plan. Remember? The poisonous Brioche crust story?


brioche crusts with Nutella

Buy Brioche rolls, Wicked Stepmother! They haven’t got crusts, Wicked Stepmother. You can wipe the smile right off his face, Wicked Stepmother, when you present him with something so devilishly delicious he can’t bear to leave even the tiniest morsel.

I found Brioche rolls with added crème fraiche. My mouth watered just looking at them. The aroma from the packet was vanilla and buttery and eggy and crème fraichey.

Not even a saint on hunger strike could have resisted.

crust of brioche

can you believe it?

No. I couldn’t believe it, either. Take a closer look at teenage kid getting one over on me.


I give up!!!

I pretended I hadn’t noticed.

Well, all you Wicked Stepmothers out there. You’ve got to keep face.

Crust Poisoning. By the Wicked Stepmother.

Anything with a crust on it must be dangerous. Isn’t that so? Isn’t that why so many kids don’t eat them?

Well, they come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses for leaving them on their plates. Crust tastes bad. it’s dry. It makes me choke. Etc. etc. You could list all the excuses kids come up with for not finishing off their crusts.

Dangerous crusts

Sandwich  – designed to choke you.

Pie  – no filling left in it so it’s not worth eating.

Pizza  – covered in germs from where you’ve been holding it in your dirty mitts.

Toast  – burnt to hell and just plain nasty. Actually, if it is burnt the kids do have a point. It IS dangerous. It’s carcinogenic.

burnt crust

burnt food is carcinogenic

But burnt food aside, why do kids insist on leaving crusts?

There’s an entertaining website called How To Be A Dad, but it’s just as entertaining for Mums. Andy has coined the phrase Crust Poisoning. I can’t claim any credit for that. (I wish I’d thought of it first!)

Here’s a link to Andy’s post about crusts on the How To Be A Dad website. Hilarious, isn’t it?

And here’s another link to the I Used to Believe website. The top story is brilliant.

the crust man

from the I Used to Believe website

But, here’s the thing. These posts on other websites refer to LITTLE kids. What happens when your enormous 15 year old is still doing it?

Wicked Stepmother took some photographs to demonstrate. There are just the two pictures, but the rest of the week the same thing happens.

Day 1 crust

Monday’s breakfast leavings

Brioche and Nutella crust

Tuesday’s leavings

What we’re looking at here is not burnt. It’s not dry. It isn’t hard or horrible in any way whatsoever. It’s Brioche. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it –

Brioche (/ˈbriʃ/ or /ˈbriɒʃ/French: [bʁi.ɔʃ]) is a pastry of French origin that is akin to a highly enriched bread, and whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb.

Hello? Rich and tender crumb.

It’s soft as a baby’s skin.

So why leave so much of it?

Brioche loaf

soft and sweet

A loaf of Brioche is a joy to behold. It’s soft and sweet and buttery-eggy and you could easily suck it down if you didn’t have any teeth.

There is no reason on this earth why anyone would need to leave any of it.

Now then, Wicked Stepmother cannot abide wasting food. Her generation caught this from ancestors who had lived through rationing and hardships today’s kids couldn’t even begin to imagine. Wicked Stepmother’s generation has learned to be economical with resources and it can be quite an affront to see so much food going into the waste bin. On a whim.

But, as you might imagine, Wicked Stepmother has a cunning plan.

She will buy no more loaves of Brioche. Not a single one. Here’s the premise.

You know how there isn’t a crust on a muffin?

muffin no crust

crustless muffin

Nobody ever leaves bits of muffin on their plate. They go round the plate, stabbing with their hungry fingers picking up every last crumb, don’t they? Dab, dab, dab till all the little crumbs are consumed. Till the plate is shiny and empty and there is no waste to go in the bin . . .

(I’m getting a bit excited now at the prospect of putting into operation this cunning plan of mine. Oops, cunning plan of the Wicked Stepmother.)

We shall purchase only Brioche Buns. Crustless Brioche Buns.

Brioche bun

Eggy, buttery and flaky. The answer to this crust dilemma?

Leave me a comment. Go on, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Wicked Stepmother, red pesto sauce and the 5 day plan.

Wicked Stepmother had grown tired of GB’s complaints about meals. Always a picky eater, GB had grown even pickier, it seemed. Feelings came to a head when, one night during the long summer holidays, GB complained that the basil in the pesto sauce was overwhelming.

wicked stepmother pasta

a staple meal at our house

Now, I knew this wasn’t true. It may well have been a tad on the strong side for ordinary mortals but here, at our gaff, we go in for STRONG flavours. Even fussy GB likes STRONG curry and FIERY chilli. So, how come the relatively mild pesto had fallen foul of his lordship’s approval?

The fact of the matter was, I had used red basil, homegrown in a pot out the back, rather than all green basil with which he was more familiar.

Wicked Stepmother basil

wicked red basil

The result was very colourful – a bit like the borders on this page. A mixed pesto sauce with some green leaf and some red plus my usual lashings of olive oil (extra virgin, of course), two chunky cloves of garlic crushed into the mix, ground pine nuts (hand charmed with my trusty pestle and mortar) and finished off with finely grated parmesan cheese and more olive oil if it’s got a bit too thick.


mixed pesto



Eat it quickly and be first in the queue for seconds.

But, we got faces and a turned up nose.


After I’ve spent months growing this tender little plant, taking care of its every need, watering and moving it from shade to sunshine and back into shade when it got too hot for its little feet in a clay pot?

After I’ve done all that hand-charming with the mortar and grating with the grater? Okay, so I’m laying it on with a trowel. Still.

There’s only one answer to that, you apprentice cuckoo you.

The 5 Day Plan

in One Act – WS =Wicked Stepmother. BP=Biological Parent. GB= Gollum Boy, the teenage online gamer.

At the table, Gollum Boy has just used the overwhelming word.

WS: How would you like to choose meals for five days, GB?

BP: Is that wise, Wicked Stepmother? He’ll choose all his favourites.

WS: I know.

GB: Where are you going, Wicked Stepmother?

WS: For a piece of paper so you can write down your choices.

GB: I don’t need a piece of paper. I’ll remember.

WS: Trust me. You will.

She fetches paper and pen. GB scribbles his meal choices.

WS: (reading aloud) Let’s see. Ah, no surprises here, then.

1. Chilli 2. Pizza 3. Barbecue chops 4. Spag Bol 5. Sausage/burger and chips.

BP: I did warn you, Wicked Stepmother. It was pretty obvious there would be no vegetables.

WS: I know. When would you like to begin the 5 day menus, Gollum Boy?

GB: Tomorrow.

WS: Okay. Where are you going, GB?

GB: To my room.

WS: But we haven’t finished here.

GB: What do you mean?

WS: Turn the paper over. Now you’ve got to write your shopping list.

GB: What shopping list?

WS: The one for the ingredients of these five meals.

GB: What?

WS: The one for the ingredients of these five meals.

GB: I heard you the first time.

WS: Good. Better get started. Or you’ll have nothing to cook. Dad will help you, won’t you BP?

Wicked Stepmother makes for the door. There is the sound of grumbling. She turns to have the last word.

WS: I’m looking forward to 5 days off kitchen duties. Thank you soooo much boys.

smartass wicked stepmother

 (To be continued)

The Wicked Stepmother and school holidays. 10 WEEKS!

WS=Wicked Stepmother   GB=Gollum Boy, the online gamer  BP=Biological Parent

School holidays have begun. The only students attending collège this week are doing final year oral exams in preparation for lycée next September.

wicked stepmother picnic place

rock formations at Moureze

GB has one more year in collège. He handed in all his text books on Tuesday. He said it was painful. Wicked Stepmother thought he meant he was heartbroken to see them for the last time. (Joke)

No, he said, it was painful because they were so heavy.

On Wednesday he floated off, sans text books, for  the morning bus and probably floated back at midday to make his own bacon sandwich for lunch. We weren’t at home to witness. Himself and I were entertaining visitors and actually having a rather nice picnic in the hills above Clermont Hérault with a large ready-roasted pintade from the market, tomatoes, cheese and crusty bread. GB would not eat this fare and, anyway, picnics are for boring old farts.

pintade for wicked stepmother lunch

pintade is a guinea fowl

When we arrived home, the kitchen bore the evidence of GB’s culinary efforts, complete with tomato sauce-streaked plate left where he’d finished with it. GB was where we expected him to be: glued to the X-Box, the 10 week holiday grin already secure upon his face. (We noticed it when he came down to see if we’d brought back any chocolate biscuits.)

His final day at collège this semester was Thursday last. The grin grew even wider.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’ said BP.

‘Hmmph!’ GB replied.

Nothing more was said at the time.

On Friday, GB spent all day gaming.



On Saturday, GB spent all day gaming.

gaming addict

did you know such organisations exist?

On Sunday, there was a sea change.

Oh, yes.

Wicked Stepmother had nothing to do with it and remained, her own thin grin firmly in place, out of sight.

Biological Parent put the question again.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’

No answer. Not even a humph.

‘If you can’t come up with ideas of your own, GB, I’ll think of some for you.’

No answer.

‘I’d like you to come down at three this afternoon and help me in the garden.’

Three o’ clock came and went.


three o’ clock deadline

BP went to the garage. He walked over to the electricity control box.

power control

power control switches

Our power controls are different in France from what we were used to in the UK. We don’t have ring circuits here. Each room can be isolated by the switches on the main control box.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, two rooms were blacked out.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, the plug was literally (almost) pulled on activities at the top of the house.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, there was no X-Box, no YouTube live streamed games/tutorials from Syndicate the #1 UK gamer. The lights were out. The sockets were dead.

BP waited in the garden where GB’s old bike awaited cleaning and maintenance before we sell it.

Power was not restored until 6pm. So, GB still had minimum 8 hours game playing from when he got up to lights out. I think it’s way too much.

Wicked Stepmother plans to show this post to BP, especially the picture about 10,000 hours spent by the age of twenty-one. Isn’t that such a waste of a young life?

What do you think?

A One Act play by the Wicked Stepmother.

Cold Pasta

Dramatis Personnae

WS = Wicked Stepmother, BP= Biological Parent, GB= Gollum Boy alias teenage online gamer.


Scene 1: The kitchen. Midday, Wednesday.  GB is due to return home at 12.30. Shopping bags litter the counter tops and table. Wicked Stepmother is putting away market produce. Biological parent is getting in the way.

BP: ( stuffing into his mouth the piece of cheese he has just snapped off the new block ) Have you thought yet about what’s for lunch?

WS: Leftover Bolognese sauce. I’ll do some fresh pasta to go with it.

BP: Will there be enough, Wicked Stepmother?

WS: There’s enough for two.

BP: What will you have?

WS: (reaching under the kitchen table to retrieve tomatoes that have rolled there) Something else.

BP: Shall we have a drink first?

WS: (from under the table) Good idea.

BP: I’ll have a coffee, please. (exits)



Scene 2:

The kitchen. There are still bags of shopping to put away. WS has retrieved tomatoes and is now making coffee. GB arrives from half-day school classes.

WS: Hello, Gollum Boy.

GB: Hmmmph.

WS: Everything okay?

GB: Hmmmph. (exits)

WS finishes putting away the shopping and makes coffee. She is adding milk when GB  suddenly reappears in doorway.

GB: Dad says I’m having pasta for lunch. Will there be some kind of sauce to go with that?

He scans the empty hob for proof.

wicked stepmother cooking

WS: Yes!

GB: What time will it be ready?

(It is 12:40)

WS: You know what? It’ll be ready at exactly 1pm. (GB exits again) Biological Parent! Oh, Biological Parent! Are you there? Your coffee’s ready.


Scene 3:

The kitchen. 1pm. Lunch for the boys is ready. WS gets out dishes and begins to make herself a sandwich. BP makes for the door.

WS: Where are you going, Biological Parent?

BP: To tell GB his lunch is ready.

WS: He already knows. He asked me for a time and I gave him one. I told him it would be at exactly 1pm.

(Close-up on WS’s face. Her mouth is a thin line)

BP: Then we will put out his lunch, Wicked Stepmother and he’d better get his ass down here.

lunch prepared by Wicked Stepmother

GB’s lunch going cold

(They eat)

BP: Actions and consequences, Wicked Stepmother. Actions and consequences.

(They clear the dishes and make another drink. Still no sign of GB. Noises off are obvious gaming sounds with GB calling out to team members to Look out! Wait! Let him have it!)

Wicked Stepmother's clock

pasta will be cold by now

(Close up of clock face)

Scene 4:

Kitchen. WS and BP are nowhere to be seen. It is 2:15pm. GB arrives. There is a dish under a net cover on the table. GB stares at it as if he doesn’t know what to do with it.

GB: Dad! Dad!!

BP enters kitchen. He is carrying a gardening fork. He appears not to have heard GB calling him.

GB: Dad!

BP: What?

GB: Why didn’t you call me to let me know when lunch was ready?

BP: Were you told it would be ready at 1pm?

GB: Hmmmph.

BP: So why didn’t you come at 1pm?

GB: I thought somebody would call me.

BP: Oh. (He begins to walk away)

GB: Well, if I’d known this was going to happen, I would have come down.

BP: Ah.

GB: So why didn’t somebody call me? 

BP: We’re not going to call you any more, Gollum Boy. Not when you’ve already been given a time.

GB: Why not?

BP: It’s your responsibility to get yourself ready to come and eat with us. You could help, couldn’t you by laying the table or stacking the dishwasher? Remember those small chores we asked you to do? You’ve been avoiding them, haven’t you?

GB: Hmmmph.

BP: If your lunch is too cold to eat, you can reheat it in a pan. Wash up after yourself, please. We’ve already tidied the kitchen. (He exits)

Gollum Boy sits to eat. He tastes. He stands and for a moment it looks as if he’s going to make the effort to reheat the food. Then he sits down again, gobbles the food quickly and gets up to leave.

BP: ( from outside) Don’t leave that dirty dish for somebody else to clear!

GB rinses dish under tap. He looks around. He doesn’t know where to put it next. He leaves it on the draining board and exits.

In the garden, BP is happily planting tomatoes. In the bedroom WS looks in the mirror.

wicked stepmother witch



Learning the hard way. Is it wicked to let it happen?

learning the hard way

sometimes you have to learn the hard way

I’m the one who is supposed to be wicked. I’m the stepmother, the one who might not have the child’s best interests at heart. The one whose motives are always going to be suspect.

I’m having one of those days. Stepmothers will know what I mean. Ladies, if you’re contemplating becoming a stepmother, better read up about it first. Especially if the ex-wife is a late wife. You are taking on more than you know. This isn’t the place to go into too much detail, much as I would like to. The bereaved child is a very serious subject and deserves more than a post on a blog. In any case, the specific issues of being stepmother to a bereaved child are not what I wish to address here. I have something much more generalized in mind.

A Facebook friend recently shared a piece about the benefits of allowing children to be bored. Some university prof had just come out with something I’ve been saying for years. If your ten-year-old is bored, let her fix it. It’s her problem, not yours. Wow! Somebody got paid to write this down?

I remember a time when Gollum Boy was little and in a strop. He wasn’t getting his own way. Father had other things to do just at that time and couldn’t do whatever it was young son wanted. Young son pouted. Young son wailed. Young son went into a tantrum because he’d learned that tantrums usually worked for him. But, on this occasion, I was in charge.

The tantrum was building into meltdown because father wasn’t available. I said, ‘Why don’t you find something to do that makes you feel better than how you feel right now?’

‘I’m BORED,’ he shouted.

‘I’m busy,’ I said and left him to it.

I went to the kitchen and clattered about doing a bit of washing dishes etc. When I went back to the living room, young son had found something to do. AND SOLVED HIS OWN PROBLEM.

Now we’re getting to the crux of this.

Here’s what I think: if you ALWAYS fix things for your kids, they never learn how to fix it themselves. In the case of the university professor and current thinking on childhood boredom, the fixing of the problem by parent figure doesn’t allow the child to use his/her own creativity. Eventually, according to the prof, children may lose the ability to use their creativity. They might forget how to imagine. So, by fixing the boredom problem, you could be doing more harm than good.

Back to this morning. As you know, the young son in my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles is now Gollum Boy, addicted to online gaming and not wanting to do much else. If you’ve read my previous posts, you will also know that we have been having an ongoing battle between the three of us which came to a head when Gollum Boy almost passed out at school.

You have probably also worked out my methods by now, too. It doesn’t take an expert tactician to see that I have employed an attack and immediate retreat modus operandi whenever these issues crop up. I have my two penny worth, say what I think needs to be said and retire from the theatre of battle to let biological parent and teenage son sort it out between them.

Still with me? Good. Here it is, then. School holidays are over. Back to school. On the third day, Gollum Boy is too tired to get up in time to catch the school bus. The last time this happened, biological parent (BP) drove to school and arrived at the same time as the bus so errant teenager didn’t get into trouble for being late. On his return, the BP said,

‘I’ve told him. This is the last time I’m getting him out of it. Next time he misses the bus, he’ll have to catch the later one and face the music when he’s late.’

Guess what happened this morning.

The alarm must not have gone off was the first excuse. There followed a volley of further excuses as BP hurriedly got into his shoes and rushed out the door to drive Gollum Boy to school.

I was waiting for BP’s return. I reminded him what he’d said the last time this happened. But I added more.

‘You’re as good as stealing from him,’ I said.

‘Don’t be dramatic.’

‘Don’t be in denial,’ I came back quick as a flash. ‘You need to hear this. You’re stealing from him. You’re robbing him of opportunities to learn from his own mistakes. We both know why he couldn’t get up this morning. He NEEDS to experience the discomfort of being in trouble for missing the start of classes.’


stealing away your child’s chance to learn the hard way?

I went further. See, I know what I’d do if I were dealing with one of my own or one of yours or anybody’s child I was taking care of.

There would be an X-Box ban tonight. A laptop ban tonight. A tablet ban tonight. Smartphone ban tonight.

Actions and consequences, junior. We all have to face them. That would be my message.

But I’m the wicked stepmother and I’m getting tired of being the one with the tough love message.

Please feel free to add your comments. Your email remains private.

I’d love to hear what some of you think.

50 Shades Greyer. Remember Gollum Boy?


Gollum Boy working at his ‘precious’.

Gollum Boy is 50 shades greyer. You remember Gollum Boy, the teenage person who lives upstairs. He appears at mealtimes and hovers like ectoplasm, usually in doorways. That’s the one.

Well now, it seems he’s not content with the original 50 shades of grey brought about by lack of sleep, no exercise and poor diet, plus an unhealthy addiction to online gaming on his precious till 2 am and beyond. I think he’s going for vampire.

Let’s backtrack a little. I know I have a tendency to wander.

We’ve had school holidays. Two weeks of them. They’re different here in France from what you might expect. Spring holidays follow a regional rota so that schools are not on break all at the same time. The ski resorts couldn’t cope with all those kids arriving at once, you see. So, half-term in February and the ‘Easter’ break can vary considerably from region to region and from year to year. Everybody takes turns at early or late break. Late breakers got lucky this year and had fresh snow in the Pyrenees last Saturday. I know; I saw it on the way to Spain for himself’s birthday.

So where was Gollum Boy on himself’s birthday you might wonder?

In bed. Online.

Okay, so teenage boys don’t want to celebrate their father’s birthday with him. Understandable. I can go along with that. But, remember also I’m a wicked stepmother and have to guard what I say. When I criticise, it’s always going to sound wicked stepmotherish unless I choose my words very carefully. Remember the pirate lady who wasn’t going to let trouble creep up on her again? The one who was prepared for school holidays and whatever should happen?


ready for anything . . .

Her good intentions lasted a week.

She lost it during the second week.

Have you got a card for your dad’s birthday? she said.

No. Why?

The shop in the village has some, she offered. They don’t cost much.

Afterwards, himself made excuses when no birthday card appeared.

It’s just about being a teenager, himself said.

Actually, biological parent, no it isn’t. (This is where she lost it!) Some teenagers do think about other people, helping out, doing something for someone else. The kids who don’t are the ones who get away with only ever thinking about themselves because they’ve got parents who continually make excuses for them. (Great rattling of cutlasses here.)

The upshot of all this mutiny was withdrawal from theatre of battle by wicked stepmother.

And the result?

A second week spent entirely indoors by Gollum Boy. The weather is warm. The sky is so blue it sometimes looks purple. Down on the beaches, people are dipping their toes. But Gollum Boy says it’s too warm outside for him. Well it would be, she thinks, for anybody wearing thick jogging pants and a hoodie over a tee shirt.

And anyway, the sun hurts his eyes, Gollum Boy says.

I think it makes his skin sparkle too!

The online gamer, the father and the wicked stepmother

online gaming doctor

switched on young doctor

After taking the online gamer, Gollum Boy, to see the doctor,  we have witnessed a few changes around the house:

online gamer's breakfast

from ‘a daring adventure’ blog

+ the online gamer has been getting up in time for breakfast.

+ the father of online gamer has been making sure that online gamer has ceased online gaming by 10pm each night after his 2 hour session.

+ the partner of father of online gamer aka the wicked stepmother (me) has been making sure that their efforts are rewarded with appropriate amounts of appropriately age-sensitive (not too babyish) praise and encouragement to maintain this high standard of determination to take on board the recommendations made by the switched-on young doctor so that teenage online gamer can learn that self-control, personal hygiene etc. etc. are his own  responsibilities.

(Takes deep breath) That was all one sentence. I’ve noticed, lately, that whenever I begin to delve into the realms of everyday matters and how it is we ever manage to live with one another at all, I am swept away in a maelstrom. Thoughts begin circling, spiralling. Too many to deal with. A great whirlpool of them. They bring so much clutter in their wake, these thoughts. Baggage from former lives. Monsters and goblins. Shadows and shades. (No, I haven’t been reading Gothic tales or Joanne Harris)


whirlpools pull you in and down

The truth is we’re all haunted by what has gone before. You can’t ever really get away from it. Sometimes it’s good stuff you wouldn’t want to lose anyway. You keep those good things close by as you sail on. They are your stars to steer by.

But the bad stuff brings squalls. There’s always something from way back that’s never been properly dealt with, because you’ve been too busy dealing with what is current, what is happening now. Behind your back, those old pirates start rattling their cutlasses again, threatening mutiny on your good ship doing okay just now, thank you.

Just when you thought things were on an even keel, they have a way of swashbuckling back up again to bite you on the backside. And they always come when you know you should have expected it.


female pirate

So I shall keep my weather eye out for approaching storms. I shall be prepared. Them there scallies ain’t creeping up on me this time. Look, I’ve got my own pirate outfit and a big bread knife.

Avast there, me hearties, school holidays on the horizon. Splice the mainbrace! Mine’s a Merlot. Sorry, yes, you already knew that – you’ve been reading my posts.

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online gaming by the wicked stepmother


online gaming is addictive

Do you know how much time teenage boys spend gaming? Don’t ask one of them. They wouldn’t be able to answer. They wouldn’t know. They haven’t got a clue.

Why would they want to time themselves gaming when it’s their whole life? It would be like asking them to tell you how many times a day they breathe. As far as Gollum Boys are concerned, (see earlier post) there is no need to ask that question: it’s irrelevant. Gaming is what they do when they’re at home. They’re not causing any trouble in the household, are they? They’re not running around the place mouthing off and smashing your best china. They’re not kicking the dog. But, they’ve turned into Gollum Boys, sitting in the dark, coveting their precious gaming machines as though their lives depended on them. They scout all the latest technology and obsess over the best gaming monitor reviews, hoping to one day have the latest gear.


one of Disney’s wicked stepmother images

It was kind of funny when I posted about the situation in March. The dark humour of it was my way of dealing with things I can’t change. This is where the wicked stepmother notion comes into play. I have a theory about stepkids: they get away with far more than your own kids did. You want to know why? Because you’re trying so damned hard to avoid that wicked epithet. As a result, stuff you don’t agree with happens in the house. You don’t approve of Gollum Boy spending all that time upstairs alone with his online friends, but you’ve allowed yourself to become powerless. You’re not his real mother/father. You can’t tell him what to do. So you’ve taken a step back and then another to avoid having that serious talk with biological parent. Previous serious talks have got you nowhere. So, you’ve been keeping the peace and trying to find some way to strike a balance in the house.

Now, it’s not so funny. Gollum Boy has passed out at school. Fainted. Collapsed at his work station. Biological parent is taking more notice now. You bite your tongue to avoid the I told you so scenario and you support the decision to make a doctor’s appointment.

gaming addict

symptoms of gaming addiction

Hallelujah! This young doctor in our little French village is very switched on. He weighs up the situation immediately. He WEIGHS Gollum Boy. He looks at his skin and hair and hands.

The doctor is saying everything Gollum Boy needs to hear. I’m trying not to look delighted.

You must not miss meals. The doctor tells him. You must get up in the mornings and have breakfast. Yes, young man, even at weekends and during school holidays. You are tired in the mornings because you are not getting enough good sleep. At night. When you are designed to sleep. You must limit your gaming to 2 hours each day. That is all. You must get out in the fresh air and take some exercise. Eat well. Fruit and vegetables, young man. Not always burgers. Twenty two euro. Thank you very much.

I could have kissed him. The doctor. Twenty two euro well spent. Biological parent can’t shoot this messenger down with a volley of excuses. Gollum Boy is making himself ill. And biological parent is to blame for allowing it to happen. So am I. Move over Disney. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Did I tell you I used to be a teacher? Thirty-two sixteen-year-olds in my classes? And I’ve let this happen with one fourteen-year-old? I don’t care any more about being thought wicked. I’m stepping in. Close your mouth and put your eyes back where they belong. Wind your neck in. I said move over.

The next few weeks are going to be very interesting.

Comments are welcome. Please be kind.      wickedstep2