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Boris the bear

Boris is a bear. 
My son Oscar's bear. He’s had him since he was one, I can’t remember who bought him for him, but he has been a constant companion since that day. 
I can’t even remember why he is called Boris – I don’t know if Oscar himself named him, or it was chosen for him as a tribute to the Mayor of London, or the Russian President from the early nineties. There is no real resemblance to either, although the London Mayor Boris has the reputation of being as woolly headed as the bear Boris, I’m sure the naming of the bear wasn’t Oscar’s first attempt at satire though.
When Oscar was around three he suddenly gave Boris a voice (The bear, not the Mayor or Ex Russian President), the only way I can explain Boris’ voice is a high pitched but growly, which I suppose is exactly how you would expect a small bear to talk, if small bears could indeed talk. “Would you like any ice cream Oscar?” “Yes please.” “Me too.” said ‘Boris’ from behind me as I reached into the freezer.
I turned to Oscar…

Road Rage

We'd found the house we were going to move to in lovely picturesque Ely, and just had to head back to London to start the packing nightmare.
We'd been joking all weekend about the lack of traffic, and enjoying actually being able to drive a car, not stop start stop start driving in constant traffic like we were used to in London.
We'd bought coffee and I put them up on the roof while I moved my coat from the passenger seat, and climbed back inside the car both of us smiling and happy, a real sense of calm over us both.
I took a sip from my coffee, too hot, always slightly too hot.
We edged out of the car park and into a line of cars at the lights. No more than 6 cars.  "This is probably like gridlock to them all" I joked  And as I laughed I made eye contact with a man in a white van. He was near the back of the queue, but was the car closet to us as we edged out of the car park, looking to join the flow of traffic. I looked down quickly so he didn't think I was…

Toilet Troubles

The toilet was broken, and I was the man to fix it.   I knew I could fix it. I was mostly sure I could fix it. The plastic pipe letting the water into the cistern had stopped working, and I had already bought the replacement, still flying high from successfully putting up a venetian blind the day before, with minimal errors. I was surely in the black in man-points, a toilet would be no problem, after all it was only two screws to undo and tighten up again. Then what could I do next? Maybe service the boiler, maybe build a new shed, solve the Middle East peace process? The world, or maybe the flat and garden was my oyster.
But first the job in hand, I had my replacement pipe still sitting in the Homebase bag on the side, my spanner in hand I began, I imagined emerging from the bathroom in a matter of minutes, another man-job completed more man-points on the board. "Do you think you'll be able to do it though?" asked my girlfriend Kat. "I'm sure I will be able to, after…

Turning Australian - When you pick up on an accent, and just can't stop.

Alan arrives at our flat.  Alan is an estate agent who is here to talk to us about renting our flat when we move. He steps in wearing the customary estate agent shiny suit, I laugh inwardly. Earlier I had predicted this to Kat, "He'll definitely be wearing a shiny suit” I'd said. This night is going to go exactly as I thought it would I'm pretty sure. But then something happened that changed everything.  I sit and listen as he shows us pictures and information on properties he has rented for people in the recent past, and then he starts with the jargon and estate agent talk. Estate agent talk is something that troubles me, where they always try to make something very negative sound like a positive. When you are searching for flats or houses on Zoopla or Rightmove you really have to read between the lines of the comments they say. We all for example know when they say "easy to maintain living space" it means "It’s very very small",  "The property has …