“Let’s go sit in the shed,” suggested Tracey, cuppa in one hand while pointing towards the structure a little down the row of caravans we’re parked next to with the other.

“The camp kitchen?” I questioned. “It’s called a gazebo, I think.”

WTF was that? I know not to correct my wife. I wasn’t married yesterday. Tracey’s tone told me I was right to berate myself.

“You know what I mean. What does it matter what it’s called?” she wanted to know.

“Just letting you know,” I said weakly. “It’s important to use the right words.”

My only excuse is homeschooling my children has consequences. They’re leaches. Making them smarter appears to have dumbed me down.

“What’s wrong now?” I turned to ask Tracey moments later.

Initially I thought she’d dropped behind but she’d actually completely stopped and was staring into her mug.

This whole ‘adventure’ was her idea. On her insistence we were to discuss things like where our budget might allow us to drive our bus-home to next month. The bright side was we were childless because I’d quickly whipped up a lunch for the munchkins before we snuck off.

Nothing too fancy, because like the end of every week we’re down to creative combinations of what’s left. Scavenging through the fridge and pantry I’d only sliced a bit Turkish bread lengthwise, drizzled some olive oil, spooned on some pesto and added a layer of ham and cheese before throwing the whole thing under the grill. Not MKR so much as Ready Steady Cook.

So essentially, this was a date and I was keen to get to the venue. True to form I already had plans to grope my wife the moment we sat down.

“Something’s wrong with my tea,” Tracey said.

I glanced into her cup.

“What are those green floaties?” I asked.

“That’s what I want to know,” she said.

Around the edge of the tea were tiny, oily, gritty, green globs floating unappealingly. Sort of like you get when you fork out for a quality full cream milk which has a wonderful cream ‘plug’, only green and disgusting.

She tossed the lot onto the grass and we went on to enjoy a pleasant fifteen minutes discussing destinations and having my hand slapped away.

Which I thought would be the end of the tea conundrum. Or rather, hoped.

A minute after we arrived back at the bus with our pencilled in itinerary Tracey rounded on me.

“I worked out what you did with my tea.”

“Oh,” I said guiltily where she might reasonably have expected a ‘what?’

You see I’d actually worked it out the moment I peeked into her cup.

“Hmmm,” hmmmed Tracey accusingly.

“I used the same spoon for your tea-” I started.

“-as you did for the pesto,” Tracey finished.

I’m assuming I’d added sugar to our teas but accidentally picked up the wrong spoon off the bench after I’d put the jar back and went to stir it in.

“It was sort of obvious,” I said.

“Well, why didn’t you tell me?” Tracey demanded.

“Because I didn’t want to appear silly.”

“Oh, honey,” she said more sympathetically, “you always look stupid.”

“I said silly.”

“Yes,” she agreed, grinning, “but it’s important to use the right words.”

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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