Friday, 31 August 2007

The trials

It's Elizabeth's Hurley's first day with us, so I decide to torture her immediately on account of looking like Elizabeth Hurley and coming from Nice. Coming from Nice allows Elizabeth Hurley to drop location names like 'Cannes', 'Monaco' and 'Italian Alps' while Grit can manage 'Tesco' 'the police station' and 'Toddington where we have a big scream'.

The first trial is for Elizabeth Hurley to go off with Tiger to the local park and come back alive. I reason that if Tiger's up to her daily standard, they'll be back in ten minutes. Tiger will be gnashing her teeth and growling while Elizabeth Hurley will be in tears and packing the three enormous bags she's somehow managed to squeeze onto an Easy Jet flight and which are presently occupying the entire floor area of her bedroom.

Unfortunately, they're back after 45 minutes. Elizabeth Hurley looks a bit unsure about what she's in for, so I send her down the Co-op with Shark. Shark is busting to go out with Elizabeth Hurley. She has a shopping list and has decided that chocolate cake would be a good welcome. We settle on apples and a loaf of bread instead. But of course I'm not really interested in the apples and we have plenty of bread. I'm interested to see if Elizabeth Hurley will survive the ordeal I've set up for her. After all, Shark's last trip to the shops with an au pair ended up with Shark coming home alone and the au pair fleeing the house two days later.

Rather amazingly, Elizabeth Hurley and Shark make it back in fair time with the shopping mission complete. Shark's dancing about with delight wittering about lime tart and Elizabeth Hurley declares the trip tres bien with a big broad grin.

Right. It's time to throw Squirrel and Tesco at her. I have a ban on shopping at Tesco accompanied by any child since the time Shark went crazy at the checkout and followed me screaming all the way home, pausing only to take running jumps at me and punch me in the kidneys. Then there was the time that Squirrel refused to move, Tiger went beserk with a trolley, and the unpleasant hour when Shark and Tiger had a stand-off next to 200 stacked up jars of pasta sauce. As most parents know, and the ones who don't deserve to find out, shopping in supermarkets with children is like taking a journey through hell pursued by Satan with a red hot poker.

Well knock me down with a feather but Squirrel and Elizabeth Hurley arrive home with Squirrel all smiles and Elizabeth Hurley looking tired but not defeated.

So that's the first day. And in the pursuit of a speedy conclusion this time to whether the au pair will go or stay, I am continuing to locate her weak points. Spiders are usually a good one so I have made sure the window in her bedroom is appropriately open into the garden to catch the evening air.

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