Grape expectations

By Ken Oxley on Sep 4, 07 06:06 PM

'Ben and Jerry ice cream increases your life expectancy by 100 years'. Somehow, I doubt very much the validity of that statement.

Where's the scientific evidence to back it up? How come there hasn't been a paper published in The Lancet?

Quite a lot of the messages scrawled by my sons on the kitchen chalkboard are like this. 'Grape juice is lush' I'm told the following day, but surely that's a subjective statement.

This is the way we communicate these days - through endless texts and cryptic messages on the chalkboard which is rarely, if ever, used for its intended purpose - ie: to remind us of the groceries we need.

Technically, we're still a family of four. But when your kids are 19 and 17 and their parents both work long hours, the occasions when everyone is in the same place at the same time are rare.

Family meals together are a luxury and require meticulous planning. Especially as my wife Ann and I aren't much good at keeping the house stocked with fresh food. Fortunately, both our sons are resourceful. The other day I wandered in and Joe, our youngest, was tucking into a Hula Hoop sandwich. Bless.

But it's at times like this that you feel you've let them down. . . that one of you should have packed in work - or at least gone part-time - in order to make their home life more stable.

We talked about it, but that's all we did. Instead, we burned the candle at both ends, juggling careers, child-rearing and home life and never quite keeping all the balls in the air.

Now we're counting the days to when Sam heads south to university later this month.

Not that we want rid of him. Far from it. But one less room to tidy; one less pile of clothes to wash and iron; one less bottomless pit of a stomach to fill - clearly, there are fringe benefits to look forward to.

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