During the Easter holidays I have been working from home.

I tend to do this over the holidays because working on campus becomes an exercise in misery: undergraduate students litter any available space in their maniacal campaign to learn all of the things before their exams begin in the upcoming weeks. This often includes sleeping on desks in the library (despite being a queue of some several hundred wandering, sleep-deprived fellow students waiting for them), and defending any free computer they have found with the intensity of a feral wolverine.

During the holiday I have put forward a theory on the systematic crying syndrome of the neighbour’s triplets. Testing this hypothesis was remarkably easy because the subjects are continuously loud, thus making them very, very observable at all times. Also it’s not actually science, so whatever, I’ll do what I want. During this process I have proved that one will cry every 18 minutes, a tantrum happens one every 45 minutes, and a three way tantrum happens twice a day in which they wail in unison.

All of this occurs for little to absolutely no reason, but today the most pointless of them all has occurred: for once in their stupid little angry and ungrateful lives Thrasher gave Arsehole some chocolate.

Arsehole had a tantrum because Thrasher was nice.

Screamer got on board with this, suddenly tearful and outraged at Thrasher’s generosity.

Thrasher, almost certainly regretting his choice, began wailing and shouting at mum ‘I did nice mum, I did nice’ over and over. Eventually they all joined in with this until, like a hysterical mob, one threw the chocolate on the ground and they congregated around it and cried even harder.

Mum was confused. They were confused. But one thing is for sure, they did not stop crying.



Thrasher, Screamer and Arsehole – the neighbour’s triplets – have returned back from holiday.

As I heard their van pull up after several weeks of zen-like bliss my heart sank. It would appear that they have been to France, which is evident through Arsehole’s new vocal tendencies: instead of shouting ‘MUUUMMM’, he now bellows ‘BONJOORRRR’. It is a simple, but mightily effective translation, conveying in absolutely no way what he wants or needs.

But I suppose that’s OK because he never did that in the first place.

As the parents drove to France their van is now stacked with every single item that they own. Consequently, some frail grandparents have had to be drafted in to keep an eye on the hell-spawn while the parents unpack. The adults have formed a plan, and have been fully briefed on each step.

Firstly, Dad has erected a security perimeter around the garden. The parents were fairly used to this as Thrasher has a tendency to go for the gate if it sees an opening to the outside world (the kid has big dreams). So far so good.

Secondly, a ‘sentry’ grandparent was sworn into duty by the gate, primed to take down any child that made a break for it while the parents were moving inflatable giraffe’s, or whatever the fuck a family brings on holiday, back into the house.

Thirdly, the other grandparent was elected ‘grand overseer’ – a particularly challenging role charged with the task of keeping the triplet’s irrational, infuriating and vexatious three-year-old concentration.

Once again I would like to leave you with only a description of the final scene.

Arsehole is in the driveway shouting ‘BONJORRRR’ at a rosemary bush,hitting it when it doesn’t respond to the greeting.

Thrasher, who followed it’s sibling’s lead into the outside world is being ruthlessly pursued like an escaped velociraptor (tranquilizer gun and acute sense of fear on standby) by a tired and mightily pissed-off Mum holding an inflatable giraffe.

Screamer is shouting at Arsehole from the other side of the garden wall whilst sentry grandparent is pinning it down. In all honesty sentry grandparent may actually be sat on the child, it’s pretty hard to tell. Sentry grandparent has the same pained expression of someone who clearly started out with compassion and love, but has had to become cold and brutal in the hard post-apocalyptic wasteland of suburban Southampton.

I have decided not to work from home today.

Water Fight

I’m working from home today. I had primarily woken up early in order to get as much work done as possible before the midday heat as I’m someone who deals with heat as well as a fucking ice sculpture of myself. Over the couple of weeks since I began working from home I had ascertained through trial and error roughly what time the neighbour’s triplets – Thrasher, Screamer, and Arsehole – emerged from their lair.

This is entirely dependent on the weather.

I found myself enjoying days when it rained: they were not trusted to be outside when it was wet thanks to the plastic slide incident of May, 2015.

If the weather was usual or good they tended to emerge between 9–10am. Beginning work early, then, was secondarily a means to getting as much done before needing to shut my windows. This resulted in my simultaneously becoming hotter and angrier until I would need to take myself out for ice-cream in order to resume normal bodily functions. Unfortunately for me by 7am the weather was glorious. By 9am the Hellspawn had emerged, and had begun going about their daily business.

By 9:07am Thrasher, Screamer and Arsehole had begun campaigning for water.

No, not because they are neglected in any way: they wanted water to throw at one another. After several hours of gibbering at mum like a pack of hyenas she finally relented and put a heavy duty plastic bucket in the garden to facilitate their stupid three-year-old whimsical, illogical, and ill-fated demands.

After a very steep learning curve they realised that splashing water into one another’s faces led almost exclusively to someone being punched in the face by a wet hand. A three-way tantrum ensued and they were ushered inside to learn how to not punch one another. It turns out that this is probably a valuable life lesson, even if it doesn’t feel like at the time.

Upon their re-release into the wild the triplets were bestowed plastic cups to scoop up some water, and then throw it nicely. Mum was clearly disillusioned by TV adverts of kids playing and having fun with water guns, because no sane adult could see this ever being better than wet hands alone.

After nearly an hour of “water fun”, the neighbour’s garden could have been mistaken for the ending scenes from Saving Private Ryan.

Arsehole has knocked over a flowerpot and is covered from head to toe in a muddy water-soil sludge. He threw his cup at the cat in order to, and quote ‘STAHHP THE CAAAAT’ from getting it. Sound logic.

Thrasher, living up to his name, lobbed his cup during the fray and is now flailing against the window to be let indoors. He is only wearing a pair of Spiderman pants.

Screamer is stood in the middle of the garden grasping a crumpled water cup for dear life, howling to the sky, probably to invoke some sort of divine intervention from a vengeful Norse God.
Mum has declared that “water fun” time is officially over.