Learning to read the signals

December 21, 2007

Enjoying your pheasant, Roger?

Mother, it's absolutely delicious. Really scrumptious. I'm particularly enjoying the garlic and the taste of juniper.

Oh good. I hoped you'd like it.

And what can I say about the chestnut stuffing? That's a wonderful extra touch. And my favourite. You're so very thoughtful.

Thank you, Roger.

It must have taken you hours to cook. Simply hours. But then what would I expect of a mother like you? Someone who takes the rough with the smooth and still comes out smiling.

Is that what I do, Roger?

Oh yes, indeed. Year after year I've come home to you at Christmas and told you about my little setbacks at university. I've cried on your shoulder about not getting promotion and moaned about being made "teaching only". And there you've always been. A constant source of comfort and inspiration. My good old mother. God bless you.

Roger, have you been promoted? Are they going to make you a professor at last?

Not exactly, mother. But I did have one small achievement. I went on a personal development course at the university.

But aren't you already personally developed? You're nearly 56.

Oh mother, you do make me laugh. You have such a way with words. No, this was a course on emotional intelligence. And I came top. It means that I can now empathise with other people. Intuit their emotions.

I see. More chestnut stuffing, Roger?

Well, it is absolutely delicious but you know, I don't think I could squeeze down another mouthful.

Then why not take this nice sharp pheasant bone ...

Yes, mother of mine?

And stick it in your throat.

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