A couple of Sunday Telegraph columns29th March 2017
Guys, sorry for lack of updates. I’ve been really really busy. Mostly watching telly. Have you SEEN what’s on atm? Broadchurch, Big Little Lies (Sky Atlantic, Reese Witherspoon is BANGING I q want to marry her), last series of Girls, a BBC Three series called This Country which you need to iPlayer immediately and Line of Duty kicked off on Sunday too. So have been pretty flat out. On my sofa.
But HERE is a link to last week’s Sunday Telegraph column and I’m going to paste the one from the weekend before below because the Telegraph website still seems to be working in mysterious ways and it isn’t on there. It’s about Mothering Sunday which I know is slightly redundant now it’s been but, you know, I’ve been so busy.
It is traditional at this time of year that I spend several hours trawling through card shops for a Mothering Sunday card. Not a Mother’s Day card. A Mothering Sunday card. See what I did there?
‘Mother’s day’ is one of those banned phrases in our family. (There are several others but I can’t go into every single one here because we’ll all die of old age.) It’s been that way as long as I remember. Cards need to say ‘Happy Mothering Sunday’ or else. Big trouble. Possible incident. Real threat of danger.
I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but it is therefore quite impressive that my siblings and I have made it to adulthood, because finding a card that says ‘Happy Mothering Sunday’ among all the dross gets harder every year.
A week or so ago, I had a scout on Moonpig.com, that online card company with the jingle that makes you want to perforate your own eardrums. ‘Mum’s Day Cards,’ says a banner on their homepage, a phrase which would cause some sort of Cluedo-like accident with a kitchen knife in my mother’s house.
They had hundreds of cards on there. Cards with Peppa, the pig that looks like a hairdryer on them. Cards that make lame jokes about the amount of wine your mum drinks. Cards that sound like they were written by the sort of man you never want your daughter to bring home – ‘You’re my favourite mother-in-law so far,’ it said on the front.
And then there was the card which said simply ‘Mum – sorry I had such a big head.’ Because a bunch of carnations and a reminder about their episiotomy is exactly what all mothers want at this time of year, right?
To be fair, the site did have a section of ‘traditional cards’, several of which used the phrase ‘Happy Mothering Sunday.’ But they were drab, cheerless cards decorated with the kind of flowers you see at a crematorium. They looked like they should have ‘With deepest sympathy’ written on them.
‘Why is it Mothering Sunday?’ I asked Mum the other weekend while we ate marmalade on toast for breakfast.
‘It’s in the bible,’ she said, which confused me because I vaguely remember the bits about the locusts and the floods, but I don’t remember anything about Jesus buying a card and a box of Lindor chocolates.
And yet thanks to the magical power of Google, I’ve got to the bottom of it. The bible thing isn’t exactly [itals] true. Turns out, Mothering Sunday in Britain always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter, when people used to go to their ‘mother’ church. Or cathedral. It was referred to as ‘a-mothering’. And on that Sunday, the servants – lucky devils – would be given a day off by their employees to go back home for the service to celebrate with their families. Some would take Simnel cakes with them; others would pick flowers along the way to give to their mothers. This evolved into the British Mothering Sunday, which is different from the American Mother’s Day in May (although this catches me out every year because I panic that it seems to have come round again awfully quickly).
Trouble is, I’m not a massive fan of Simnel cake because it’s covered in marzipan and the only thing I’d pick up on the road to my mum’s are old Costa coffee cups and a couple of bags of dog poo which people have thoughtfully tossed into the verge. So I need to find this effing card.
I just nipped into my local Co-op for another quick hunt but they’ve still got their Valentine’s cards out and I think ‘To my husband with love’ is the wrong message entirely. Although it might still go down better than ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’