The Rules keep changing.

All our lives.

And it’s sometimes tricky to work out what behaviour is OK and what isn’t.

Narratives formed in different times seemed OK ‘then’ but – clearly – they never were.

How on earth could we have been so stupid?

The Rules.

I’ve said silly and inappropriate things all my life.

Sometimes out of innocence.

Sometimes out of ignorance.

Sometimes out of drunkenness.

And sometimes because I was just being a dick.

I am better these days as I have matured, slowed down, become more considerate, caring and rounded as a person.

We learn The Rules as-we-go.


I was reminded that we learn The Rules as-we-go, today.

At Izobel’s nursery.

Because, as she and her friends are 2 years old, The Rules are less clear.

Izobel and I were waiting in the corridor for 7.30am to come.

7.30am is a time that sends Izobel wobbling into her classroom.

Smiling broadly.

Looking up and deep into the eyes of her temporary carer, hands outstretched to receive her red cereal bowl.


As we waited in the corridor, parents and children strode past.

As each of them paced the corridor, Izobel held me tighter.


Safe in my arms.

But still watching intently.

And because of the lack of rules, Izobel thought it totally acceptable to completely ignore the lovely, ‘Good Morning Izobel!’ and, ‘Hello Izobel, how are you today?’ chatter.

She also thought it totally acceptable, as one particularly friendly looking dad crouched on his haunches to say, ‘Hello, Izobel!’ to say nothing at all, look him in the eye, flare her nostrils and let one continuous 3 to 4 second pump.

Without blinking an eye.


He rose, smiled, and wandered off to work.


I am going to relax a bit more.

Judge less.

Because the world is not all filled with bad people saying and doing bad things.

It’s – sometimes – just people that haven’t learned The Rules yet.

And a less judgemental world might be quite a nice thing, I think.


  1. Shaughn McGurk Reply

    Nice work Izzy.

    ‘Pump’ is another word that is flagrantly underused in Surrey.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  2. Shaughn McGurk Reply

    Oh, and whatever ‘rules’ you make while Izzy is little – set fire to them all when she reaches teenage.

    You have to start from scratch. My rules are now mainly like this:

    1. Please don’t leave your brand new bathroom covered in mascara and foundation.
    2. If you need illicit hooch for a party, don’t: a. steal it from my booze cupboard; b. ask strangers to buy it for you from a supermarket. Do: ask politely and I’ll probably give you a bottle as long as you don’t tell your mum.
    3. If you cook your own food, you also do your own washing up – and dishes don’t get clean if they are put near the dishwasher and more than your clothes get clean if they are near the washing machine – so put them inside.
    4. Collecting hickies is not something to be proud of.
    5. Please don’t call me a ‘f**king dickhead’ if I refuse to give you more money, or if I am not at your beck and call as a taxi service.

    Parenting teenagers is like herding Dementors – a soul-sucking futile experience.

    I’m just saving it all for the mike-drop at the end of my ‘father of the bride’ speech.

    • This is all useful to know.

      I remember Hooch.


      Please keep the advice coming as-we-go.

      I need it.


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