Finance: The Trader - No chance of a Flaming Ferrari where my folks come from
Wednesday 10 March 1999
Consequently, she and my father have chosen to bury themselves in a tiny village about a hundred miles from the capital where the quality of life is apparently far superior to city existence. "Just smell that air," my father says every time he drags me out for a walk along the local lanes (obviously we can't walk across the fields, because the footpaths are planted over). "You don't get air like that in London." No, I think; we don't have all those pesticides and herbicides in ours.
The other aspect of rural life that I find hard to appreciate is the fact that you have to drive everywhere, even to buy a pint of milk or a loaf of bread. Not surprisingly, my parents spend many of their waking hours in edge-of-town supermarkets. In fact, I think they may regard a visit there as a bit of a treat. I can't think of any other explanation for the fact that they always drag me off to one the minute I arrive at their place. "Don't take your coat off, darling," my mother says breezily as I stagger in after battling the motorway traffic. "We can have coffee there. It's rather good, you know."
Mind you, one look at the local town centre and you understand why the supermarket counts as an entertaining landmark. It's the sort of place that was innocently minding its own business for years until it had a terrible attack of the town planners in the Fifties, from which it has never quite recovered.
The local tourist office - an act of faith if ever I saw one - has optimistically created a leaflet on historical walking tours, with lines such as "turn left at the multi-storey car-park. The house that used to stand on this spot..."
There's one each of all the usual high-street shops, as well as a few dingy jewellers, a florist that sells only carnations and, naturally, half-a-dozen dreary tea shops that close at 4pm. There's nowhere else to eat unless you want burgers or take-away Chinese (with chips). You have to head out to some village or other for a proper, grown-up meal with condescending waiters and cream with everything. Not that we ever do; as my mother says, it seems rude to disturb the hush in these places by actually eating in one of them.
So for this weekend, it'll be meals at home in front of the telly, and all the better for it. After all, I'm here to relax, although it's also a pre-emptive strike in case I forget Mother's Day. As far as my parents are concerned, it's their chance to make sure I'm not up to anything potentially embarrassing at work.
"Look at all this business with the Flaming Ferraris," my father says. "More like the flambed Ferraris now," I reply. "Well and truly burnt."
I look across at my mother. "Isn't this when you usually say, `It's the parents I feel sorry for'?" I ask, but she just blushes and mumbles, "Oh, well... not always".
I smile, and tell them that they have nothing to worry about. After all, thanks to the way they've raised me - to be good and kind and honest - I'm probably never going to earn that sort of money in the first place.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Great British Bake Off semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >