A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

It's 8.05am and the wind is rattling through the cracked window panes of our new home, rebounding off piles of unmarked boxes. The first flurry of snow of the year has settled, I note through a hole in the bed sheet which is nailed across our bedroom window.

"Have you seen any of our neighbours yet?" I ask my husband as I scoop up the same shirt and jeans I've been wearing for the past four days from a pile on the floor. "Only the guy we saw yesterday," he responds, referring to a Nigerian man four doors down, whose entire front garden is dedicated to signs reading 'DO NOT PARK'. "God I hope they're not avoiding us?" My husband shakes his head: "Don't be silly, this is London, no one speaks to anyone".

Outside, I strap the baby into the car and set about de-icing the car. Five minutes later, the four-year-old emerges just as all the water I've poured on to the windscreen is thrust, full-force, back into my face by the wipers. "Get in!" I shout, mascara and water running down my cheeks.

"Bloody hell, why is nothing STRAIGHTFORWARD?" I growl as we pull out, past one of our neighbours who, I notice, is gazing intently into our car. "Good morning," I beam, in an attempt to divert attention from my insane appearance. No reaction. Rude cow.

Three minutes later, pulling in front of the school gates, I spot a flash of something in my rear-view mirror, which I slowly process, with horror, is someone else's ginger tom perched between the two children. I turn to my daughter, "What the hell is that?" She shrugs: "It's a cat".