E Jane Dickson: Con wants the face cream for his spy-work. 'It makes you 10 years younger, so if I put it on, I'll disappear'

Share
Related Topics

Rows and rows of furry toys are laid out on the hall floor, like the aftermath of some grand Edwardian shooting party. Now that she has her own bedroom, Clara has decided it is time to put away childish things. Stalking up and down the lines, she reviews cuddly mice, bears, kangaroos and pandas with an implacable eye. The most highly favoured are set aside, while the rest are shovelled unceremoniously into black plastic bags for the charity shop.

Rows and rows of furry toys are laid out on the hall floor, like the aftermath of some grand Edwardian shooting party. Now that she has her own bedroom, Clara has decided it is time to put away childish things. Stalking up and down the lines, she reviews cuddly mice, bears, kangaroos and pandas with an implacable eye. The most highly favoured are set aside, while the rest are shovelled unceremoniously into black plastic bags for the charity shop.

Three weeks ago, such a cull would have been unthinkable, but since Grandpa has finished his grand projet - an arrangement of partition walls and skylights that magics up an extra bedroom in the limited square footage of our flat - we have become intensely aware of personal space. Clara is fussy about whom she allows into her boudoir - a pink and white chamber worthy of the infant Marie-Antoinette. Visitors granted a viewing are directed to the armchair, while Clara receives them from the gauzy belvedere of her bed.

The entrance to Con's frog-green room is criss-crossed with trip-wires, sensors and electronic listening devices. Ideally, he would have liked a piranha-filled moat, like Blofeld's in You Only Live Twice, but there's a limit to what you can do with MDF and Ikea flatpacks. Hi-tech security notwithstanding, you must also give a password; not a pre-arranged password - this makes things too easy - but a password you have to guess. The entry process can therefore be quite lengthy.

"So, Mummy," says Conor, when I finally crack the door-code ("James Bond" is the key phrase du jour), "I have been expecting you." It turns out that he has been meaning to speak to me about my appearance. "Have you heard, Mum," he begins in a tactful, conversational way, "there's stuff you can put on your face that makes you 10 years younger? I saw it. It was on TV."

"Wow!" I reply. "Put me down for a caseload." Clearly, if I'm not to suffer the same fate as Clara's furries, I'll have to smarten myself up for life in the designer zone.

"And when you get it," Con continues, "can I try some?"

"What on earth do you want with face cream?" I ask, surprised at this new interest in personal grooming.

"He thinks it will make him invisible," explains Clara, who has arrived, with much bleeping, in Con's den. She is carrying a cradle-load of dolls which she doesn't want cluttering up her room, but which she generously thought her brother might like.

Con nods and quickly cases the joint before speaking. "It's for my spy-work," he whispers. "The cream makes you 10 years younger, and I'm only six, so if I put it on I'll disappear!"

"I'm afraid it doesn't work quite like that." I tell him. "If it did, I'd buy three jars and be skipping around like a teenager. " Conor looks crestfallen. "And anyway," I say, pulling him to me, "I don't want my boy to disappear."

"And we don't wan't you to look like a teenager." Clara tells me, nudging her brother in the ribs."

"God no!" says Con. "We love you looking old."

"Well then," I say, pulling my ancient features into a withered grin, "we're all happy." And I try, really quite hard, to be flattered.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor