Last week we had to say goodbye to our faithful friend of the last 14 years, our black Labrador, Ferdie, or to give him his pedigree name, as DS1 now insists on calling him, Abbot Ferdinand of Anna. DS1 had never really shown much interest in the dog. I always got the impression that, to him, he was an inconvenient moving object that often got in his way, left dog hair all over the place

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Last weekend, given that we didn’t really do anything, was (almost) a pleasure. After the traumas of the preceding week, a quiet weekend at home to re-centre was certainly in order. Admittedly getting him to do his homework was out of the question. To avoid his outright refusal to do it, we try not to say, “Come on, let’s do your homework”, because this is invariably met with a simple, “No”. We have adopted a

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EGYPT 2017 We leave Aswan aboard a felucca, the Egyptian single-mast sailing boat that once carried goods along the Nile. Nowadays, their precious cargo is tourists. We sail towards Luxor, passing villagers swimming, washing, playing and even riding their donkeys in the water. The river is not as congested as I expected, just a few feluccas, the odd rowing boat, a couple of cargo boats and some cruise ships are our only companions all day.

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EGYPT 2017 As we leave the confines of our hotel, a wizened old man approaches us. He smiles, sort of, showing off his four remaining, tarnished teeth. “You need taxi?” he asks. We do, so he leads us to his cab, crossing a four-lane highway by simply holding up his hand and walking out into the stream of cars, like Moses parting the Red Sea. As he pulls out into the minefield that is Cairo

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It’s meltdown season. It’s come later this year, must be down to that global warming. They are not all full on, though – more daily wobbles. Having said that, his teaching assistant (TA) accosted me after school and handed me a form that said he had been involved in an incident that had resulted in him hurting his head. Under ‘Other relevant notes’, it stated: “ headbutted another child.” “Oh.” Well, what else can you

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He’s been on edge all day. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s half term and it’s a culmination of him having held it together at school for six weeks and, now, being in the comfort of home, the pressure valve has been released. The steam is coming out, but it’s yet to boil. I have a feeling I know what it’s really about, though, but he denies it when I ask. “Noooooo!”

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