Oh, For a Duplication Machine

I blame cartoons. So often a duplication machine would be more than handy. For those days where you have to be in more than one place at once, where the fun stuff has to be missed for the sake of the mundane-yet-necessary. Or you spread yourself too thin in the hope of appeasing everyone, but end up disappointing them all instead.

How could even a temporary duplication machine not be helpful in such circumstances? Why aren’t scientists on it?

Because they’ve been put off by the ramifications in cartoons. In the same way crossing a rope bridge always feels trepidatious, even when there’s not actually a gorge filled with crocodiles underneath and you’re not being pursued by a Scooby Doo ghoul (just a bunch of meddling kids, but aren’t you too old to be playing on the kids’ equipment in the playground?) or why anything with ‘Acme’ in it’s name is going to be treated with suspicion. Scientists must be under the illusion that duplication will only lead to bad things. But I don’t think they’ve fully thought it through.

Personally, I’m willing to overcome any concern as to the back-firing of a duplication machine (as long as it’s not produced by Acme) for the benefit of an extra pair of hands.

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The trouble with duplication in cartoons is that it’s always been done by lazy males who want to give their clones all the hard work, leading to a rebellion. But for busy mums with kids that outnumber willing helpers in the quest to juggle everything it would be a boon. We’d know first hand that it sucks to always get the rough end of the stick, so would be more willing to still pick up the horrible jobs in an equal way. Possibly.

Having a couple of clones would have definitely been a help yesterday.
It would have meant that I wouldn’t have had to get up at 5.00am to collect Indy and her stuff from university. Especially after sitting up til late waiting for Husband to get home, when actually he was stuck in Portugal…where apparently they DON’T HAVE PHONES, but DO HAVE FACEBOOK. Only I’m not a Facebook addict, so I fretted all night that he was a) dead or b) had read my post about him and hadn’t taken it well.

Actually, though, maybe a Tardis would have been a better option for the uni run.

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Not only would there have been no issues regarding traffic congestion, but we wouldn’t have had to have played packing box Jenga in the car. Or had to have worried about to where to store everything back at home. How did she manage to accumulate SO MUCH stuff over 8 months anyway?!?! Is she actually doing a BA(Hons) in Shopping?! If only. She’d be a dead cert for a first class pass.

But a duplication machine would have meant I wouldn’t have had to have left a croupy Noodles in the hands of Grandy at 5.30am, with a full 30 minutes before CBeebies even offered a numbing distraction for a far-too-alert-for-this-time-of-the-morning toddler. (Why does Calpol only seem to come in ‘perky’ rather than ‘drowsy’?)

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It would have meant Boo would have got to dancing all groomed, rather than looking like she’d gone backwards through a hedge. Or I would have been at home to greet Husband home, when he eventually made it back (although his luggage is still in Portugal).

It would have meant that I could have sat and watched Dance til Dawn guilt-free*, instead of worrying about how everyone was doing at home or about having to leave Indy to wander the shops streets of Norwich alone.

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*Actually the guilt didn’t last long. Not when there was Vincent Simone in handcuffs alongside dancing policemen (one of whom who looked A LOT like Robbie Williams)…

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…especially sitting in the front row, where I kept catching the Robbie-a-like’s eye and we had Vincent’s kiss directed at us at the end…

…AND got a lovely cuddle with Vincent at the Stage Door afterwards. (Stalker status is official as he not only recognised us, but remembered a conversation we had 5 years earlier!)

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Nothing as sad as the middle-aged Groupie. Oh well, I can live with it.

Actually, maybe a Time Turner would have been even better.

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I could have simultaneously done all of my chores without the grotesque start AND kept repeating my Dance til Dawn experience. I could have watched the show a hundred times over. Vincent and Flavia and their team really know how to inject theatricality into their shows and they’ve upped the ante even more this time. In the words of Craig Revel Horwood: A-MA-ZING!!!

Then all I would have needed would have been a pair of Ruby Slippers to get me home.

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There IS no place like home (although not necessarily in a good way, not when compared with snuggling up to a cheeky little Italian dancer). Plus, they’re ruby slippers. That alone is enough. But if they’d have saved me from a depressing, comedown drive home in the rain after a very long day then all the better.

But science has failed me. Has failed ALL of us. Remember that next time you have to sacrifice something fun – or even just sleep – for mundanity. A temporary duplication machine in the hands of the right people (ie women!) would be a VERY GOOD THING. A Tardis, a Time Turner and Ruby Slippers should surely also be an integral part of a busy mum’s arsenal. Shame on you, scientists. Ok, in fiction, these things aren’t without flaws, but in the reality things couldn’t get any more complicated. Surely it’s worth a try?

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How a Girl Called Jack Made Me Cry

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It’s not everyday a recipe book makes me cry. Usually they make me hungry, or long for a fully-stocked larder or a luxury kitchen. But by the time I’d finished reading Jack Monroe’s introduction to A Girl Called Jack I was blubbing.

Monroe is no celebrity chef, but an accidental food hero. Demonstrating the power of the blog she’s gone from explaining the realities of life on benefits (not fecklessness and monstrous flat-screen TVs paid for by the tax-payer as it turns out, but real hardship and hunger and stark choices) to being a representative of Austerity Britain. She’s given a human face to the statistics behind the economic recession and need for food banks, highlighted the inequality in terms of wealth in the seventh richest country in the world and shown that even though people shouldn’t have to live beneath the breadline it can be done healthily. Despite no longer living hand to mouth, thanks to her voice being heard and people wanting to hear more, she still has the integrity to keep fighting for those in poverty.

…while Hunger Hurts is still true for just ONE family, let alone half a million people…I must carry on raging against the machine…repeating again and again and again and again until they get it.

The innately entitled fat cats who make up too large a share of a government should look at Jack Monroe and feel humbled.

People in 21st-century Britain shouldn’t have to make a choice between heating and food or rent and food or food for themselves and food for their children. People anywhere shouldn’t, to be honest. There’s much debate about the welfare system in Britain, about it fostering laziness and catching people in a poverty trap where it’s worth more to stay at home than it is to have a low-paid, short-contract job. The government has reacted by making the benefits system harsher to dissuade shirkers, but it fails to take into account the actual experience of living with nothing; the impact of rising living costs or of a problem hitting the family when there’s no safety net, be it illness, the need for a new washing machine or a mistake in the system. Reducing people to subsistence living doesn’t encourage them back into work; it takes away their pride and disempowers them. It reduces living to existence and devalues them.

So, thank heavens for Monroe. For being a headstrong, independent menace. For speaking up for those left with little voice of their own and disproving the lazy stereotypes that government is so willing to paint of benefits claimants and those at the bottom of the pile.

Love soup and chickpea, carrot and coriander falafels are the top of my ‘recipes to try’ list. Plenty more pages are turned down at the corner, waiting to be given a go. It looks like I’m going to get value for money from the cookbook itself.

Jack Monroe, thank you for inspiring me, for making me cry and for making me think about the food that goes into my basket (and that I really should contribute to others’ baskets as well).

www.agirlcalledjack.com

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