Thursday, August 14, 2008

How unlike the home life...

We brought our children up in a calm, happy household, sheltering them from the realities of life. At least, that was the idea. It worked up to a point.

Conversations with offspring:

1. Son phoned yesterday to say that he’d met his first murderer. A young man came into the hospital because he’d been stabbed, though not badly injured. It turned out that he’d been in a fight which he’d started by stabbing another young man. He objected to being treated before he knew how his victim was doing. They didn’t tell him at that point that the other lad, just 20, had died before reaching hospital.

2. Daughter 2 (whose firm sometimes does prison architecture): Do you know what the principal design consideration is when you’re designing a prison?

Me: Good locks?

Daughter 2: Chips. (ie French fries)

Me: Chips?

Daughter 2: Yes, prisoners insist on having chips available every day. If the deep fat fryer breaks down, they’re liable to riot. So, to be on the safe side, you have to design a kitchen with two deep fat fryers. Of course, you don’t want dangerous criminals round hot fat. So you do need good locks on the kitchen doors.

Yes. Well.


  1. O, MY GOSH! french fries and death now that is sad........I would worry about both being in my life. Your children sound as if life for them is an interesting day.

    Gosh it has been a long time since we chatted and I always loved visiting you but life got busy (and still is) but I wanted so much to visit blogger freinds I have always enjoyed visitng again.

    best wishes Lee-ann

  2. Chip riots?! Good grief.

  3. Ah yes. We so want to bring those babies back into our sheltering homes don't we? Sometimes my heart just aches knowing what they will see out there. I guess we can't protect them forever, but somedays it sure would be nice.

  4. Anonymous4:39 am

    I was the product of a sheltered upbringing. It was a rude shock to start my first job with the unemployed and unemployable in the state welfare office.
    And now I've done the same thing to my kids.
    Your lot are having some fascinating experiences! Chip riots, eh? Who'd have thought?

  5. Life is never dull, is it?

  6. I knew the world had gone mad.One assumes that prison means that the inmates do what they are told to do, and eat what they are given. I didn't realise they had menus to choose from. How naive of me!

    Yes, Isabelle - mine have also been sheltered and "normal". I have come to the conclusion that my normal is actually very abnormal nowadays.

  7. I once had a site vist to a well-known Glasgow prison with an architect. We went everywhere, even up on the roof, but he never mentioned the chips. I feel cheated.

  8. A calm upbringing allows them to look at these realities of life with a balanced eye. It also makes you realise just how much some kids are dealing with...

  9. I'm with Tracey on this, I think. A sense of personal security and happiness in the end will make them better able to cope.

    Prisoners must get everso fat living on chips and getting no exercise!