I’M pleased to report that our little granddaughter has settled in well during her first couple of weeks at school.

She sets off happily every day, shows no signs of nerves, loves seeing her friends, has enjoyed compiling her “Things I did at the weekend” book – including tackling the Parkrun with Ganma and Gandalf – and is proud to have earned some “Steps to success” stickers.

Now, she’s starting to learn the phonetic alphabet, based on the sounds letters make and, to help Chloe and her classmates along, their teacher invited them to come to school on Monday in a fancy-dress costume signifying the letter ‘S’.

Before going any further, it’s worth reminiscing about the problems her dad had with the letter ‘S’ when he was her age and going to the same school. Whenever he pronounced an ‘S’, it came out as an ‘F’ which caused considerable amusement whenever he wore his Fuperman costume.

There was also the time when he memorably announced that Finderella had lost her flipper.

It got even worse when he was having trouble getting his socks off before playing on a bouncy castle. “Fock off! Fock off!” he kept shouting to the alarm of other parents.

The embarrassment continued at my mum and dad’s house the following week when he again wanted to be barefoot. I can still see my dear old dad nearly choking on his tea while I tried to assure him that we weren’t raising a foul-mouthed toddler.

Anyway, back to Chloe. The teacher explained to the children that they could wear anything beginning with the letter ‘S’ and gave them a couple of ideas to spark their imagination.

“You could be a sssssslippery ssssssnake, or perhaps a ssssssuper hero,” she said ahead of the weekend.

Back home, Chloe excitedly discussed the options with her Mummy and Daddy. Ssssssleeping Beauty was in the frame at one point, while Ganma chucked in the possibility of a ssssssausage, but that was quickly dismissed as a ssssssilly ssssssuggestion.

In the end, Chloe decided to go as Ssssssnow White, though not before she’d come up with another quite brilliant idea of her own.

“Daddy, I think I know what I’m going to do on Monday,” she announced, with a sudden smile.

“What have you decided?” asked her Daddy.

“Well, maybe I could go in my sssssschool uniform!” she declared.


My mum, just a couple of weeks short of her 90th birthday, is justifiably proud of her garden which she keeps in immaculate condition without any help, even though she uses an old-fashioned manual lawnmower.

However, she’s been getting a bit cross with a naughty squirrel who keeps digging holes in her lawn.

“I’ll grab his nuts if I get hold of him,” she said, shaking her fist.

If that squirrel knows what’s good for him, he’ll find another garden.

AND here’s a couple from the archives…

A little girl called Jill came home from school with a rather delicate question: “How did Mary have a baby without a husband?”

Her mum did her best to explain, saying: “It was just that God thought she was special.”

“No,” replied Jill. “I mean Mary, the secretary at school!”

LEE, seven at the time and living in Loftus, was travelling in the car with his family.

“What are you going to be when you grow up, Lee?” he was asked.

“I’m going to be a fireman,” came the reply.

“And what qualifications do you think you’ll need to do that?” asked his step-dad, Simon.

Quick as a flash, Lee had the answer: “A pair of wellies and an axe!”

  • Dad At Large columns were turned into four books. They are all available at www.peterbarronbooks.com