Man in the Middle – Chapter 48: The Mystery of the Colman’s Mustard tin

Man in the Middle - Chapter 48: The Mystery of the Colman’s Mustard tin

10 August, 2020 / By Man in the Middle ‘Mrs. Johnson. Dr Smith will see you now.’ I am in the queue at the family clinic waiting to help Mother show the doctor her right leg, which has turned blue like an uncooked lobster and ballooned up again. ‘Mrs. Johnson?’ The doctor’s surgery makes

Man in the Middle – Chapter 47: The salt cellar

Man in the Middle - Chapter 47: The salt cellar

4 August, 2020 / By Man in the Middle Mother has a silver salt cellar cupped in her hands which she holds out towards me as if she were a beggar. Her gesture reminds me of the scene in Oliver, the musical, when the young Oliver asks for a second portion of gruel. I am unsettled by her gesture and my reaction to it, but I can’t work

Man in the Middle – Chapter 46: Walking boots and sweaty socks

I take off my walking boots and sweaty socks in the porch of the cottage and hobble bare foot to the kitchen mantel piece, where my mobile phone is charging, below a map of the Brecon Beacons. The family and I have been out walking along the River Usk for over four hours and we deliberately left our phones behind to see if we have the willpower to detach ourselves from the mobile phone netw

Man in the Middle – Chapter 45: Mother and Jean Paul Sartre

Breakfast. Mother licks her index finger and pats it onto the crumbs of pain au chocolate on her plate, while casually asking my daughter what existentialism is. ‘It was all the rage thirty years ago. But you don’t hear people talking about it anymore,’ Mother says, as if mourning the end of the golden age of dinner party banter. My daughter stops supping up her Cheerios and takes

Man in the Middle – Chapter 44: Will the pubs be open in the Brecon Beacons?

I am co-chairing with my wife a family meeting to discuss the battle plans for the week-long holiday we’re about to take in the Brecon Beacons. I am co-chair in name only, of course, because my wife has already made all the decisions and my only job as co-chair is tell the children to shut up if they interrupt her while she explains what she’s decided we’re going to do. Some men mi

Man in the Middle – Chapter 43: Mirror in the Bathroom

There’s a time in every man’s life when what he sees in the mirror scares him

The balding man in the bathroom mirror has a double chin and jowls which droop like the sails of a yacht on a windless sea. His blue eyes have faded to grey. The skin under his eye sockets sags like an airbag which should have been packed away after a collision years ago but has been left hanging from the

Man in the Middle – Chapter 42: Cannabis Gravy

In America you can buy Thanksgiving gravy infused with cannabis which my daughter cites as one example of how good gravy can enhance a meal. ‘Enhance is one word for it,’ I say thinking about the havoc a dose of THC, the chemical in cannabis, might have upon Mother who loves gravy like F Scott Fitzgerald loved Gin Rickey’s. We’re debating the merits of gravy because we’re plann

Man in the Middle – Chapter 41: The Death of Patriarchy

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 40: Would you ever eat your cat?

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 39: A cure for baldness

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 38: The best iron money can buy

  A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intac

Man in the Middle – Chapter 37: Cummings and goings

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 36: For whom the bell tolls

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 35: Nachos

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 34: The lure of yoga

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 33: Hilary Mantel & the dead body

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 32: Howard Hughes Stays Over

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 31: Can you be Hygge without hugs?

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 30: Has Covid made pants pointless?

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 29: Mother’s birthday

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 28: Covid-19 didn’t ruin Mother’s Day

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 27: Can’t Hear, Won’t Hear

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If y

Man in the Middle – Chapter 26: International Women’s Day

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 25: Blue Suede Shoes

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 24: Goop

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 23: Laurence Fox

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 22: Rice Pudding

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 21: New Year Resolutions

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If yo

Man in the Middle – Chapter 20: Musical Mothers

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If you’d like to begin at the

Man in the Middle – Chapter 19: Reeling in the years

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact? If you’d like to begin at the