A Rap about Michael Gove.

After Gove’s ‘rapping’ in the news, I decided to take up the challenge and write my own (c)rap about him. Without further ado, and with thanks to Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’, here goes…


If you’re having Gove problems I feel bad for you son,

I got 99 problems and Gove’s more than one.


If I wanna get my pension gotta work til 68,

The public think I’m lazy but then haters gonna hate.

Gove you got us working for 16 hour days,

We’re overworked, exhausted, and suffering from malaise.

Gove says we’re the enemies, the enemies of ‘promise’,

But Mikey you da enemy, da enemy of ‘honest’.

You tell us the way forward is ten hour daysies,

But how will kids cope? Your thinking is crazies.

Your policies date from 1983,

You’re blinded by your head being so far up your batt-eeee.

You’ve never taught a lesson yet dictate how we should do this,

Can’t you see your concepts are really kinda ludicrous?

You say that the kids are in need of punishment & rules,

But you suggest writing lines and picking litter up in school.

So if an abused & messed up kid decides to throw a chair,

I’ll have him collect rubbish instead of teach him how to care?

I’ve got GCSEs to PGCEs, Govey, I ain’t dumb,

I got 99 problems and you’re more than one,

Hit me.


If you’re having Gove problems I feel bad for you son,

I got 99 problems and Gove’s more than one.


The year’s 2014 and my lesson plan’s raw,

But Gove’s up my behind, oh shut the front door.

From academies to sacking Sally & opening up free schools,

Stick them right up Gove’s alley when he comes waving his torture tools.

I say “Mike, my man, come to school, come here and spend a term,

Gettin’ down and gettin’ real and teachin’ kids how to learn”.

Dyscalculia, dyslexia: we cater to them all,

Evaluate, differentiate, stopping fighting in the halls.

Inclusion, exclusion, personalised learning plans,

Kinaesthetic, anaesthetic – give one to the Gove man.


HOD and IEPs and APPs for you,

Aspergers to ODD and DAMP for some,

Outcomes and objectives and pupil premium,

Pedagogy, success criteria, the making of resources,

Add some meetings, three a week, it’s horses for all courses.

Write reports and mark 300 books (yes, that’s 300 a week),

Requires improvement, ticking boxes, it’s all in teacher speak.


If you’re having Gove problems I feel bad for you son,

I got 99 problems and Gove’s more than one.


Now once upon a time not so long ago,

I was teachin’ lessons and jugglin’ acronyms, yo,

Now I’m sat seethin’ and tryin’ to rhyme words,

Diggin’ through your policies is like mining for a turd.

I try to ignore ya and talk to the Lord,

But I’m an atheistic RS teacher and Gove’s makin’ me bored,

The schools have had enough, the Gove-ernment is sick,

They’re lettin’ our systems be run by this p-erson,

Everywhere I look Gove’s there harrassin’  ’em,

Tryin’ to play them teachers just like they’re saccharin.

There’s sure plenty sweet bout how they teach their less-ons,

But they got 99 problems and Gove, you’re the main one.

Hit me.


Self-Service Tills… Or, AAARGGH

This was first published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 25th March 2014


It is a truth universally acknowledged by irate parents everywhere, that there is little as frustrating in life as a self-service till. 

Having done battle with one this afternoon, I am filled with venom for the heinous instrument of torture. What kind of evil tormentor, I ask you, would invent a device with a scale at small-child-height? A scale that decides whether or not you are trying to shoplift, and a scale that is as temperamental as Elton John menstruating.

The self-service till looks innocent enough. ‘Come to me,’ it whispers, beguilingly. ‘Come to me and save that precious commodity of parents everywhere: time!’ Yet no sooner have you been seduced and approached the wanton temptress with your children at your side, than one of said offspring touches the scale and off it goes: UNFAMILIAR ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA.

Cue much toing and froing of items: items on, items off, items squashed in rage. Small children hovering, babbling incessant nonsense, threatening to put hands back in the bagging area.

God forbid you scan a bottle of alcohol, because then of course you’ll need ‘assistance’ due to age restrictions. The worst thing about this is when the ten year old behind the counter takes one look at your haggard countenance and sanctions the sale without hesitation. It takes every ounce of resilience not to break into the vino there and then, but to continue instead with the ludicrous concept of paying to serve oneself in this nightmare.

At this point, a security guard will suspect you of doing a Worall-Thompson. They arrive in the peripheries of your vision, which itself is getting a little blurred due to the parental sweat that is dribbling down your forehead. I can only assume that the security guard in our local shop spent his last job being attacked by kleptomaniac midgets, because the instant that he spots a small child in the store he is on them faster than women on a dance-floor when I Will Survive begins to play.

And then of course there is the rigmarole of whether you want bags, and if you are going to have to pay for them. By this stage I’d generally vouch for placing one over my head and tying the handles like strings, but stubborn determination to get my clubcard points keeps me going.

The final insult is when I pay and my children steal my change; child-height cash dispenser you see. Excellent.




Turning into my mother…

First published in the Portsmouth News, 18/03/2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all. The older I get, the more like my mother I become.

I tell my children that they have to eat broccoli because it is good for them. Nothing wrong there. Until I confess that, nowadays, I actually like the stuff myself.

I have also invested in a slow cooker: the oven of the middle-aged. How I once guffawed at my mother for putting an entire meal in a slow cooker at the crack of dawn, a time of day when even a glass of water made me gag. Now I find myself knuckle deep in shoulder joints whilst gaily chopping raw onions at 6.30am weekdays.

I also read the labels on food whilst shopping. I used to loathe my mother doing this. Every week we would do the food shop, and every week she would take approximately a lifetime longer than necessary due to an obsession with scanning the labels.

I find myself waxing lyrical about the likes of chia seeds, goji berries and raw chocolate. Consciouschocolate.com for example is heaven: free from dairy, soya, gluten and refined sugar. Practically calorie free, no? I try to tempt the children with chocolate covered rice cakes instead of doughnuts, and they look at me as though I have proffered a dog poo.

Another thing I am noticing is that I, like my mother, now moan about the length of dressing gown sleeves: they get in the way of my domestic duties. I even invested in a dressing gown with a zip and not a tie, known affectionately by my husband as The Purple Spotted Shroud. Sadly the zip broke at neck level recently, leaving me naked, trapped at the head, and having to cut myself out.

I have even started wearing vests. (I’m really selling myself, I know.) I have not yet graduated to thermals, but at this time of year I ensure that I have a vest top underneath a jumper. To put this in perspective, I used to leave the house in an LBD, heels, and not much else in the dead of winter. Now my thumb aches if the weather is cold. Why, why?

My friends and I recently met for coffee and, clearly a bit high on the caffeine, mooted the concept of an evening jaunt. “Out?” said one. “What, at night?” said the other. “Maybe just the cinema?” said I.


Bingo it is then.

Simon Cowell’s Nipples. (Can’t get blunter than that…)

First published in Portsmouth News, 11/03/14

Unless you have been taken hostage, or have actively sought cover from press footage of the toothsome twosome, one cannot help but notice that Simon Cowell and his partner have spawned.

There is a mini-Cowell at large on the planet, and although he is unable to even focus his eyeballs yet, one day this tiny tot is going to be a powerhouse, with his father’s empire at his feet.

And so what moniker did Cowell and Legs Eleven Lauren choose to bestow upon this future heir to global megadom? Which name, befitting of an international icon, did they settle upon? Drum roll please: ahem, Eric. 

Since the arrival of Ahem Eric, we, the unsuspecting public, have been inundated with photographs. And not once in my wildest imaginings did I guess that I would be subjected to so many pictures of Simon Cowell’s nipples.

Nipples sweating on the beach; nipples nestled in moist chest hair; nipples on a night out when everybody else is suitable attired. Utterly unnecessary, and certainly enough to call into question just who is supposed to be doing the breast-feeding.

As well as frequent sightings of Simon’s breasticles, there is also the abnormal addition of his ex-girlfriends. When I was marooned, fat and leaking on the maternity ward, there is nothing I’d have enjoyed more than coming round from all the morphine only to be confronted by my husband and a glamorous troupe of his grinning ex-partners.

Except perhaps for them to then drag me to the beach. Oh, what I’d have given to be surrounded by smug, bouncy-haired beauties, all of whom had intimate knowledge of my partner, and none of whom were trying to keep sand out of their stitches. Nothing cures a post-natal haemorrhoid faster than a spot of salt water.

You have to give it to Legs Eleven Lauren, she’s taking it all in her impeccable stride. The image of her chatting to Cowell’s ex-fiancee, whilst they cooed over Ahem Eric in the buggy, was only surpassed by the fact that Simon was again topless. Why Simon, why? Enough with the nipples already.

Even the Cowell canines, Squiddly and Diddly, have managed to photo-bomb the pictures. Which leads me to conclude that if the world has learned but one thing from the Cowell Family Album, aside from the fact that men should wear shirts on streets, it is that Simon must never again be allowed to choose the name of a living creature. 

Family and the Death of a Parent


First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 4th March, 2014

Next month, it will be twenty-five years since my father died.

My dad, Pete Lush, passed away when he was forty-one years old. His death was sudden and happened on an April Wednesday.

I knew that my dad was young, but it is only as the years creep by and I approach forty, with a young family, that I recognise just how young he was.

My memories of my father range from the vivid to the murky. There are some that my subconscious has probably embellished over the years, adding layers each time a relative tells me a story about him.

And as with everyone who has lost somebody close to them, I worry that the memories will fade, but I grasp on to them and I share them with my daughters. It pains me that they will never know him, but it comforts me when I look at my eldest and see his blue eyes reflected in all her eight year old beauty.

The loss of a parent at a young age is explosive: it sends your world rocking and tilting on its axis, whilst your homework sits unchanging on your bed where you left it. One minute you can be pondering maths, the next you hear a knock at the door that doesn’t belong there on a Wednesday afternoon. And five minutes after that, a titanic hole has been gorged, creating a valley fathoms deep, in a life that, up until that moment, had been relatively smooth ground.

My grandad told me that my father had died, and my mother picked me up in her arms and carried me for the first time in years. That evening she drove me for miles in the car, and that night I slept in her bed. My parents had divorced years before, but the loss for her was no less than for me.

Our parents are a point of anchor. Often, when we become parents, we have to face our own mortality for the first time; we suddenly have tiny beings for whom we have to live. In the midst of this, it is easy to forget how much we still need parenting ourselves: to be looked after, to have unconditional love, to feel safe.

We take our families for granted too often, so I’d like to make it clear to any of mine who happen to be reading this: I love you dearly and unreservedly. Thank you.