I’ve the pleasure of my mother’s company as I commence this essay, Costa coffee in situ. This infrequent event of her presence while writing follows her request to accompany me to the White Rose Shopping Centre (WRSC) – Her mission to “Buy some bits for Christmas.” An inquiry I was happy to accommodate, but only after assurances she wouldn’t distract me mid-penmanship once at the south Leeds retail outlet.

A promise which she’s thus far struggled to achieve. We’ve only been sitting at the coffee shop 15 minutes and already she’s disrupted my writing flow with comments about how I need to drink less, exercise more, how lovely a passing child’s balloon was, along with sporadic inquiries of “I’m not distracting you am I, love?”

In her defence, I guess my expectation she’d live up to her assurance of silence was naive in the extreme.  After all, why would she desist from talking when there’s a question she’s already submitted four times this morning to ask again?! A behavioural trait borne from her discomfort when confronted by periods of silence.

When not writing I can just about handle being repeatedly informed about ‘fascinating’ elements of her existence. However, when sat at my laptop attempting to evoke creative notions I find it irritating when confronted by these regurgitated maternal news bulletins.


These distractions irking me to such an extent I’m contemplating getting a series of bespoke t-shirts printed bearing exclamations such as ‘Yes, I know Mavis has got a new hearing aid!‘, ‘Why are you telling me Edith’s lost her false teeth again, mum?!’ and ‘Can you just let me finish this bloody paragraph before telling me about Eric’s gout!!’

These t-shirts, should I follow up an the notion, to be adorned as a sort of work uniform by yours truly in an attempt to ply my trade in a less stressful environment.

In the last few moments Maggie (my mater) has meandered off to the Marks & Spencers store. This emporium of food, clothes and homeware a sort of church to the family matriarch. A place she visits to worship at least once a week. More if she’s confession such as telling the customer services rep “Forgive me Father for I have sinned….. I disloyally shopped at John Lewis’ last Tuesday!”

I told my mum to give me about 30 minutes to complete this narrative. Hopefully, that’ll allow me the time to complete this daily narrative without further interruption. A half hour where I can concentrate on the job in hand; allowing an environment when creative epiphanies aren’t hampered by the muttering of my silence-fearing mother.

Ironically, as Costas is packed an elderly lady’s just sat in the chair my mum recently vacated. This ‘quirky’ old woman delighting in telling me her friend Martha had just got a new hearing aid, her sister Irene had lost her false teeth and brother Frank was suffering from gout!…… It’s seems I’m destined to pen today’s capricious notions from a position of angst…… And I need to get those bloody t-shirts printed!!