The royal ‘we’ – A much used addition to my mother’s vocabulary since I commenced residing in casa Strachan senior back in July. A ‘we’ which, when inserted into a conversation with yours truly, always means ‘you’.

“We need to cut back the buddleia in the back garden, Gary!”, “We need to ring Sky and cancel the Sky Sports package, Gaz!”, “We need to sort out the house insurance renewal, love!” and “We need to apply to run next years Great North Run you fat b*****d!“, just a few of the maternal verbal submissions aimed at me within the last four months……. Incidentally, the last example above wasn’t true; my mother wouldn’t use language of that nature.

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Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t begrudge undertaking any task for my mater. How could I? After all, she (along with my now late dad) furnished me with a loving, caring, warm, funny and secure environment in which to flourish during my fledgling years.

That being said, the fact these habitual “We need too…..” observations are constantly delivered the moment I walk into the home, or as I take a seat at the breakfast table is becoming increasingly wearing.

This morning, during my inaugural Sunday morning venture into chez Strachan’s living room, I was greeted with the words “Morning, love!…… By the way we need to cut back those shrubs in the front garden before the final garden bin collection of the year!”

“The final brown bin (garden waste) collection was last Friday, mum….. It won’t get emptied again until next spring.” I responded grumpily in my half awake state.

“We still need to cut them back though, love!”  mater observed, clearly not keen to let the discussion peter out at that juncture.

“I will do, mum; but I’m not doing it today!!…… I’m going out, and even if I wasn’t it’s bloody p***ing it down outside!” I barked moodily.

“When can you do it, love?!” she persisted.

“A day when I’m not out and it’s not p***ing it down!!” I confirmed tersely.

“When will that be, Gary?!” mother nattered, clearly not happy with my lack of specificity.

“Without checking the bleeding weather forecast, I really can’t commit, mum!” I grunted in an ever growing state of disenchantment.

“It’d be good if you can do it this week, love!” mater persisted.

“I’ll try, mum, but to be honest the plant trimmings won’t be picked up until the brown bins are emptied again in March 2020 anyhow!” yours truly pointed out; really not seeing why Maggie saw this undertaking as so utterly urgent.

“Have you no pride in ensuring the garden looks nice?!” the matriarch muttered, attempting to transport her eldest offspring on a guilt trip.

“Your an ungrateful sod, mum…. I’ve been maintaining your garden for the last four years now, even before dad died!…. You know I like it to look nice.” I argued vociferously in my defence.

“Our Ian would do it if he was here!” mater persisted in her continued attempts to make me feel guilty for not providing any specifics or urgency to her garden maintenance request.

“Well ring our Ian up, mum, but with him being at work all week the earliest he could travel the 100 miles south to undertake the task would be next Saturday…… That’s if he’s available next weekend and prepared to squander £40 on a train fare!!” I felt moved to highlight at being confronted by such an ill-thought out maternal observation.

“Honestly…. I can’t believed I’ve raised two such indolent son’s…… When I think of everything I’ve done for you two, to be quite honest, I feel sick to the stomach at your unresponsiveness!!” mater ranted like a child.

At this point, unprepared to reply to the unwarranted slur, I commenced buttering my recently ejected toasted bread. While spreading a topping of marmite, taking the toast’s flavour into an altogether higher plateau of breakfasting utopia, mum piped up “Oh by the way, we need to get a Sunday Express from the Tesco Extra shop, love!”

Aaarrrrggggghhhh!!!