I wonder where the inspiration or idea came from for the Game ‘Speak Out’.   The aim of the game is to correctly understand the phrase your teammate is trying to say, while I imagine trying not to spit – through a mouth guard!
Did the creator get this idea from having a teenage son?
Maybe, like me, he too found it a struggle to understand what was being said, and thought what a great idea for a game it would make!
I say this as it would seem that we play a very similar version to this every day at home, albeit minus a board, phrase cards and the all important mouth guard.
But the concept is definitely the same: guess what my teenage son has just said, as quite frankly at this moment in his teenhood I have no idea what 95% of the sound means that comes out of his mouth.
If my teenage daughter is around, it’s great,  she is fluent in teenage mumble and translates word perfect for me.
The pressure to understand it right first time is enormous.  Saying pardon more than once will only result in a grunt and him asking me if I’m going deaf in my supposed old age.
This then always results in me deliberately pulling the ‘pardon’  funny card out the bag which he falls for every time, failing to see the hilarity of my joke!
However, it seems that I too must mumble as when I ask, what I believe to be a simple question, such as “‘have you got homework?” his answer is usually no.
Yet at bedtime he suddenly remembers that actually he does have homework.  He then wonders why this triggers an explosive response from me! apparently he hadn’t actually realised what I had meant earlier when I asked him!
Its like when I can’t find my phone to text him, so instead yell out his name.  With no response, probably due to his selective hearing, I usually give it one last shout then with no response I turn the broadband off.
Strangely, this unspoken act he understands and is quick to respond!
Always keen to keep the line of communication strong with my kids, not that they are always keen to embrace, but as their mother I am interested.
I feel it important to keep up to date with what they are doing, who they are seeing, how school is going, blah blah blah, it’s never a long conversation, in fact its usually short and to the point.
Their answers consist of nothing more than ‘fine’, ‘not your business’, or simply ‘why do you always want to know?’
So, after repeatedly failing the mumbling listening test, I took to the drawing board and thought I would keep a handy little dictionary close to me of popular phrases all translated for easy reference for when the mumbling is rumbling.
We now have our own little tune called ‘Mumble of the Teen’, which he even uses himself now! More commonly used in the car on the way to school, the mornings are when his mumble is at its best!
So to avoid writer’s cramp creeping in I decided to start with only 16 of the 50+ I have.
Listed below are the most current phrases mumbled.
1-15 are mumbled loudly and some with eye rolling for added affect but I stress that No. 16 is not mumbled but spoken in a surprisingly affectionate ‘clear as a whistle tone’.
  1. Everyone = No-one
  2. I haven’t lost it/Someone must have taken it = I’ve lost it
  3. Yes I know *continuous eye rolling* = No idea at all will wing this somehow
  4. I am listening *looking at phone*  = I have no idea what you just said
  5. Yes I am getting dressed = Crap, where’s my clothes
  6. I am going to sleep *looking at phone* = In a couple of hours when I have finished snapchatting
  7. Hang on *annoyance in tone*  =  What is up with that woman! I will be out when I”M ready
  8. Just Coming *adjusting hair* = One more selfie and I’m done
  9. I don’t have any homework = Only English & Maths which can wait until bedtime
  10. Its not my fault!! *loud & dramatic* =  Yep its mums fault she should have warned me my pocket had a massive gaping hole/reminded me it was PE today/that I had homework/my maths homework was wrong!
  11. Can you help me with my homework = Can you do it as I can’t be arsed
  12. Did you ring me? = Why would you ring me when I’m with my mates?!? You know I won’t respond until the ‘RING ME NOW’ text arrives
  13. You don’t understand =  What would she know!!!  I’m 14 making me ‘Mr Knower of all’
  14. Not much  = A lot, sharing the details would only lead to further questioning that I cant be arsed with
  15. Why would I lie? = I am lying through my teeth because if you knew you wouldn’t let me
  16. I love you, you are the best mum ever = guaranteed to disfuse the situation and gain total forgiveness


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Thursday 17th November saw the all too quick return of our annual family trip into town for the Christmas Lights Switch on. Sitting at work earlier that day watching the rain pouring down, it set me thinking about the night ahead, different scenarios rolled around in my head, my personal favourite being the kids telling me they don’t want to go so I could curl up in front of the fire rest assured I am still a good mum.  However, the guilt for having this thought and fear of not keeping up with the Facebook proper mummy page, we were going.  So with mind made up it was back to coffee, adult chats and resting or if you like to call it, work! God, I love my job.

Fast forward home-time and the reminder that it was the big switch on was met with groans of noooooo I don’t want to go and that was just hubbie.  “Mum, do I have to go, its sooooo boring and anyway I’m too old for it now…..”  said the ever so old 9-year-old Niall, so faced with the dilemma of which way to play this, was it the usual bribe tactics, the force them card or just accept he doesn’t want to go and leave him at home with his older brother thus ensuring the evening would be a moan free zone, was a no brainer the latter won.

So, with 1/3 family in tow off we set into the night to join the queues of traffic all heading the same way.  The running commentary on ‘bloody traffic’ paled into the background as I focused on the bigger challenge, finding a parking space.  So with a lot of ‘what are they doing’, ‘Christ, they’ve beaten us to it’ a space was found at the side of a road and only a 15-minute walk from the High Street.

With a fast building audience of other motorists, hubbie was now committed to getting in the space, not one too shy away from a challenge and after a 45-point turn he successfully wedged us in a spot so tight I realised why it had been free.  So, with a smug ‘that’s how you park a car’ from him off we set on Shanks’s pony.

Walking down it struck me, how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful town.  It may have changed over the years but the basis remains firm, the cobbled streets, side alleys, beautiful buildings and castle all add to the charm and beauty in this cosmopolitan town.  We even have a Primark.

So, our evening traditionally started with the dodging of anything that’ lights up and is wand or sword shaped, however this year with only one child in tow and a bit of distracting the dodging was easy and it was straight to my favourite bit, Starbucks for a Christmas cup of liquid delight, this year’s choice, Fudge Hot Chocolate.   


So, cup in hand and starting to feel a tad festive we headed out into the crowds to navigate our way through to our favourite spot to wait for the Christmas Lights countdown.  With a spot of people watching thrown in, the feeling of festivity and community spirit was rich, almost as rich as the sellers of those bloody flashing wands & swords but who am I to moan even the attention seeking, look at me shouts of the lad beside me wasn’t annoying this festive embracing woman.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1……and with the flick of a lucky winners finger the all new Christmas lights were on.  “Well they could have had more colour” said hubbie as I stood oohing and ahhhhing at how beautiful they were, ‘how boring are they’ he said,  I call it grown up and sophisticated and very fitting to the town we live in.  So agreeing to disagree it reminded me all too well why hubbie is never tasked with the job of decorating the Christmas trees. 


BOOM!!!! colour lit up the sky as the evenings finale of fireworks began, again this year they did not disappoint.  ‘Now that’s much better” said hubbie as a rainbow of colours flashed above him, ‘everyone likes a bit of colour’.


As the evening’s entertainment drew to a close, we again waited, this time for Ciara who had enjoyed these festivities with her preferred company of friends, so now ¼ family,  it was back on Shanks’s pony and homeward bound with the realisation that I better get my arse in gear as Christmas is coming.


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So November has got off to a cracking start. Thanks to a friend Ciara has landed herself a part time job washing up in a local pub, a whole new experience for her working and washing up!! She started Sunday and I am pleased to report, all went well & she made enough to keep up her addiction to Nando’s indulging straight after her shift but it all made for a welcome change from the stresses of her GCSE studies.

The 5th saw our yearly jaunt to our local Bonfire night minus our two older ones who sadly now prefer the company of their friends at a different venue.

So the wellies came out of hibernation to loud groans of “they don’t fit, I can’t get my foot in” and me looming over them like the wicked stepmother insisting that their feet will fit. Finally admitting defeat, it was old trainers on, hats, coats and we were ready for the off.


The kids were so excited they didn’t even moan about the walk there and back, although I think it may have helped that Niall was pre-occupied catching Pokémons en-route to think about far he had to go.

Bonfire ablaze, we walked around enjoying the wonderful array of food and drinks on offer from local suppliers. Burgers, sausages, hot chocolate & coffee were all available as well as the customary Tea Cup Ride. Sadly this was the first year that the kids didn’t want to have a go; they said they are too old. I think they have since been spoilt with the Tea Cups at Thorpe Park a personal favourite of mine as it doesnt involve heights.

It was time for the annual lighting of the Sparklers. Now I don’t know if anyone else has a problem with lighting sparklers or if it’s just me, but this year proved extremely challenging. With two impatient children and a crowd all waving their lit sparklers, the pressure was on. Time and time again the failure to light them was not going down well; the excuse of the wind was just not cutting it and I swear I can still see an indentation on my thumb from the spark wheel. Double checking we hadn’t bought joke Sparklers I near on screamed with delight when one sprung into life, halleluiah we were ready to sparkle.


The evening was rounded of perfectly with a spectacular firework display, nothing could dampen it not even Niall who was constantly asking if we could get his candy floss and go, as there was a Pokémon he needed to fight at the village hall, it was apparently a very important fight that awaited.

So a quick dash back to the Candy Floss stall saw me fleeced out of £7 for two bags of pink stuff but hey its only once a year, then it was homeward bound with a few Pokémons caught on the way.

Many thanks go to the local committee and all the volunteers who put so much time and effort into organising such a wonderful evening year after year.

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