The middle class wankers' guide to renting a cottage

ARE you and your middle class chums planning to rent a cottage in rural Dorset or similar? Here’s how to be as annoying as possible.

Massively exaggerate what country life is like

After 10 minutes in the cottage, start saying things like “The pace of life is just totally different”. No. People in the countryside have jobs too and it only seems sleepy and relaxed BECAUSE YOU’RE ON F*CKING HOLIDAY.

Be incredibly patronising

You will have to get supplies from the local village, which is a great opportunity to say things like:

“What a lovely, quaint little rural post office! Of course in London we use email.”

“Do young people here go to university, or do they have to stay to look after the pigs?”

“Is incest a big problem?”

Loudly make sneering comparisons to films

In any country pub it is obligatory to quote the line “You made me miss!” from American Werewolf in London. Also reference The Wicker Man and the hillbilly nightmare fuel Deliverance. The locals won’t be insulted because they don’t have TVs and will have no idea what you’re talking about.

Find mundane things totally fascinating

Interrogate local people with unbearably tedious questions, eg. “We were just admiring your barn. Is it for crops or hay? Can the cows eat that all winter or do they need supplementary feed? Do all the cows have names?” and so on until they are begging you to stop.

Make it completely pointless renting a cottage in the country

Spend your entire rural break moaning about the broadband speed, driving to the nearest city to eat out, and complaining that a 19th century crofter’s cottage doesn’t have a garage for your Mercedes 4×4.

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The parent's guide to shit teenage bands

TEENAGERS will always be in bands, no matter how overwhelming the evidence that they are extremely shit. Here’s how to navigate the worst problems of musical youth.

They are unbearably bad

Teenagers’ brains are not fully developed and so cannot comprehend the idea that they are not Led Zeppelin. Buy industrial ear mufflers and just enjoy the fact that they’re pissing off your neighbours who you had a row about a fence with.

They have entered a delusional fantasy world

Most teenage bands – especially male, which most of them are – firmly believe they will soon be living the lifestyle of Guns N’Roses. Nothing will shake this belief, but you can get them to be quiet for several hours by encouraging them to design their first five album covers.

You suspect they are taking drugs

Don’t worry, because considering you still have to buy their clothes for them it’s unlikely to be more than a tiny bit of cheap weed. However if they are hiring dwarves to serve cocaine on silver platters a la Freddie Mercury, it may be time to reduce their allowance.

You fancy the singer

In rare instances a teenage band will have a charismatic lead singer who resembles an 18-year-old Jim Morrison. DO NOT be friendly towards them, for many good reasons, not least that they will keep coming round to your house to practise.

Unbelievably, they turn out to be good

This changes everything. Become their manager and get them signed up to exploitative contracts. Ruthlessly sack less-talented band members, including your own kids. They won’t be happy at missing out on immense wealth and fame, but at least they’ll do better in their A-levels.