How to decode your mum's emojis

MUM is messaging and the emojis are flowing but her choices are utterly baffling. Here’s what she’s really trying to say:

‘Call me’ hand

She scrolled for a long time for that thumbs up symbol you always use and stumbled across this one. She now uses it constantly as it saves her spending four minutes trying to type out ‘ok’. Fear not, she’s not expecting you to call her. Well, she is, constantly, but that’s not what she’s trying to communicate in this instance.

‘Loudly crying’ face

She’s aiming for tears of laughter and, without her glasses on, this looks a lot like it. No need to put her right as hysterical weeping will often make sense as a response from her, like when your dad makes yet another awful joke on the family WhatsApp or you send over a funny video of your young child saying ‘f**k’ instead of ‘duck’.

‘Cringe’ face

She thinks the cringe face is grinning and uses it as an indicator of pure joy and excitement. Got a promotion? Cringe. Sent a picture of your new car? Cringe. The news that you’re getting married? Cringe. Actually, that one was correct as she really does not like your partner.

Blind man with stick

She uses this one frequently to say that Dad is out playing golf, which indicates both her level of knowledge of the game and her interest in it. Mind you, she uses the flamenco dancing woman to signal she’s off to aerobics, so perhaps she just sees the world through a different lens to other people.


Oh, for goodness’ sake, she’s making a veggie curry when you go round tonight and wants to make sure you like the ingredients, so stop sending back laughing emojis. The point you need to get embarrassed is when she accidentally sends you a message intended for your dad that ends with the rocket followed by the spurting whale.

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Five places to swim that will be safer than Britain's waters

FANCY a dip? Avoid Britain’s sewage-infested waters and fatal poisoning by swimming in these places instead:

Your bath

Now that the Tories have voted to allow water companies to dump raw sewage into Britain’s rivers and seas, outdoor swimming is out of the question. Swimming pools are off limits too because they’re filled with chlorine and cost a fortune. So why not stay at home and do some lengths in your bath? You’ll do 50 in no time.

A volcano

If you overlook how difficult they are to get to, volcanoes are the perfect place to go for a swim. Their lakes of boiling magma are nice and toasty so you won’t need to bring a wet suit, and because you’re technically swimming through molten rocks instead of water there’s no risk of getting Weil’s disease. You might get burnt though.

Sea of Japan

Turn your swim into the trip of a lifetime by visiting the Pacific Rim. Here you’ll get up close and personal with the rockets that North Korea repeatedly fires into the Sea of Japan, which is way better than swimming with dolphins. Plus you’ll be about as far as you can get from British waters without going to a different hemisphere. It’s a win-win.

Dangerous shark enclosures

Man-eating sharks are kept in captivity by aquariums, which means the water in these enclosures will be crystal clear and safe for humans to swim in. Sure there’s the little matter of tiger sharks trying to nibble at your internal organs, but at least you’re not breast stroking your way through raw sewage. You can’t have everything.

The sewer

Once the dirtiest places in existence, sewers will be transformed into immaculate underground lidos after all of their waste has been jettisoned into Britain’s rivers and seas. Younger generations will be gobsmacked to learn that sewers were filthy in days gone by, just like you’re shocked that our water is wilfully being pumped full of human shit.