Other people's children and what's wrong with them

YOUR own children, thanks to good genes and excellent parenting, are great. Other people’s children, by contrast, always disappoint for these reasons:


You can’t get through a minute’s conversation without their kids, who frankly are running to pork, demanding a smoothie or a fistful of Haribo or Netflix on. And whether it’s another packet of crisps or Daddy to play horsey, they get it. Meanwhile your two are quiet because they’re playing games on your phones.


‘Mummy’s drunk too much wine,’ their eight-year-old announces, ‘and Daddy’s going bald! Ha ha!’ And their ineffectual parents shrug it off impotently with never a hint of discipline. It’s different when your daughter loudly asks why Auntie Kate’s got such huge boobs. She’s intellectually curious.


There’s nothing like planning a fun evening with friends and being cornered by an eight-year-old explaining the latest Minecraft update in full. ‘You see it now has camels, which protect you from mob attacks,’ mmm, sorry you’re so dull. Totally unlike your own children, who merely have enthusiasms they want to share and are so articulate.


It’s a shame, because neither parent is ugly but their youngest seems to have inherited the worst aspects of both. Small-eyed, long-nosed and an overbite like a marmot. And surely they could do something with her hair? It’s not the same as your teenage son’s spots, which are a temporary affliction and will clear up soon.


Their limited vocabulary was obvious, so you couldn’t resist setting a few simple maths problems for their eight-year-old and oh dear. Stumped by simple number bonds they should have learned in infants. Still, it’ll save in university fees. Your daughter does have a tutor, yes, but only because of her dyscalculia.

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How to have a Christmassy World Cup

IT’S Christmas, and also the World Cup, therefore it must be Christmas at the World Cup. Follow these tips for a Yuletide football spectacular:

Shake sleigh bells for the last 20 minutes of every match

Just as a Christmas single is an ordinary song with sleigh bells a-jingling, adding them to a football match will make the whole thing charmingly festive. Shake them throughout the closing stages of Argentina-Australia tonight, including extra time and VAR.

Let it snow

Either pay a child to stand behind the TV sprinkling fake snow between you and the screen, put a graphical snowfall overlay onto the screen, or if that’s too much trouble get Qatar to do it. Call them claiming to be from FIFA and demand artificial snow at every game. They’ll do it, they’re throwing millions at this and don’t give a shit.

Any team in red and green are elves

Senegal, Portugal, Cameroon: if they’re playing in green and red they’re Santa’s jolly little elves having a break from relentless toymaking with a bit of a kickabout in a country that gives workers more human rights than Santa does. Ronaldo is the head elf and a merry fellow in charge of handing out candy canes.

Replace the national anthem with a seasonal classic

Turn down dull national anthems and turn up Slade, Mariah, Jona Lewie and Wham! Imagine France are singing along to Roy Wood and are all fired up for the game simply because they love Christmas so bloody much and get to unwrap a big pile of presents afterwards, shrieking like excited children.

Stick a flare up a reindeer’s arse

Not a real reindeer. That could be fatal for both you and the animal. But there’s plenty of stuffed ones around who’ll happily take a red flare in the rear, commemorating England’s greatest ever Euros moment and making it wonderfully festive. You’ll have tears in your eyes as your house fills with crimson smoke and burning ash falls like snow.

Don’t watch the final until the 25th

There’s only a week to wait, so record the final and watch it on Christmas morning while the children are opening their presents. The turkey roasting, the tree lights twinkling, the winning goal going in. Don’t worry about spoilers, nobody will bother to discuss the result of Qatar’s bullshit World Cup unless England win it. And they won’t.