The five most annoying habits of your retired parents

ARE you constantly driven up the wall by your elderly parents’ strange behaviour? Here’s how to cope with their most annoying habits.

Obsession with trivia

Retirement gives your parents way too much time to focus on daft trivia like whether to buy a new tea towel, which they will tell you about until you want to cry. Solution: Make them get a job, even if they’re 80 and a bit doddery. It’s the kindest thing.

Nostalgia for things that were worse

Whilst happily surfing the satellite channels, older parents are GUARANTEED to say: “I preferred it when there were just the four channels.” Solution: Connect an old Bush TV to their Sky box and see how they like tuning into Sky Atlantic manually by twiddling the knob.

Cluelessness while eating out

Unless your parents are used to eating out, it will involve endless strange questions, eg. “What happens if my food arrives while I’m in the toilet?” or “Why is there a piece of lemon with my fish?” Solution: Before having a straightforward meal at a local pub, take four Valium.

Telling you about people you don’t know

Has their friend Audrey’s daughter finished her gap year and got a job with Vodafone? You have no idea who this person is, but your parents WILL ring to tell you about it. Solution: Keep saying “Really? That’s interesting” in between immersing your head in a bucket of vodka.

Constant bafflement with technology

When they ask you for the 500th time if their Yahoo account is the same as their NatWest account you will want to throw the laptop and your dear old mum and dad out of the window. Solution: There is no solution. Grit your teeth and repeat for the billionth time that for computers to work, they sometimes have to be plugged in.

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Is your song bland enough for Radio 2?

SONGS aiming for the lucrative Radio 2 playlist have to be bland enough to offend no-one while remaining just about memorable. Here’s how to make your ditty dull enough to soar: 

Include a reference to a mundane, everyday item such as pastry, toast or your brother’s knee. This makes your song relatable to people who like pastries, eat toast and have brothers with knees.

Do you pronounce the word love as ‘lurve’ or ‘luuurve’, even though you’re rhyming it with ‘above’, ‘like a glove’ and ‘Brighton and Hove’? Are there at least 73 repeated mentions of ‘love’ in two verses, four choruses and a bridge? You’re getting there.

Are most of your backing vocals ‘la la la’, which you’ve rhymed with ‘la la la’? Now nobody needs to learn the words to sing along. Steve Wright in the Afternoon will be delighted.

Is the melody unvaried enough for it to register as white noise? Can the whole song go through your Nan’s hearing aid without trouble, the same way her blended meals pass smoothly down her throat?

Is the track not quite fast enough to do CPR to? Imagine someone’s unconscious and you’re pumping their chest to the tempo of your song. Do they just about stay dead?

Have you included not just one key change but also a second to cover the cracks when you’re about to run out of tune again? You’ve just given Ken Bruce listeners the biggest sexual thrill since they got all the answers on PopMaster.