If only Job had had the patience of my mother.
She did everything she could. I was encouraged as a young man to enter the
world of banking. NatWest survived the experience, but only just. A local
newspaper for whom I briefly worked delighted in my departure. My exit
strategy from a Sussex microbiology company was planned to perfection.
Whichever organisation welcomed me through its gates would rapidly observe
my departure, with my always finding the back door with unerring accuracy.
Jobs in varied spheres came and went.
But I couldn’t have tried anything with more diligence – than my mother’s
Especially on discovering a love for writing cryptic crossword clues.
And so the maternal torture began. Hour upon hour I would hone the latest
batch of cruciverbal offerings, painstakingly penning my efforts on sheets
of A4 atop my mum’s ironing board. Once satisfied I would present them to
the poor woman, expecting her seal of approval. I would loom over her as she
surveyed my offerings, breath bated, a magazine of hissy fit bullets
polished and awaiting dispatch should the words of lavish praise not be
forthcoming at pre-designated appropriate moments.
How could she not see how funny that particular clue was. ‘Don’t you think
that clue’s really hilarious?’ ‘I’m so much better than (insert name of
Guardian setter) don’t you think?’ ‘Can’t you see my genius?’
So here’s my opportunity to thank my mother.
You did a great job. I salute you. I couldn’t have done it without you. You
have the patience of Job – and some. Thank you, Mrs Margaret Halpern.
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