IS IT acceptable to leave a barbecue after half an hour? No. Come on, Shark. Give it a chance. Talk to 10 people some non-teachers. And don't get drunk.
"Emily, what a sweet dress."
"But you needn't have made such an effort. We're all very casual. Come and meet my brother. Harold, look after Emily she's here on her own."
"Hi, I'm Harold Barter-Sleam. Name's a mouthful wife's idea to add hers. I'm a commodity broker. Are you a penniless teacher like Melinda? But we Sleams do pretty well for ourselves..."
"Oh, it's better than when I started teaching. I don't have to make my own shoes any more." Careful, Shark. Swim away now.
"Hah! Very good. Trouble is, I'm just not convinced you lot deserve your long holidays. No offence. But these falling standards. When I was at school..."
No fights. But I really want to say: you are an ignorant git. There are thousands like you. A bored demon on a rainy day assembled you from a flat pack. "Blah blah, exams getting easier, blah blah, teachers whingeing, blah blah..."
I'm getting drunk. How? Big glass, total prat, barbecue not yet lit.
The lawn is crawling with tiny Sleams. Sleek hair, vicious eyes. One is decapitating the pansies. Ah, Grampa Shark. I miss you. Your watery eyes and your alarming comparisons. "Now, Sharklet, imagine you were that flower. Would you like it if you were playing and someone pulled your head off for no reason?" He said it with a kindly shrug, as if this could actually happen. I haven't got a tissue. Don't blink just raise your head and let the tears go back where they came from. I need to eat. I'm drunk. And this shiny Sleam is still talking.
"Meet my eldest, Imogen. Imogen, Emily's a teacher, like Aunt Melinda."
"Hullo. Daddy says you people know nothing of the real world and probably don't even know what shares are."
"Daddies can be wrong. A share ish a liddle bit of a company that you buy when no one elsh wants it mush. 'Nen you wait till somebody does. Thazzhow you make money. An' you don' share it."
"Imogen's very advanced, and it upsets some people "
"Thazz wha' a share is. 'Sno more real than a teasher like me. An' snot jush commotidy... S'not jush daddies who know wha' shares is. Are."
"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit."
"No. Pladditutes... platitudes are."
Whazzat? Mr Gorgeous in the shunshine. Hot man. Red meat. Come here. And he is...
"Jon, that steak's for Tilly!"
"Melinda, your brother is hard work. Emily's earned this."
"Thish looks amayshing. Thansh.
"Pleasure. There's chicken, too."
I sodding love barbecues.
More from Emily in a fortnight