Old Emu’s Almanac

When I was an impressionable 12 year old, my bible of choice alternated between the Exchange and Mart and Old Moore’s Almanac. I’ve not seen either of them on sale for a while, and I suspect that one has been replaced by a combination of Autotrader, ebay and Free Ads, and the other by a whole range of conspiracy and astrological sites on the internet. For those of you unfamiliar with OMA, it purported to predict the future year ahead, but managed to do so in a very very general way. Not quite ‘this year the Grand National will be won by a horse’, but not far off.

Anyway, the science, or art, of prediction has always been of interest, and where I’ve singularly failed at the blackjack tables in Vegas, or the bookies in the less salubrious parts of Edinburgh, I hope to recover in accurately guessing the future fate of my children.

Number three, for example, has managed to let loose a couple of comments during our current holiday that might hint to his future. And where I say hint, I mean the sort of strong hint that a detective would normally associate with a signed confession, several high quality witnesses, a strong motive, a smoking gun and a suspect wearing a T-shirt saying ‘I did it. Honest Guv. I’m banged to rights. Slap the bracelets on and lead me dahn the nick’.

1. When talking about bands and their riders, he was straight on the case, declaring a need for a daily rider of those chocolates in the shape of shells, a DVD of the Fantastic Four with special close-ups of Sue Storm’s body, fresh orchids, and enough lego to build a full replica of his own face.

2. As part of some extensive re-planning of Emu Towers, he is going to get his own bedroom. He would very much like a star on the door, and a mirror with bulbs around the outside.

3. In a discussion about his ancestors, he asked whether his Great Grandfather had died from smoking. “In the 50’s, everybody smoked and drank”, his mother patiently explained. “I’m not going to smoke or drink”, he responded, “Well, maybe a little Crème de menthe on special occasions”.

4. As part of a new found independence, #3 has taken on the role of cycling down to the local Tabac to pick up the bread every morning. His grasp of French is not quite as good as we’d like, although there’s little danger of problems on the road, as it’s very quiet, and he failed his cycling proficiency test by continually cycling on the right, so France is a far more natural cycling environment. So we went through the basics on his first expedition – trois pain pour notre famille; la meme demain – that sort of thing. He came back half an hour later, happily with the right amount of bread, and change. “How did you get on?”, his mother asked, hoping to glow with pride at his linguistic skills. “Ok”, he replied, “but I didn’t speak much French. As soon as I got through the door, I forgot my lines”.

Next week – number 4 shows all the hallmarks of a future serial killer. And Old Moore predicts people will be disappointed with the British government in 2011.


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