She Who Must Be Obeyed

Now that I’ve introduced the children, I should tell you a little about my wife. No trouble at all coming up with the name for her; I’m a big fan of John Mortimer’s Rumpole books, in which Horace Rumpole, the distinguished lawyer, refers to his wife as She Who Must Be Obeyed. I believe that Rumpole is quoting H. Rider Haggard’s story, She. So from here on in, my wife will be referred to similarly, as She Who Must Be Obeyed.

We met in college where she was doing a degree in chemistry, and I was still having trouble working out what I wanted to choose for a major. Eventually I did sort myself out and ended up with an eminently useful degree in English, which of course. I’ve never used. My wife however makes full use of her chemistry degree and is a manager at a small pharmaceutical company close to our home. Unlike me, my wife is fabulously well organised, and is without question the one who makes sure our rather complicated family arrangements-who has to be driven when and where, who has a music lesson, who is sleeping over at a friends house, who likes their sandwiches cut diagonally, instead of in rectangles-are all taken care of.

I on the other hand, am reasonably effective at small household repairs and I work hard to make certain that our children develop good taste in music. Really, if a child has reached the age of 10 without understanding that London’s Calling by the Clash was a high point of the late 20th century, then, a parent is failing to do their job correctly.


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