MAN’S WORLD: Stitched up on WhatsApp by my family

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A complete stitch-up. Frank Underwood would have been proud of it. The boy clearly has a future in politics…

It started with a simple text message. Or whatever a message is called on WhatsApp.

We’re all connected now. We have a family group. Mind you, Jane and I have a group as well – sometimes I need to be careful I’m in the right group…

Yep, as the general election approaches our family is a modern democracy.

Instant voting on any issue. And the children have been quick to take advantage of it.

Friday lunchtime. She was finally back. Jessica had returned from her end of season hockey tour to Croatia – astonishingly she actually played hockey this time – and as soon as she was through the Channel Tunnel she was apping to us.

What shall be for supper on Saturday?

Clearly it had been speak-like-a-pirate day in Croatia and she hadn’t recovered.

Lamb, I apped back. Got a new shallow casserole for my birthday and I want to christen it. Moroccan Lamb.

Reached the age where you’re excited by a casserole dish? Not good, Dad. Was thinking Chinese… How about duck pancakes?

Damn it, I wanted to do lamb. Slow cooked. Apricots, almonds, mint…

I vote for duck pancakes. Who was this? Ben. He was supposed to be revising for his GCSEs, not voting for dinner. Two votes for duck. Where was my wife when I needed her?

I thought you liked lamb, Jessica?

I do. Duck pancakes seem popular tho…

Mum and Tom haven’t voted yet I apped in desperation.

Didn’t know Tom was at home

He isn’t. But there’s an election on. I’m giving him a postal vote.

But there was no response from our eldest and two minutes later the self-appointed Speaker of the House – our house anyway – guillotined the motion. Mum has obviously abstained. The ducks have it.

Our youngest son has clearly been learning from House of Cards in the school holidays. And he’s planning to do Law for one of his A-levels: it could be a long two years.

So duck it was. “I’ve bought enough to feed 15,” I said.

My wife looked sceptical. “I think you’re forgetting you’ve got a teenage son.”

She was right...

Time for my last pancake – assuming I was happy to fill it with scraps of skin and bone.

It didn’t matter: the damage had already been done.

As regular readers know there are many things I can’t do. I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t play a musical instrument and I am clinically and comically inept at DIY.

I can’t roll up a pancake either.

I’m not talking Shrove Tuesday pancakes here. I’m talking crispy duck pancakes. Fajitas are the same. I don’t seem to be able to make those neat little parcels the rest of the family make.

I just lump the duck/chicken/hoisin sauce/salsa into the middle of the pancake/tortilla and roll it up.

Chaos ensues. I bite one end; it escapes from the other end. Suddenly my hands are covered in sauce. All too often the tablecloth is as well.

The children do their best to keep a straight face. Ben’s 16: he hasn’t managed it yet.

But one day it’s going to turn serious. Coming home for Easter, Tom will text. I’m bringing X with me. Hope that’s OK.

For X read ‘attractive young woman.’ Read, ‘this could be the one.’ Read attractive young woman who’s going to watch me eating a duck pancake and think, ‘Is this what Tom’s going to turn into? Maybe not…’

No, sir. When Tom brings his girlfriend home, the knives and forks are coming out…