In Which I Meet The Mother From Hell


During a meander along the sea wall in Lymington, I stopped to watch a swan absorbed intently in preening its feathers. Remembering I’d brought along my new handy video recorder (a Kodak Playsport) I thought I’d have a little practise. Focusing on the swan I hit ‘record’ with the sole purpose of keeping my hand as steady as possible. A few people passed by as evidenced by the crunch of gravel in my recording. A lady and child approached. I guess the child was around 8 years old and as they drew close the boy exclaimed “Look mum. That lady is filming the swan”.To my utter and continuing disbelief, the woman retorted “It’s only a f*****g bird!” The comment was directed at the child, not at me. I was speechless. To be fair, this could have happened anywhere in the UK. It just seemed more shocking in such a beautiful environment. As they departed the boy turned his head and we locked eyes. I remember thinking “What chance have you got…?” Shame on you, lady.

For some unfathomable reason I didn’t erase the recording immediately. I was glad the next day as I was thinking “Is it just me? Is this behaviour less shocking now than it would have been several years ago?” I decided to play back the video to two of my children (grown up, I hasten to add!) I was especially interested to see the reaction of my 18 year old son. How would he react? What if he just shrugged and said “That’s the way it is now” ? I handed him the video and watched. His face told me all I needed to know. He was appalled. Phew.

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  • jimmy walton

    You know what they say about empty cans…

    • karenguttridge

      It really upset me. Horrible woman :(

      • Marian Watson

         How sad.   Poor future generation growing up in the hands of ignorance

        • Karenguttridge

          Exactly my thoughts. I did think twice about posting this but then thought I ought to describe my less successful days out too!

  • Waegook Tom

    What a horrible woman. I don’t get parents that swear at their children. EVER. My mum’s next door neighbours in the UK are awful – the mother is always screaming at the kids and the f-word is, literally, every other word. She’s been doing it since they were 3 years old…now she wonders why, at 11 years old, the oldest boy is getting expelled from every school he goes to and has no respect for her.

    It’s such a shame when people can’t appreciate the beauty of nature. I mean, I’m not what you’d call a nature enthusiast, but it’s all about respect and I can appreciate when something is beautiful. Swans are such graceful creatures and I spent an hour in -18C weather watching them swim on the Baltic Sea in Sopot, Poland.

    I don’t think this kind of behaviour is a generational thing. I have friends in their 20s who have kids and would never, never, NEVER say that kind of thing and make sure the kids respect their elders. I hope that little boy does turn out OK. I mean, he’s 8 and by his initial reaction, he still has a sense of innocence around him.

    • Karenguttridge

      I am just so stunned by all this aggressive behaviour. If the woman had been addressing me I would have been far less upset – but it would still have been completely unacceptable. Your mum’s neighbour sounds very similar – how awful. 

      I wonder what really goes on inside their heads? Surely if you’re unhappy with your life, you’d do your utmost to ensure your children didn’t suffer the same fate. As you say – let’s hope the little boy comes through…