There’s a particular piece of advice my late Grandad once gave me as a child that has always stayed with me. Namely ‘Don’t count your chickens’. His intended purpose was to help manage my expectations of Tottenham Hotspur and it worked.
Since he imparted these wise words, I’ve endured three decades of them snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and taken it on the chin. It has been a mantra for me elsewhere too – I always assume things won’t necessarily go to plan and that’s probably a good way to be.
But you know there’s a ‘but…’ coming. And here it is. But I forgot to adhere to this advice recently. You see, rather stupidly, I dared to dream that youngest had got beyond the Peppa Pig phase.
It had been months. Glorious months in which I hadn’t seen an episode, her image or even heard references.
Sure, there had substitute annoyances – notably Sofia The First and Minnie Mouse – but there’s still a novelty to them after almost ten years of every parent’s least-favourite pig.
And then it happened. One night a week or so ago, I was helping her get ready for bed. “Which pyjamas would you like?” I asked.
That was my first mistake – thanks to hand-me-downs from her brothers and cousins as well as the ones we’ve bought her, I’ve never known someone with so much nightwear. Seriously, she has an entire drawer dedicated to it.
“The Peppa ones,” she replied after five to ten minutes of dithering. My heart sank. I decided not to make a fuss about it, but then came her bedtime reading.
She chose two books featuring the porcine brat. One of which has a button that, when pressed, makes a snorting noise.
I tried to read them as quickly as possible in the hope of fitting in something of the Donaldson-Scheffler oeuvre to redress the balance.
“No, Daddy. With the voices,” she insisted. So I had to do my best approximation of that feckless figure of fun, Daddy Pig. Sigh.
Now, she hasn’t asked for any actual episodes yet but Peppa has come up in conversation more than once. So it’s not over yet.
Once upon a time, I imagined a mashup of Peppa Pig and The Walking Dead and it seems that horror has come to the fore again. Convention has taught us that our nemeses always come back for one last scare.
And so it has proved. I counted my chickens by not counting on a pig.