Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day of the big picture

Many things pleased me about the feature in Saturday's Guardian, including the chance it gave to see our family set-up through someone else's eyes. We hoped the piece would show that the Fernyhoughs are actually fairly normal, or as normal as a family can be with two psychologists around the table. I thought the journalist, Viv Groskop, captured our family atmosphere with style and humour.

The children are, I'm pleased to report, rather unimpressed by all the attention. As the feature relates, I have been keen to keep Athena on board with the project from the start. Perhaps too keen, on occasion. I ask her how she feels about seeing her name and picture in a newspaper which thousands of people will read, and she sighs. Conspicuously impatient with my fussing over her feelings, she cocks a finger at her own expression; this face is most definitely not bothered.

The biggest talking-point within the family, though, has got to be the dress Athena is wearing in the main photograph. When I speak to my Auntie Chris on the phone, she tells me that she's sure a piece of it ended up in the patchwork she has been working on. She has been working on this patchwork for about twenty years, so it would perhaps be more surprising if it hadn't ended up in there. I talk to my sister about it, and we work out that it's actually a hand-me-down from Athena's cousin, Lucy. We have never gone quite as far as they do in the kiddie fash-mags, and decked the offspring out in designer labels from head to toe, but we've always tried to supply our little ones with nice new clothes. And now our big spread in a national newspaper shows our first-born wearing a cast-off dress, probably because she had grown out of all the others. Thus are ordinary necessities captured for ever, when no one is looking.


  1. Great review. I didn't manage to read the paper this Saturday - how annoying to have missed it. I'll have to go rummage in the bin now just to see the photo.

  2. The dress looks fine and no one bar a few would haven't known. At least it wasn't your son in the dress ;o)

    My son is almost always (at 14m) dressed in second hand clothes as nothing wears out on young 'uns.

  3. I wouldn't say thousands have read that article, I would say millions! I am living in Jakarta, Indonesia and get the Saturday edition of The Guardian through a newspaper distribution service so I'm sure many others around the world have also had a glance at the feature on your family.

    I absolutely loved the article, by the way, and can't wait to order your book.

    I too am trying to capture the first years of my newborn in this most unusual corner of the world but I fear I do not share your most fluent of prose :-)

  4. Charles FernyhoughMay 14, 2008 at 8:32 AM

    Thanks for all the comments - it's great to know that the blog is being read so far afield!