I think I have discovered a cure for the national obesity ‘epidemic’ that is currently sweeping the nation / ITV schedules. It is not a miracle pill. It is my mother.

In the past, specifically when I have been at least 300 miles away from my mother, I have, indeed, struggled to get into bikinis. And jeans. And many clothes, in fact. But now that am within a 34-mile (James counted them) radius, I have miraculously shed pounds. It is not through choice. It is because I have been broken down by persistent food monitoring.

Here are two actual conversations that have occurred in the extended Nadin household in the last year:

Mum Nadin: Do you want a tomato Joanna? (slaps away hand of Dad Nadin) not you, Christopher, you have three things on your plate already.

Mum Nadin: What do you want in your sandwich?

Joanna Nadin: Ham please.

Mum Nadin: No, you had ham at lunch.

Joanna Nadin: God, you are so unfair (goes and sulks in bedroom in manner of 13-year-old version of self)

In case you hadn’t guessed, my Mum is, in fact, Janet Riley, erstwhile mother of Rachel. (Not to be confused with actual Janet Riley, Saffron Walden’s only purveyor of fine quality fabrics). There is no messing with Mrs Nadin. Am thinking of hiring her out to the government. Or GMTV. She makes that army man in the hat look namby-pamby.

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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