Little White (Ham) Lies

Lying is an art. As a child, I had yet to perfect this. To learn to tread the fine line between screeching fib (“It wasn’t me, it was LARRY THE LAMB”) to potential truth (“It wasn’t me, it was JAMES.”) However, I think I have finally perfected it; a skill acquired not from my misspent youth as a wannabe actress, or the decade as a journalist, or the two parliaments toiling in the dens of spin that are Millbank Tower and the No 10 press office, but from several years as a mother to a small menace. For example:




MENACE: “What is this? Is it chicken? You know I do not like chicken.”

ME: “No. It is white ham.”

RESULT: Menace eats chicken and declares it is even nicerer than pink ham.

And this sleight-of-hand act (or eye? Or mouth?) is not limited to the under-10s.

ME: “I am making chocolate flapjack. Would you like some?”

MAN: “No. I have never been keen on flapjack.”

RESULT: Menace and I eat flapjack. Which is also declared nicerer than pink ham.

ME: (a couple of months later): “I am making chocolate oaty bars. Would you like some?”

MAN: “Oooh yes please.”

RESULT: Man eats flapjack. Comparison to ham (of any colour) irrelevant as he is vegetarian, but is generally declared delicious.

It is a skill I wish had been employed by own parents rather than the school of harsh realism that was 19 Harvey Way.

ME: “Is this fishfingers? I don’t like fishfingers.”

MRS NADIN SNR: “Yes it jolly well is, and you had better eat it ALL or you will get it cold for breakfast.”


ME (tooting recorder tunelessly): “Do I sound like a musician? Do I?”

MR NADIN: “No. And please cease and desist as I am watching the racing.”

Not that I am encouraging blatant telling of pork pies. Just that sometimes, just sometimes, a little white lie works like a spoonful of sugar, and helps the medicine (or white ham, or flapjack, or fishfingers) go down.

Oh, wait. Unless MAN was lying about the oaty chocolate bars…

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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4 Responses to Little White (Ham) Lies

  1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

    Properly made me smile x Reminded me of ‘It wasn’t me, it was my naughty fingers.’

  2. Kate Maryon says:

    Properly made me smile too! xx

  3. Kate Maryon says:

    Properly made me smile too! 🙂 xx

  4. pirottablog says:

    Classic! Bet he likes secretly likes flapjack though

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