John McCullagh February 2, 2005
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A friend of one of my own offspring was a student in Belfast recently when his mother came to call, ‘just to make sure he was all right’.  It was obvious at once that he was not living alone in the flat, as he had claimed.

The mass of female undergarments drying on the clothes-horse before the fire might have been enough to give the game away, but to make matters worse, the owner herself was present, in less than her full dress!
 
A hurried explanation ensued that she was scarcely known to him, she was in fact staying for a few days because she was temporarily homeless, that there was no romantic attachment at all, indeed she was the girlfriend of a close friend and so on.  The separate sleeping arrangements in two different bedrooms were carefully explained and shown to the mother.
 
Mum listened nodding sagely.  A few days later the girl noted that a silver sugar-bowl, an heirloom of her mother’s, had disappeared on that day and no one else had been in the flat.  She finally inveigled him to write a diplomatic note to his mother.  The reply was swift, brief and to the point.
 
‘If she had been sleeping in her own bed, she’d have found the sugar-bowl before now.’
 
I know this mother.  Believe me, that’s the least she’s capable of!

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