As you grow older, does it ever occur to you that the words coming out of your mouth are making you sound exactly like your mother did during that heady time when you were a teenager and knew it all?

At the weekend we had a family trip to a local zoo.  I won’t say which one, as then the brown stuff might hit the fan.  Suffice to say we were a family of four adults, one child of four years, and one baby of 18 months.

After queuing in the heat for 20 minutes to reach the ticket booths I stepped up to the window, after my son and daughter-in-law had discovered that the vouchers which would have entitled them to half-price admission were still sitting pretty at home on the window sill.

“Tickets for four adults, one child of four and one baby, please.”

I was radiating bonhomie as well as heat, having had a good month for book sales, and decided there and then to spend my earnings on my son and his wife, who were at the struggling-parents-with-young-children phase of life.  The ticket assistant punched a few numbers into the till, and smiled at me.

“That’ll be one hundred and eight pounds and seventy five pence please.”

I stopped my mouth gaping in surprise just at the last minute.  In fact first of all I thought the woman must have been joking.

“What?” I couldn’t help but give a nervous laugh. “You’re having me on, aren’t you?”

“Would you like to make a donation to the zoo?”  The woman’s face still had the same fixed smile in place. “The price includes the donation.”

“I think we’ll be donating enough, don’t you?”  Sam gave the woman an evil eye and pulled out his wallet, wanting to help me with the admission price.  However, I shook my head and looked back at the woman.

“What’s the price without the donation?”

“Ninety eight pounds and eighty pence.”

I looked down at my little grandson’s face.  He was eager to see the Sumatran tigers, his favourite animals.  I saw my profit instantly dissipate into the August heat, but gave in.

“Okay, no donation though.”

As we passed through the entrance gates I looked at Sam:

“I don’t believe it!”

My mother often says the selfsame thing about the price of goods and services,  for instance if we take her out to dinner or for a cup of coffee in the market. Unfortunately, Mum has found to her dismay that costs have risen quite a bit since 1945.

Oh dear…I’m now sounding just like she does!

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