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Look, there are literally some things one cannot get here in the UK no matter how hard one tries. Conversely, there are still some things one cannot get in Canada that can come only from the UK, that must must must be included in one’s already nearly overweight suitcase.

Things like souvenirs from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The list of requests The Mom sent for that historic moment were in and of themselves historic. Every idiotic, tacky, overpriced piece of crap that was being churned out in England that summer was listed and requested, complete with the requisite note that Katie Couric, that arbiter of taste, had mentioned it on whatever TV show it is she hosts.

There are also supplementary requests for things for friends. These are more vague, and because of that, nearly impossible for me to purchase and post homewards.

“Oh, I don’t know, just something cute. Something English.”

It’s as if she thinks I live in a twee wee village, in a thatched cottage, and have dancing and singing mice as servants.

I live in east London. I hear the call to prayer five times a day from the local mosque. I eat halal meat. I’ve been known to celebrate Diwali. And we don’t have mice round these parts, we have rats. They do not sing, though they may dance if throw a big enough kebab at them or have taken the right drugs.

I might also add that when I was home in the summer to visit, I was instructed to go and purchase things like my ear drops and the fussy eye drops I like because I was being rationed on postal requests.

However, I did not anticipate CatLady wanting to have a Day of the Dead themed birthday party. I could have in no way foreseen that. But I would have thought since The Mom does love decorating and celebrating birthdays properly, that a polite request for some flags (which are made out of tissue paper and thus not heavy and costly or difficult to send) would have been accepted.

In fact, I would’ve expected The Mom to be overjoyed to have the flags out of her house. These flags have been a long-standing issue of contention for reasons I do not understand.

The Mom loathes them. I think they’re quite jaunty. They are brightly coloured (or at least, they generally are, these ones I have are very old) and are quite delicate. I used to hang them up in my bedroom, but The Mom kept moaning about how depressing they were (she finds anything less exuberant than Katie Couric depressing) and I got tired of hearing about it.

They do feature skeletons drinking and dancing and celebrating because that’s the whole point of the Day of the Dead. One celebrates one’s dead friends.

I should’ve thought The Mom, who I may actually outlive one day, would’ve thought it quite sweet that I am already au fait with throwing parties for one’s dead loved ones.