It was hardly possible to move here yesterday for all the Deuchars of various ages milling around the place. They had come here because I had mentioned the Open University in connection with home education and then stayed to denounce me because I had said that their family had a Christian background; a wholly unacceptable suggestion that both were at pains to deny. One quite sees their point. In much of the British home educating scene, ’Christian home educator’ is more or less synonymous with child-beating religious fundamentalist. I am happy to acquit the family of the damaging allegation that they have a Christian background, which both mother and daughter seemed at pains to deny!
I have in the past been curious to know whether or not Shena Deuchars used the ACE materials and as somebody else raised the subject yesterday, thought it worth adding my own two pennorth. This too provoked irritation, not only on the part of the mother, but also her daughter Katherine who zoomed in at once to abuse me, even ticking me off for not using their church’s full name. Sometimes, people from the United Reformed Church, which was formed in 1972 from an amalgamation of the Congregational Church with the Presbyterians, are referred to, both by themselves and others, as being ’United Reform’ for short. Katherine thought that this was gibberish, although it is not uncommon to hear Methodists, for example, say of somebody, ’Yes, he’s United Reform’, in the same way that one might say ’He’s C of E’. They mean by this to signify that the person is a member of the United Reform Church.
I can see that in future I shall have to be very careful what I say about any matter which might be thought to touch upon the Deuchars, mother and daughter both! No more mention of the Open University, for instance; talk of the OU being thought in Swindon to be a coded attack on their family. It would also be wise perhaps to avoid saying anything further about Christianity, Exeter, law, proof reading or copy editing; one cannot be too careful in avoiding the causing of inadvertent offence. I reserve my own opinionated teenage daughter as an ultimate deterrent; only unleashing her if the situation calls for a devastating response. I can see that others have a lower threshold for going nuclear in this way!