This week’s story begins as all of the best stories do. With a screaming child refusing to eat risotto. Let me set the scene. It’s November, it’s raining and I haven't slept for more than a year. Zsuzsa is nowhere to be seen and I am a desperate father. I try to pretend that the risotto is a choo-choo train and that Mila’s throat is a tunnel, but she’s having none of it. In sheer desperation I turn on the TV and flick to a kids channel. A cartoon pig in a red dress stares back at me.
“Ah, I’ve heard about you pig. You’re the hammy enchantress who stole my baby nephew’s heart.”
Suddenly the screaming stops. I glance at my hysterical child and find a placid, smiling replicant sitting in her place. She smiles at the pig, picks up a spoon of risotto and begins to shovel. My decision is made. The pig stays on our TV. That was about three months ago and little did I realise then the impact that this seemingly innocuous moment would have on our household during the coming months.
I’m now sitting on my sofa watching Peppa hunt down a duck who has stolen her golden boots. In my hand is a Peppa Pig branded yogurt. On our table sits a Peppa Pig toy house. To my left sits a cuddly Peppa, to my right a cuddly George (Peppa’s little piggy brother). I’m alone of course. Zsuzsa is in the bathroom painting on her eyebrows and Mila has been in bed for an hour and a half. To be honest I’ve no idea why I’m continuing to watch this toddler fodder. Perhaps this porky enchantress’s powers work on grown ups too?
Zsuzsa emerges from the bathroom sporting a powerful pair of eyebrows and joins me on the sofa. We watch in silence for a couple of minutes before Zsuzsa decides to speak.
“You know what honey? I think Peppa is a bit of a bitch.”
My brow instinctively furrows at these slanderous words.
“Why do you think that?”
“She’s pretentious. The things she says. The things she does. Don’t trust her. Stuck up. Stuck up little pig.”
I make a strange noise that is meant to convey my opposing stance, but instead sounds more like mild constipation.
“I think she’s just a sweet little pig.”
Zsuzsa looks at me as though I’m Piers Morgan and I’ve announced that I’m about to remove my underpants.
“No! No way! She’s a fuckwit! I saw an episode yesterday where she wouldn’t let George play with her and Suzy Sheep! What’s that about?”
“Well George is a little bit young. Maybe she just wanted to spend a bit of time with her best friend?”
“But the way she went about it. Bitch.” spits Zsuzsa, head shaking.
I decide that I need to defuse this situation.
“Yogurt?” I ask.
Zsuzsa mellows and nods. I could definitely teach Kofi Annan a thing or two. I make my way to the fridge to retrieve a Peppa Pig yoghurt. Whilst there I have an idea.
“They should do Peppa Pig branded ham!” I say, excitedly.
“Also, I really hate this episode.” says Zsuzsa, ignoring my incredible business idea. This is probably why she has never been invited on Dragon’s Den to be a judge.
I hand Zsuzsa her toddler yogurt.
“This is actually my favourite episode.” I say.
“Meh? What do you mean meh? It’s got everything! It’s got a duck with boots on, a thrilling chase, an incredible ensemble of characters, they go on a boat. They go to the moon for crying out loud! It’s even got Brian Blessed in it!”
But Zsuzsa is unimpressed leading me to believe that Brian Blessed, for some extraordinary reason, is not a household name in Hungary.
“It just doesn’t have the emotional depth of the muddy puddle episode, or the one when Daddy Pig takes them to Potato City.”
We sit in reflective silence for a moment.
“I think we need to change channels.” I say.
“I think you’re right.” says Zsuzsa.