The hours are ticking down to the most hyped game in the Euros and my husband and I are Googling divorce lawyers in the run-up to a humdinger of a barney.
As a proud Scot married to an equally proud Englishman, tonight’s England v Scotland match pits me and Michael fiercely against each other.
Inevitably, it’s affecting our children.
Our 12-year-old triplets Lily, Clara and Elise are no longer a tight-knit trio.
Born in Kingston, Surrey, they have lived in Perthshire since they were six weeks old. Two have decided to stay loyal to the nation of their upbringing. One has pledged allegiance to the country of her birth.
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On the Scottish side of the sofa, I’m joined by brave hearts Clara and Elise. Like them, I was born in England by accident. But, since Scotland has been home since I was four, to anyone who says I can’t claim to be a Scot I say: “If I was born in stable does it make me a horse?”
I have the peely-wally skin and ability to insert swears into the middle of words to prove my Caledonia credentials.
I’ve gently explained to Clara and Elise that this strange feeling of being excited for a disaster is unique to Scottish football fans and called anticipointment.
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I’ve emphasised that we often get gubbed (very badly beaten) but even when we lose, we’re still proud. Even when the stats and Harry Kane are against us, we won’t give up hope of singing Yes Sir I Can Boogie after the final whistle.
And I’ve taught them the Flower Of Scotland lyrics and given them licence to fudge the later verses with “oh la la la” just like everyone else. Lily has decided she’s an Engerland supporter, possibly because she likes to back a winner but probably because she’s been brainwashed and bribed by her dad.
She and my-soon-to-be-ex Michael keep trying to regale us with stand-out facts about the oldest international fixture in history, such as Gazza’s 1996 wonder goal.
I don’t like to dwell on such blips –the memories are too painful. So while the English side of my family brag, the Scottish side eye-roll at yet another mention of 1966 and instead focus on the following year when Scotland beat England’s World Cup wining side 3-2.
Michael had planned to watch the big match on the big screens in the local beer garden.
But, having never watched an Auld Enemy encounter on hallowed Scottish soil, he underestimates the white hot passion of the Tartan Army.
So for health and safety reasons, and to protect the under-pressure NHS, I’ve planned a football party at home instead.
In the interests of fairness, and although it almost killed me, I decorated the house with as many England flags as beautiful saltires. I’ve even been diplomatic with the food: sweating it out on the barbecue are Aberdeen Angus burgers versus Cumberland sausages.
Mackie’s crisps (they’re Scottish but also the best) hope to be picked over Leicester ’s own Walkers.
Cans of Carling, which are brewed in Burton, are cooling for Michael. There’s Loch Leven Gin, from Kinross, for me. And there’s lashings of Irn Bru, made from girders, for the kids.
If Scotland lose, I know I will have to be an example to my girls by accepting it sportingly. I will be a model mum, gracious in defeat.
But I have an awful feeling Lily’s new England top might get ruined in the wash if tonight’s match goes her way.
If the George Cross flags come down very soon, it’s only because they don’t go with the decor. And if the England balloons pop, I apologise now for being a wee bit careless with drawing pins.
And if Michael crows just a little too much, he’ll find himself in the spare room FOREVER.
But if my dreams and prayers come true and Scotland win, I will punch the air, dance the conga, belt out the Proclaimers and howl as Michael makes good his promise of running down our street in nothing but a kilt.
Football’s coming home – but I might be headed for garage
– Michael, Julie’s husband
Realistically, although Scotland have fire in their bellies, the best chance they have of getting close to the England goal is if they and invade Wembley’s six-yard box like they did in 1977.
As a Geordie living in Scotland, the football craic is always good-natured and friendly. The Scotland v England trash talk at home has been hilarious – and I’ll laugh extra hard at Julie’s monumental huff if Scotland don’t win.
You’d think she’d be used to it by now. But she’ll stomp around, cry and probably hurl all of our party food across the garden.
But, given her cooking “skills”, that’s a good thing for all our guests.
She’s made a huge thing of pretending the party preparations are precisely half-and-half.
But as she’s useless with technology, she asked me to sort the music playlist and gave me a list featuring hours of Rod Stewart, Simple Minds, Dougie MacLean and The Corries. Her face when Three Lions booms out will be like a wet weekend in Scotland.
Regardless of outcome, my daughters will be able to cope. They are all Newcastle United season ticket holders, who regularly travel across the border to support their team and relieve their mum, so know the highs and heartbreaks of the beautiful game. I’ve warned that, whatever the result, neighbours in the street will be feeling a tad delicate on Saturday so they must not screech around on their roller-skates until at least 3pm.
I might still be in the doghouse by then. I think, I hope, Julie is joking when she talks about preparing the paperwork for our divorce. Instead we might have a trial separation when I live in the garage. That’ll only last until Scotland are out of the tournament – so only a few more days.