It's a tradition in our family.
Dinner is not served until father is made to cry.
Mother often resorts to violence.
Nipping, toe squashing and, failing that, slamming paternal fingers in doors.
The eldest daughter has read psychology and so employs hurtful comments inadequately masked as humour, "biting remarks" and outright profanity and insults.
But when all else has failed and hunger scratches at the doors of their stomachs it is the youngest girl, his "Cordelia" who usually manages to "prepare the table".
She tells father the saddest most pathetic stories about what they will all do and how happy they will all be after he is dead.
No sooner does the weeping begin than the sound of soup being slurped drowns out the patriarchal blubbing.
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.