Monday, October 30, 2006

The clocks go back!!!

At least that is what it said on the news. My immediate problem is that the Baby does not seem to have realised, and so rather than enjoying an extra hour in bed (as the cliché goes) I am tireder than ‘Extras’. Frankly, if anybody should ask me again if I enjoyed my extra hour in bed then I will kick them hard in the GMT’s. At present I am an energyless mass of blob.

I am a bit concerned that the Baby is a simpleton. She can’t work out the clocks, she eats the newspaper instead of reading it and she is still amused by my impression of Rosco P. Coltrane from the Dukes of Hazzard (although admittedly it is rather good). She will never grow up to be a nuclear physicist at this rate, not even in one of the lesser branches of nuclear physics that they teach at polytechnics.

In fact it is the LTLP who would prefer the Baby to be a nuclear physicist, whereas I would quite like her to be a drummer, as I was never allowed to have some drums when I was a kid. Truly I endured social deprivation as you wouldn’t believe. We didn’t have a video either, or electric windows until much later.

The best solution would probably be for her to be a drumming nuclear physicist. She could do equations between paradiddles (or whatever they are called, I was not allowed to know). Then she could form a band with Stephen Hawking on bass and Francis Crick on saxophone. They could do functions.

But it will not work if she has a brain the size of a molecule.

I am tired; I am listless. Mechanically, I dress her and plonk her on the floor to play whilst I wait for the Replacement Carpenter to arrive.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It is the little things that get you down.

I poke my head through the loft hatch, waiting patiently for the Replacement Carpenter to finish some important hammering.

"When you've got a minute…"

"No hurry at all, but…"

"It's just that…"

"It's just that… you seem to have nailed the dishwasher shut."

He looks at me, querulously.

"And… I'd quite like to make some tea, you see. But I can't get the dishwasher open. And the mugs are inside."

"Sorry," I add, in the time honoured fashion of English Crapness at apologising for things that cause one massive inconvenience and are the total and unarguable fault of the recipient of the apology.

I do not like to tell him that I can no longer close the bathroom door, resolving to keep that one for tomorrow.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I hurry to the pork pie shop.

I'm not in a particular rush; no more so than anybody would be who hadn't got a pork pie about their person but was in the vicinity of a shop that sold them. The rain teems wetly, swelling the minor brook that cleaves the village, and I stride piewards with a spring in my step.

Beside me, a doddery old fool in a silver car drives blatantly front-first into the river.

I am a bit taken aback by this, so much so that I continue my walk thinking 'how odd' before I find myself in the pork pie shop feeling a bit guilty about not stopping to offer some assistance. I absent-mindedly order my pie, and the pork pie lady absent-mindedly serves me, both enthralled by the cruel spectacle of an elderly man climbing unsteadily up the banks of a wet stream before looking at his handiwork in some dismay.

Truly I will go to Hell. Already I can almost feel the heat of the fires and the opening theme to 'Heartbeat'.

I have always feared a car accident or breakdown, but my morbid fear is having one of these in embarrassing circumstances. With people hooting, or pointing and laughing, or simply shaking their heads in bemusement from within a pork pie shop. Sympathy wells up inside me for this chap. He has been sent by some higher power to show me the error of something, like in 'A Christmas Carol' by Dickens (Charles). He is me!!! I am shocked by this revelation.

It is clear that some form of tractor and hoist is required; instead two fishmongers run out from their shop to try to push. But the angle is too steep, and their hands are probably slippy, what with the fish an' that. Now he has a broken car stuck in a small river with fishy handprints on the bonnet.

At this point I take my pork pie and leave. I have no wish to see myself reflected further in the misery of his circumstance.

Friday, October 20, 2006

We discuss the Secret Book Group.

"It's proving a very popular idea," says Mrs Short Tony, proudly.

I ask her who has joined. She reels off a list with enthusiasm.

"There's me, there's Mrs Eddie, Mrs Len the Fish, Mrs Martin the IT Consultant, Mrs The Chipper Barman, Mrs Woman That Lives Over The Road From The Village Pub, three ladies from my previous book group, and you."

I sensationally resign from the book group.

Truth be told, I am a little uncomfortable about being in a book group that had books about having sex in space (as alarmingly revealed in the comments to the post previously discussing this). And I am so pressed for time at the moment, what with looking after the Baby, fucking around on the PC etc. But the thought of all the female hormones charging around the room, especially whilst discussing having sex in space with all sorts of zero gravity positions and stuff, is proving the most stressful.

Mrs Short Tony takes my resignation in good grace. I am pleased that her all-female group is a success, it is very brave of them to go it alone and they will be discussing their books in a non-threatening atmosphere of the Village Pub.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The LTLP is electrocuted!!!

A short cry followed by silence from the scullery announces this fact. I look up from the TV with interest.

"Would you come here a minute?" demands a voice in a weaker-than-usual timbre.

I pick up the Baby and head for the voice.

"Do not bring the Baby."

I replace the Baby. We meet in the connecting corridor. She explains that she has received a large shock from the sink. I push past her and poke my head round the door. The sink is there, an innocuous look on its face.

The short cry was real enough. I realise that I will have to perform some tests. Not having much electricians' gear in the shed, I am nevertheless able to locate a diagnostic tool which consists of five long strips of bone, each sleeved in a layer of skin, connected to the end of my arm.

The sink smiles coyly at me.

I place my hand about an inch from its metal surface, slowly moving it closer, millimetre by millimetre. Everybody knows that things hurt less if you do it like this - it is probably the mix of metric and imperial units. I touch the sink and nothing happens. I grin, reassured.

Recklessly, I remove my shoes and do the same.


There is a sort of noise, which I take to be the insolent laughter of a domestic fitting.

Bough's Law states that when something surprising or unexpected happens as a consequence of a repeatable action then you shall mindlessly repeat the action, no matter how unpleasant the previous consequence.


"The sink is live," I carefully explain to the LTLP. I have an idea, and switch off the lights in the sunroom, which have been behaving oddly. I return to the scullery and touch the sink again. It is pitifully impotent.

"That is interesting," I muse. "When the lights in the other room are switched off the sink is normal. But when they're switched on, it gets all electric."

There is a silence. "That could be useful," I continue.

The LTLP glares at me. I pick up the telephone to call the Methodical Builder.

Monday, October 16, 2006

There is a noise in the kitchen.

I turn to investigate. Mrs Short Tony has appeared, like the shopkeeper in the Mr Benn cartoons.

"I've brought the list for you," she announces.

I am nonplussed by this. I have a slight hangover, and am not functioning at my usual 85% capacity. She clearly notices my vacant look.

"The list. For the Village Book Group."

I have joined a book group!!!

There is a dim memory of a conversation about this in the Village Pub. It had seemed an extremely good idea - I do not get much intellectual stimulation at present what with looking after the baby, not having a satellite dish etc. I go to take the list, only to find it snatched away.

"You are not," she states, "allowed to join if you are only planning to write sarcastic things about it on the Internet."

I am genuinely stung by this, and protest some protestations. In fact I am a bit insulted. After extensive negotiations it is agreed that I am allowed to join the book group if I impose a strict news blackout of its activities. I assent to this, shamefully capitulating to the petty tyranny of Blair's fascist id card state.

She hands me the list and tells me to choose a book. On close examination, I haven't read any of them, which is a bit of an unexpected hurdle. In the end I pass on the Robbie Williams and Dan Brown ones and settle on one called 'The Time Traveller's Wife', as it is most probably about space, and I particularly like books set in space.

She takes my choice to put in her important book group file. I am pleased with my new position amongst the literati, notwithstanding the frustration that I will never be able to talk about it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

There is a scrunch of gravel!!!

I sprint down the secret path that leads to Short Tony's house, arriving breathless as he is getting out of his car.

"Did you get many geese then?" I blurt, casually.

His face falls like shares in a factory making plastic Chris Langhams for cereal packets. "It was a fiasco," he bemoans, rather than just moans, as it sounds moanier.

"No geese?" I ask, aghast.

"Not even one," he confirms.

I cannot believe that his long-awaited wild goose hunt has turned out to be a wild goose hunt. The bitter irony hangs in the air like a malignant helium balloon. I mutter some words of consolation and turn to slope back home.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The fire whooshes away in the ingle-nook.

"To be honest," concludes Short Tony, "I was embarrassed for him. I mean - it says something that I wet myself and was sick over Keith's car, and still wasn't the person who emerged with the least dignity."

We nod in appalled recollection of an evening many months ago. I sink back into the sofa. The impromptu re-opening of the Short Man, the pub in Short Tony's dining room, has been a measurable success. Short Tony pours me more wine, which I will later fling over his carpet via the wrong end of a pool cue.

We have neglected this aspect of our culture recently. The Short Man opened when the Village Pub was closed for a period of time; we used it regularly, being proud to be such a part of a locals' establishment. But - on my part - babies, family life and bowls intervened; others drifted away similarly; the snooker table lay unused and the dartboard grew cobwebs.

Now, to my great joy, I find that the baby monitor thing just has enough range to reach the lounge bar area.

It is time to resurrect my social life.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

There is an outbreak of fleas!!!

Short Tony’s dogg is in disgrace. It has had to be given a bath. Meanwhile, Mrs Short Tony has mixed emotions that her unusual rash has proved not to be shingles.

I meet Short Tony out in his front garden. An emergency stairs crisis paracarpenter has descended on me from Cambridgeshire, and I am keen to leave him to get on with it.

We discuss the fleas issue.

“She’s got a much bigger rash now,” he explains. “All down one side.”

“It would explain about the LTLP’s breasts,” I reply thoughtfully. “They are dotted with spots. It is all the fault of your dogg.”

“You’ve not got any bites?”


“Me neither.”

We nod in satisfaction at our good fortune.

“We could always talk about this at the Village Pub?” he asks.

I sigh. “Sorry. I have to pick up Baby Servalan in an hour or so, and I have fucking Tread Adair working in my kitchen. Another time.”

He disappears inside to spread flea chemicals. There will be another time.

Monday, October 02, 2006

'Krrrikkwhoshhhhhhttt!!!' explodes the Alarming Noise.

I tie my shoelaces hurriedly. The LTLP has clearly fallen through the stairs.

The noise of a woman falling through some stairs is one of those unmistakable sounds. It's something totally and utterly distinctive, like a Routemaster bus, for instance, or a vicar falling out of a tree.

I rush into the kitchen. She is sat on the floor amidst a pile of wood, a bemused look etched into her features. "Fuck!" she comments.

We are due at Short Tony's for dinner, so I pull her up and send her next door for a stiff drink. I then commence my Accident Investigator's role, before carpenting some temporary stairs by balancing a plank on top of a wooden crate. This will allow us to reach the top half of the flight (currently still standing) with a bit of effort.

The saga of my stairs is becoming tiresome. We have joked before that we are likely to become the subjects of some form of 'cowboy builder' type TV documentary; little did I realise that Channel 4 might one day be interested for 'Bodyshock: The Woman with a Riser up her Arse'.

I double-check that the plank is holding reasonably well, then scoot next door for some roast beef.