Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Two weeks of Easter leave is almost over. After a visit to the very same osteopath who was so professionally intimate with my body parts, the same one that Hubby scoffed at and refused to pay for, his neck is cured. Not enough to drive to and fro to Wales mind you but at least he stopped “oohing” and “ouching” every time he turned. Consequently, since he hasn’t been in so much pain, we’ve rubbed along quite nicely and thank God I have been able to put him to work. What is leave after all if a husband does not wield a paintbrush and attend to some very necessary DIY?
I am thrilled to report therefore that the basement has been redecorated, the dining room carpet pulled up, along with the hardboard and two tons of pneumoconiosis inducing disintegrated, carpet rubber. I’ve never seen anything like it – the backing had literally been reduced to a fine, black, sand like substance. No wonder I have been sneezing uncontrollably for months. Good job it has been hoovered and removed or I’d have been putting in a claim to the NCB in a couple of years.
Hubby is never happier than when wielding a paintbrush, Stanley knife or tape measure and so I have been able to leave him for long periods knowing that with the radio on, a pair of filthy shorts and much abused Timberland boots, he is in his element. He doesn’t do ‘days out’, or to be more specific I don’t do them with him. His constant roar of horror of “How much?” with regard to anything from an entry fee for a family, to a few coffees and cokes, to a slap up fish and chip supper has taken its toll on me over the years. I’ve learnt to my cost that it is pointless dragging him to the zoo, Pennywell Farm, aquarium or anywhere that isn’t provided by God. The worst perpetrator and sure fire way of raising his blood pressure? A fairground. God forbid I suggest a turn on the dodgems or Waltzers. He has a very low opinion of fairground proprietors and has been known to withdraw his grinning, bell ringing children from a little fire engine on one of those kids’ carousels because the owner in question has demanded a steep fee. Consequently our few days break to Wales was a low key affair but luckily the weather was fabulous and so we were able to go to the beach in Tenby instead. Hubby plonked himself on a towel, let out a satisfied sigh and lay down, face up to the sun. My little girls stripped off and squealed with joy but my eldest two wouldn’t even sit down.
“C’mon then guys”, I said smilingly and, passing them a bucket and spade, suggested they “get stuck in and dig until you get to Australia”. They used to love the idea that antipodean playmates were only a few shovels away.
“No thanks ma”, said my son, “I hate the beach”.
“This gets everywhere”, said my 11 year old daughter, tipping her green, patent ballet pump upside down as she watched, nose wrinkled in distaste as the sand trickled back onto the beach.
“For God’s sake”, I complained, “We are going to have a very long summer holiday if we can’t go to Kingsand together for an afternoon.
“Well that’s more pebbly”, offered my daughter.
“Yeah and my mates will be there”, added my son.
“And there’s a coffee shop”.
“Speaking of which, we might just go for one now. Coming?” My son so rarely invites his younger sister anywhere that I was loathe to stop them, instead I warned them to be very careful, not look like shoplifters and to be back on the beach within an hour.
At this juncture a comfy deckchair and a chicklit novel would have been most desirable, as it was Hubby was snoring gently and my youngest girls wanted me to collect water in their bucket to put around their moat. With a heavy heart and heavier butt I heaved myself off the beach and walked down to the shore with them. It really was a glorious day. The sea was sparkling and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The girls soon forgot to collect sea water and instead screamed and laughed as they jumped the little waves. They made me smile. It was so innocent, so simple that I forgot about their eldest, moody, more corrupted siblings and tucking my skirt into my knickers, joined in the wave jumping. Eventually I was soaked and weak with laughter when suddenly a voice from my dim and distant past called, “Alice, Alice? Is that you?”
I swung around and almost fell into the arms of my first ever boyfriend.
“Martyn?”, I was incredulous.
“Hi Alice. Looks like you’re having fun” and gently he brushed some sand off my cheek. His hand stayed there. “I wondered what had happened to you”.
“I’m on Friends Reunited”. What a stupid thing to say. I blushed.
“Ah Friends Re-Ignited”, he laughed and pushed his sunglasses on top of his head. His eyes were the still the same colour as the sea. I think my heart stopped beating momentarily because I was sure he was about to kiss me. Instead a wave of water landed on both of us. Shuddering and dripping I looked up. It was Hubby, a plastic bucket in his hand.
“Sorry”, he said, “I meant to get the girls instead” and with arm outstretched he introduced himself, “Alice’s husband, father of four”. Martyn shook his hand, told Hubby he was a very lucky man and took his leave. “It was lovely to see you again”, he said and kissing my cheek whispered his email address into my ear.
Hubby grabbed my hand, tightly. “So that was him then?” I nodded.
“Your first?”
“Seemed a bit of a tosser”. I nodded again.


Sally Lomax said...

I laughed very loudly at hubby's comment about Martyn!

My kids would be happier with Starbucks and pebbles too!

Great post!

Alice Band said...

Thanks Sally. Got to dash though, PTA meeting in half an hour - no kids washed, myself in general state of dissaray. One 's' or two 'r's??

belle said...

Laughed, too - how come the first was on a beach in Tenby at the same time as you? Small world!

Alice Band said...

Small world indeed but don't forget that this blog is initially published as a cloumn in a newspaper - sometimes if life is slow I use some artisitc licence!