Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Clever Clogs.

My family is very disdainful of my general knowledge. Hubby started the other night when, after a very busy day he demanded to know what ship he was ‘riding’ the following morning. Now God bless me, try as I might to keep up to speed with his comings and goings I really cannot recall every HMS Frigate and Destroyer our beloved Queen possesses and so I hazarded a guess, “H.M.S Euryalus?”
He quite literally guffawed on a mouthful of dry roasted peanuts that he’d thrown cockily into his mouth, a la some Hollywood cowboy. Some divine Karma gave me a reprieve for a minute as his lungs did their damndest to cough up the offending particles and he thumped at his chest. “H.M.S Danae then?”, I suggested.
“For God’s sake Alice”, he snarled, blowing his nose noisily, “What decade are you living in?”
“Oh I don’t know then, put me out of my misery”.
“Would that I could”, he answered, drily.
“Charming. Honestly darling, I find it hard to remember all these ships. You seem to be on a different one every day”, I replied.
“Well, that’s maybe because I am on a different one every day. There are those wives who take an active interest in their husband’s careers you know”.
“Are there dear?” I answered facetiously, “Of course I’ve had nothing to do with yours at all, just forsaken my own that you may pursue yours. In the paper this week it said how much it would cost to pay the average full time mum just for the childcare, and this isn’t even including laundry, chef, chauffeur and sexual contributor”, there was a pause, “Well it’s £60,000 if you must know”.
“I’m getting a bargain then”, he answered, “Besides this is getting off the point, tomorrow I’m on a German ship. Strike a chord now?”
I vaguely recalled something but heaven knows what the name of the ship was.
“To jog your memory all German ships are named after German provinces” he explained, although the vacant look on my face suggested geographical clues were not going to be of much help to me.
“Look love”, I answered impatiently, “ I barely know where Bavaria is, so I can assure you that I do not have at my disposal an encyclopaedic knowledge of German provinces. Sorry about that”. At that point my 12 year old daughter, who is au fait with seemingly endless facts on any given subject, walked in.
“Don’t waste your breath dad; mummy doesn’t know her Schleswig-Holstein from her Lower Saxony”. They both giggled.
“Oh ha bloody ha”, I grimaced, “Look I’m only too happy to be the butt of all jokes in this house, but as my role is that of mindless dogsbody and not ravishing intellectual, would either of you be kind enough to carry this food into the dining room and call the rest of your family to the table?”
Dinner was no academic amnesty however and no sooner had I had down to eat my baked ham than my son started. There’s a lot to be said for families sitting gormlessly in front of the TV as they eat. Far less intimidating, especially when one’s children are seemingly far brighter than the mother. I feel sometimes as though I’m in a D.H Lawrence novel where educated children return to the family only to feel ashamed of their dim-witted parent.
“So what did you do at school today son?” asked Hubby. I was concentrating on cutting up my three year old’s cauliflower cheese and getting her to stay at the table.
“Oh we had history today. We’re studying the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s very interesting”.
“I’ve read a book about that” added his eldest sister. Their father joined the conversation and whilst I tried desperately to keep up, the six year old needed more brown sauce, the youngest a wee and so on until finally they turned on me.
“So mum, did you study the Cuban crisis?” A low grade snigger went around the table. I put my knife and fork together and lay them down then sat back in my chair.
“Is that the same Cuban Missile Crisis in which President Kennedy on the 22nd October 1962 spoke these words and I quote, ‘It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union’?”
You could have heard a pin drop, I continued, “You mean the same Cuban Missile Crisis that was instrumental in the Cold War. The same cold war that the late and great Peter Ustinov wrote a play about, albeit a comic spoof? The one set in the small mythical mid-european country of Concordia, whose leader is wooed by America and the Soviet Union each one wanting him as an ally? If I remember rightly, Russia's ambassador, a member of the Romanoff family, has a son called Igor who falls in love with Juliet, the daughter of the US diplomat. The two opposing families, one communist, the other capitalist, represent the warring Capulets and Montagues of Romeo and Juliet? Is that the one you mean? Finish off your roast potatoes darling”, I leant over and stabbed my six year old daughter’s spud.
My children looked appropriately mortified; Hubby rather discomfitingly, just looked stunned.
“Baz Lurhmann, ‘F.Y.I’ young lady, is not the only one who has dallied with the Bard. There was life before Leonardo di Caprio you know”.
My six year old, who had been listening attentively, was intrigued by the shift in power around the table and instead of asking her father turned to me, “What do you know about Africa mummy? We are having an international week at school next week”.
“It’s very hot and very big, now finish your dinner”.


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

I am still laughing into my coffee!

Domestically Challenged said...

I just wish they wouldn't speak in tongues - the husband and Mr Tonic chatting this weekend was like listening to code - Gordon and I became hysterical and shouted loudly at them - TV HRT MSG GMTV PMS GMT CD etc.... for some reason they didn't find it as amusing as we did!?
Does Commander Band have the same affliction?

Alice Band said...

When Mr Tonic and Hubby are together it is very dull - they don't bother to flirt with us any more and try and get our attention.

Domestically Challenged said...

'Flirt'.....I'm not even sure I can remember the last time mine did that - could have been sometime last century!

Anonymous said...

that is the best put-down - EVER! If only I could think of such wonderful words when I need to - it's always in the middle of the night afterwards that the best response comes to me!

Anonymous said...

*snort* I would have stopped after the President Kennedy comment!
You done good. ;)