Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Emotional Wall.

Hubby sat with his head between his hands.
“Alice. Dear”, his tone was frosty, which added an acute atmosphere to the already wintry conditions. “Couldn’t you have waited? Two grand is not going to fall from the sky”.
I was well aware of that but, a dodgy looking wall, which looks as though it may well fall down from the sky at any given moment, has to be addressed.
“I wasn’t aware that the builder I’d asked to look at the wall would arrange to meet a building inspector was I? Unfortunately, now that he has done his inspecting, he has deemed it unsafe and therefore our wall requires immediate attention”.
“But Alice”, groaned Hubby, literally clinging onto tufts of his hair, “That wall has been there for over 200 years, it’ll probably be there for another 200”.
“Look, my ceilings had also been up there for a comparably historical period but, since we moved in, two of them decided to fall down. I cannot take the chance on an indecisive outside wall that may topple on some poor, unsuspecting hoodie”.
“Can’t we just replace the old with a bit of breeze block then?” he asked, his face lined with the responsibility of keeping Her Majesty’s Navy ship shape and V.Sat. , his kids in order and his wife compliant. It was a lot to ask of any man.
“Darling”, I offered gently, extricating his fingers from his hair, “The Georgians didn’t really go in for breeze block and therefore Caradon District Council are unlikely to as well. I think we have to be in keeping”.
By all accounts it was the wrong thing to say.
“In keeping did you say?” Hubby leapt off the sofa, fury lighting his eyes, “Right then, I’ll give them ‘in keeping’”.
“What are you doing?” I asked, trotting behind him up the stairs.
“Locking the bathroom. We’ll use a pot and either, chuck it into the garden as a makeshift cess pool, or, as was also acceptable, into the street”.
I looked at him questioningly. Had he finally lost his marbles? “We won’t take a bath any more, nor wash our hair more than twice a year. Don’t bother with the head lice, let them roam free. Yes, that’s it. Free-range nits” and he laughed at his own, rather troubled, joke, before bundling my deodorant into a conveniently abandoned, Topshop carrier bag.
“You see”, he said brandishing it into my face, “The children will take no time at all in adopting Georgian ways. They leave their crap everywhere anyway”. He continued to fill up the bag with my perfumes, toothpaste and makeup.
“Right then”, he said, “Hand me your car keys”.
“Your car keys. Alice, you may be aware that the motor car had yet to be invented in the late 1700’s and therefore, to keep Caradon happy, we had best dispense with ours”. He ran down the stairs and rifled through a pile of old newspapers.
“What now?”, I barely dared ask.
“We must find a horse. One for you and one for me. They often sell horses in the Western Morning News”. Should I call a doctor?
“A few tons of horse manure and the reek of their urine running down to the Tamar will be very historically authentic, along with the noise of their hooves and the rattle and creak of the cart”.
“How else are you going to get the kids to school?” How indeed.
“Now then, the rubbish”. Before he had a chance to upturn the kitchen dustbin onto the pavement - a la Olde Worlde Englande, I succeeded in apprehending him.
“Darling. You know its Valentine’s Day tomorrow?”
“Well aware dear. You have gone on about it for the last few weeks”, he said, tugging at the bin liner which, mercifully, steadfastly refused to be eased out of its stainless steel cylinder.
“Yes well, and you know how you are taking me and Mags to the pictures and then out to dinner?”
“Yes. Aren’t I the lucky fellow. A double whammy to pay for”.
“Darling, she’s alone. We must keep her company. Anyway, I thought, as you are clearly under an immense amount of pressure and how the last thing you really want to do tomorrow night is listen to two middle aged women ranting about why all men are bastards, excepting you of course”, I added hurriedly, worried that I too would be the next thing hurled onto the street. I think Georgian wives were afforded the same delicate treatment as excrement, dead animals and garbage.
“Well?” he asked, putting down the bin and finally looking at me.
“Well, I think that my brother, Dad and Uncle Dave are going to the pub...to watch the rugby, followed by a few sherbets and a curry. Interested?”
“Huh? You sure you don’t mind? Your benevolence regarding me going out for a few beers is not, generally, renowned”.
“Yes well, most women haven’t put up with two decades of run-ashores and the subsequent drunken phone calls, where not only do you declare your undying love but where you’re habitually joined by a mess deck of sailors, also blaring down the phone behind you a chorus of their eternal love for me too”.
“I’m a changed man Alice”. God bless him, he’s right. Those were the days when his loins had only produced, one or at the most, two children. When he was subordinate to far graver men, his duties were less onerous and when he could finish work early on a Friday by taking a ‘make & mend’.
Nowadays he is the gravest of all, burdened by MOD prudency whilst still expected to produce ‘results’; his job and family providing little chance of R&R.
“Don’t worry about the Georgians” I said, handing him his phone to text my brother, “As The Jam said, ‘This is the Modern World’ and even district councils can’t dispute that”. One lives in hope.


Trudy said...

That was masterfully done!!! Your diversionary skills are epic....and done so quickly!!!

Jen Ballantyne said...

You are hilarious! You've given me a good chuckle this morning my friend. Take care, Jen xxx

Sally said...

I laughed loudly! Glad you didn't end up in the street.... and as for District Councils....... Yes well, thank goodness they don't trouble us all too often.

Eloise said...

You crack me up, Alice!