Friday, 30 April 2010


“Hope all this has put paid to all your fanciful notions of world travel Alice”, said Hubby rather piously one morning this week.
“What on earth do you mean?” I replied indignantly.
“Alice, an extended weekend cannot pass us by without you poring longingly over a travel brochure in the vain hope that we will suddenly find a couple of grand to whisk off to some remote palm fringed island”.
“I’d hardly call Tenerife remote”.
“It’s as remote as the Ascension Isles if you are bloody well stuck on it”. Hubby was talking from experience, having in fact been marooned on Ascension with an abscess. It was many years ago but it was an experience that has scarred him and put him off any island, archipelago or variation therein. When we went to Majorca, I fooled him into believing we were going to mainland Spain.
“It’s all those years at sea Alice. You like to have your feet on a bit of terra firma”, has been his refrain since his abscess and subsequently, his tooth were removed on Ascension. This was only after the dentist had had to grip Hubby’s head been his knees to get some purchase before he yanked his tooth out with the shaking ferocity only a terrier might demonstrate with a newly caught rabbit.
“So are you trying to tell me that since this volcano business we are never going to travel abroad ever again?”
“Well it makes you think. How many of our friends and colleagues are stranded in far flung corners of the earth, having to pay God only knows how much in extra living costs, not enjoying themselves but spending hours of the day on the internet trying to rearrange new flights and argue with insurance companies? Nope Alice, it doesn’t matter how exotic Cuba, Miami, Brisbane, New York or even Tenerife are. If you have outstayed your welcome then there is nowhere like home.”
It’s as if this volcano has been sent as a direct gift from God to Hubby as a lifelong justification of venturing no further than the Norfolk Broads.
The eight year old wandered in, deep in thought.
“You ok tiddler?” her father asked her, ruffling her hair, “You look very serious”.
“I’ve just been watching the news” she replied.
“Well that’s more than your brother is doing which, given the fact that he’s meant to be studying politics ‘A’ level, is slightly disconcerting. I’m sure he would be hard pressed to tell you who Nick Clegg was.”
The aforementioned son walked in, looking for some socks.
“Nick Clegg? Hmm isn’t he the bassist for the Arctic Monkeys?”
Hubby opened his mouth and shut it again in disbelief. Our son returned from the utility room clutching his newly washed underwear.
“Dad, chill. I was just kidding”, and he disappeared from whence he had come.
“So, as I was saying”, said the eight year old, “I’ve been watching the news”.
“And?” I asked her, “What did you hear that has made you so pensive?”
“Pompeii”, she returned flatly.
“Yes. Do you think if this volcano continues to spew out ash that it will fall on Torpoint and in thousands of years time we’ll be dug out by some architect..”
“..Archaeologist, and I’ll be in the middle of brushing my teeth and they’ll find me like this..” and she demonstrated her petrified body by contorting her expression to that of an exaggerated open mouth.
“Do you normally open your mouth that wide when brushing your teeth?”
“Well I’d be in shock if I was turning to stone wouldn’t I, so my mouth would be open very wide trying to get the last bit of breath in my lungs.”
“Darling”, Hubby tried to explain, “This volcano is nothing like Pompeii”.
“Why ever not?” one could detect a sense of disappointment in her voice.
“Because we are thousands of miles away from the direct path of billions of tons of fast flowing, molten lava.”
“So in the future no-one will use a chisel and a hammer on my head to discover what it was like to be a child in 2010?”
Not wanting to crush her ambition of being excavated for the continued understanding of cultural history, Hubby hugged her and said “Probably but it will have little to do with an Icelandic volcano”.
The Red-Head appeared.
“Where are my tights?” she asked.
“Where are my tights – please. They’re in there. Just washed and dried”.
“In the nativity room?”, she asked.
“In the where?” I enquired, laughing
“In the nativity room”, she looked at me as though I were an idiot, “Duh. Where we wash the clothes and have the rubbish bin and feed the cats?
Suddenly the image of our messy utility room, which is never free of laundry and God knows what being the home to a few donkeys, the odd shepherd and the infant Messiah was too fabulous for words and both Hubby and I vowed that forever after the Nativity Room would always be referred to thus.
As ever there was little time for reflection. It wasn’t yet seven thirty. I’d prepared four packed lunches, sorted out various piles of washing, made breakfast for all and sundry, had discussed world travel, past and future human societies and even pondered the idea of the Star of Bethlehem being a permanent fixture above our house. My mind was exhausted. The idea of being stranded on holiday very much appealed. Then Hubby walked in from the kitchen.
“Just had a text from a work colleague. Take a look”. I took his mobile and read the message: ‘Won’t be in work til next week. Can’t get on flight. Blew holiday budget. Up to limit on all credit cards. Insurance washing hands of us. Hotel kicked us out. Lodging in Grotsville. E missing first GCSEs. Me and the missus not talking. No place like home’.
“Told you so”, said Hubby playing his trump card.


jinksy said...

Wonderful warning about curbing any signs of wanderlust! :)

DL said...

Tenerife? I'm sure you're bloody stalking us! Current plan is, our entire clan decamps there later in the summer. Canaries, look out! Would be strange indeed if we finally get to meet up in the middle of the Atlantic, having been corresponding all this time between Gloucestershire and Cornwall.

Sorry for the recent absence. Been sinking recently in a sea of domestic and work commitments. Surfaced briefly, to find I was 3 AB-posts in arrears. Spent an entertaining half-hour catching up (while all around me were catching up on Dorothy).

Sal says Hi, and also asked if I would ask you how long it takes to swim the channel. She said you would know. ???

Best wishes, as ever,
D. :)

Libelulle said...

Come to France! Volcanoes don't affect ferries!