Thursday, 8 July 2010

Anyone for Toblerone?

I broke the news as gently as was possible.
“Darling you know these last few years we’ve had international students to stay...”
“Don’t remind me”, Hubby interjected, “Now there’s an experience I wouldn’t repeat in a million years”. Gulp.
“Really? It wasn’t that bad”.
“Not that bad? Alice, you have a very convenient memory then because as far as I remember, two Spanish girls absconded to a dive of a disco in Plymouth and were most indignant to be brought home and the Japanese almost killed our pregnant cat”.
It was my turn to interject. “That’s not entirely fair. Takeshi was just a little exuberant. The Finn and the French were delightful”.
“In the parlance of my children, ‘whatever’. The point is, after Pia’s year long stint the basement has never been the same again. We had to redecorate for God’s sake”.
“We had to take the wall paper down and repaint. Don’t be so melodramatic”.
“Me melodramatic? Pot calling kettle black Alice! Were you the one in there with the wallpaper stripper and the Dulux?” I had to concede that I was not.
“Besides, my impressionable teenage daughter, under the direction of a Norwegian lass, learnt more about the ramifications of the birds and the bees than most sailors I know”.
“Well, given that you are still calling it ‘the birds and the bees’ that’s hardly surprising.”
“It’s just so nice to look forward to a quiet summer Alice. I can do a bit of DIY, we can go camping, walk some of the coastal path with the dog. Lazy, hazy days.” And he picked up his newspaper and settled back in the armchair. Contented and at peace. This was far harder than I’d imagined. How on earth was I going to tell him? Best just jump in and get it over with.
“I have bad news. Piaandjamiearecomingbackforafewdays?”
“What was that?” Hubby asked, barely interested. I swallowed hard.
“Pia and Jamie are coming back for a few days mid July”. He dropped the newspaper. In for a penny in for a pound “and the day after they go, our friends from New York come to stay with their three children.” He was up on his feet. I kept my ground.
“But tomorrow, I, well, we are, well”, I was faltering and losing my nerve, “You see the head of the girl’s school asked if I’d do them a favour and well, you know that you joke it’s like the united nations here, um, well I’m picking up a Swiss student from the railway station in the afternoon and she is staying here for a fortnight”. There, I’d done it. The expression ‘blowing one’s top’ was undoubtedly penned after someone had given their husband some unpleasant news. I could see exactly what they meant. Hubby’s face went a very unattractive shade of purple, great big blood vessels and veins popped out on his forehead and throat, his eyes glazed and steam seemed to literally emanate from every facial orifice. I was most concerned he’d have a stroke.
“Shall I get you a drink?”, I offered, backing out of the room.
“A Swiss girl?”, Hubby roared behind me, “A fortnight? From tomorrow? When the football is on?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. By the time I’d returned from the railway station with a very pretty 17 year old blonde girl, the football score was so dire that Hubby was happy to be anywhere other than in front of the television.
Sandy was duly introduced to all four children, my dad, Mags, three cats and a very enthusiastic Golden Retriever who likes nothing more in life than a new crotch to sniff. Hubby pulled him away.
“Bienvenu Sandy”, he said, “Angleterre avez crashed out of le world cup. Onivar le plage ce soir?”
“I am sorry”, replied Sandy very apologetically, “but I am from ze North east of Switzerland and so I speak Swiss-German and not Swiss-French. I do however know that le plage is the beach and that it would be very nice to visit, yes?”
“Ah! German! Zey are very goot at football yah?” Hubby, still hanging onto the collar of a drooling dog, was digging himself a large and somewhat xenophobic, hole.
“Dad”, whispered his son, “leave it ok? You are starting to sound like bloody Basil Fawlty”.
Apart from the cats, we all went to the beach and soaked up the last of the evening’s rays. After Pimm’s and Smoky Bacon crisps, football and visitors were soon forgotten about, helped along later by the gift of yards and yards of Toblerone that went a long way in mollifying a long suffering husband, enduring yet another season of entente cordiale.

3 comments:

jinksy said...

I think you deserve a medal for continuing to be so hospitable! LOL!

rosneath said...

yards and yards of Toblerone would make anyone welcome in my house!

DL said...

I wonder if Hubby is really as grumpy as the picture you paint?

Whether he is or not, ripping read, as ever.

Best wishes,
D. x