Thursday, 19 August 2010



“One week left Alice” said Hubby resting his silver topped cane on the back of the sofa, “and then I’m on leave”. He hopped from foot to foot kicking off his black, shiny, shoes and peeled off his socks.
“Must you?”, I asked, my nose wrinkling in distaste.
“What?” asked Hubby playfully, dangling an offending sock in my face, “fresh as a daisy darling since you bought these posh socks”. Marks and Spencer’s Freshfeet finest.
“Yeah? Well I think poor Marksies have bitten off more than they can chew”. The idiom unfortunately provided an image of said feet and socks being snacked upon and a sudden sense of revulsion overcame me and I shuddered and escaped to the kitchen. Hubby, sensing a moment of high-jinks, chased after me. The back door was locked; I had no-where to go.
“Stop!” I screamed, covering my face and mouth, “Stop it you pig!”.
“Look Alice, I haven’t got the sock. Look. I promise”. I peeped through a crack in my fingers. His hands were waggling in front of me. Empty. I relaxed.
“That was mean”, I said, pouting.
“Darling, as if I would ever shove a sweaty sock in your beautiful face. Come here”. My back was pressed up against the kitchen door. He lifted my chin and kissed me. For what seemed a very long and lingering time.
“Ahem”, said a voice. We looked up. It was our son. Behind him, another tall young man, indistinguishable apart from tribal tattoos dancing up his forearms. He too sported a long mane, mildly unpleasant facial hair, black jeans, a dead rock band on his black t-shirt and beads around his neck and wrists.
“Ma, Pa, this is Louis. Lead singer of The Mighty”. I pulled my top down rather self-consciously. God knows why. I’d been kissed, not molested.
“How do you do Mrs Band?” asked Louis very politely, holding out his hand, “..Mr Band”, extending his manners to Hubby, “It’s very kind of you to let us stay here tonight. It’s difficult to find lodgings on tour, especially for six. I hope we aren’t putting you to any trouble”.
“None at all”, I managed with what I thought was an air of gravitas, before my son, silently indicated to the top of my head. My hand flew up and there, like some grotesque, Grayson Perry style bow, was Hubby’s discarded sock. I chose to ignore it. Instead I put the kettle on to boil as though I oft wandered around in a distracted state, my lipstick smudged, a size twelve sock flopping atop my hair. It seemed more rock’n’roll to appear a little mad.
Louis, our son, two of our son’s band members, our 14 year old daughter and two of her friends departed soon after.
Hubby mentally counted the number of people staying under his roof that night, “Six of us and twelve extra”, he sighed defeated, before finally going to change out of his uniform. The phone rang.
“I’ve got a ticket for the Port Eliot lit fest. Come with me?”
“Mags, I’m not paying forty quid for a couple of hours to watch some yuppies float around drinking mimosas”.
“Don’t be such an inverted snob. At least come to the pub for a drink”. She twisted my arm. Hubby was taking a trip to Lords to watch the cricket in a couple of days so did not protest too much.
I got to the pub first and ordered myself a glass of white wine. I was still reeling when Mags turned up. “Four pounds ninety five!”, I said, brandishing the glass at her.
“Get it down your neck and come with me”, she implored, a wicked glint in her eye. “You can gatecrash. There’s a spot in the fence you can negotiate”. I looked at her as if she were mad.
“I’ve a silk dress on and high heels Mags”.
“All the more reason; you won’t look out of place. Meet you there.” Minutes later I was wedging my body through a very, very narrow gap. At one point my right bosom was harpooned by a bramble.
“Ouch” I yelped.
“Who goes there?” At least I think that’s what I heard. I felt like a fugitive. I remained stock still, my heart beating audibly. I could see the headlines, ‘Local Commander’s wife scales festival fence’.
“Do you need a hand?” I accepted the offer, and the hand extricated the bramble from my bust, gave a little pull and a second later I was in. Music thumped, people floated, food sizzled, and fairy lights twinkled. Hell knows where Mags was.
“Drink?” my rescuer handed me a cocktail, “Come and meet Grayson Perry” and taking my hand he led me through the revellers. Good job I’d removed the sock. Wouldn’t have liked him to think I was taking the mickey.

1 comment:

DL said...

The sock-on-head anecdote reminds me of when S went in from our car to collect our son from a birthday party in Belfast (some time in the late 90s) with a hankie on her head. Didn't realise till she'd come back out to the car again.

We moved back to England soon after that...