So, work has resumed, and fun things like writing and sharing into this whole exciting new world are now on hold for several days each week. But, hopefully, back up there with a vengeance over the weekend.
Traditionally, the post-return to work weekend is a time for solemnity and washing many pants.
It is a time to put on ones most shamefully ragged pjs at 4 pm and hunker down with a nice bit of fish for tea. It is the season when safe in the knowledge that you have done your sociable best for the last two months, you may use whatever terminology is appropriate to tell the world to piss off and leave you alone. January is the true season of peace.
A subtle tide of greyness flows across the days as we lapse back into normality. Apart from the returning sense of control, this mundane month provides a ideal opportunity for several other stratospherically boring pursuits to get a look-in. Like Dry January, Choosing Seeds and Rugby.
Several weeks previously, whilst in the throes of an important pre-Christmas gin-sampling exercise with the ladies of our village I became tremendously inspired as to how it would be possible to take advantage of this in terms of providing the other with a Christmas present. It would cost me very little, would thrill the beloved one’s very cockles and best of all would preserve me from having to spend precious hours brooding over Internet man-sock catalogues into the wee small hours.
This year, in the interests of economy and goodwill, I decided to provide the old guy with an Experience amongst his most major and love-inspired Christmas presents, ie I would agree to go the the Rugby with him.
As Ms Austen would have said , gentle reader, please understand that this obvious act of fallibility was no more than a kindly attempt to fulfil a bucket list entry for said man, which he had been trying to achieve for around 20 years, along with Catching the Big Bass and being Man of the Match.
His escorted visit would take place on condition that he paid, provided chips and a comely hipflask filled with something even comelier. It seemed a fair deal.
Well the hour arrived, and having wrapped myself up like Nanook of the North and filled the hipflask generously to ward off the cold and dull the pain of the rugby, I dutifully accompanied the happy recipient to the house where we had agreed to meet the 14 other fools who actually claim to enjoy such things.
Now,the Rugby is held on the other side of town in a filthy field surrounded by a concrete monolith containing on its inner side ranks of foul concrete seats on which around 3,000 spectators can perch under the blaze of lights so bright they almost certainly cause light pollution in outer space. We had almost finished packing the necessary stash of blankets into the cars, and people were beginning to offer up excited versions of the inane anthems that seem a prerequisite when attending ball games.
Then suddenly, by grace of a merciful ping, we were suddenly granted a blissful escape as someone’s phone delivered the awful news …..the toilets in the rugby place were frozen, so tragically the rugby was cancelled .
There was nothing to do but default en masse to the kitchen of the rugby-departure house where we were able to help them clear out any remaining vestiges of Christmas snacks which may have been lurking at the back of the cupboards. Then we helped them clear the garage, which contained many bottles of homemade moonshine made from local hedgerow fruits, and potatoes. It was an excellent decluttering and most productive for all concerned.
The next day sadly they reinstated the rugby so I had to go after all, and bloody boring it was too. I am told that it’s better if you sit right at the front because you can ‘feel the vibrations and smell the men’. Is this true?
We shall skip across the full horrendous detail of the Rugby match – suffice to say it eventually passed and we were able to get home and I was released to regroup whilst the delighted old fart went off to watch a documentary about men catching cod. It appeared that order was restored.
Later that same day however there was a very colourful postscript to the day when the ‘soil pipe’ connecting the toilet to the mains drainage system, assumed a quiet moment of evil and surreptitiously blocked itself, also cutting off every overflow in the bathroom. Our daughter, an impeccably clean young woman, had gone to enjoy her thrice daily worship at the shower whilst the cod-father and myself were sat polishing off a nice piece of Stilton in front of the fire, accompanied by a suitable amount of port and a couple of custard creams. I was quietly contemplating whether to paint my toenails Magenta or Screaming Green and he had begun to deliver a favourite lecture on the plural of the word ‘mongoose’ when it happened.
For no good reason the ceiling seemed to loom ominously close and without warning we were deluged with the entire contents of the bath, Tresemme and all. Well I don’t mind sharing, I was hysterical as we had to use even more pans than for Christmas dinner and the mop and any other absorbent thing around. I can only say that the cats are lucky they can run away because I am sure they would offer very good mopping-potential…
In fact I swear that I caught one of them laughing….