May 19, 2019: Possibilities

It’s my Birthday tomorrow.

So, obviously, as is tradition now I have booked the day off work. No-one will be escaping on my watch tomorrow.

Apart from us.

Because we’re racking up four rooms during the course of the day tomorrow – an intensive three-room blitz in the morning and then a leisurely room to finish off in the evening.

Can’t bloomin’ wait.

Obviously, then, with all that in the pipeline the following things have happened – Carole spent the day in London yesterday and has walked so much that her legs no longer work properly and she has trouble bending, and I have had a run in with – well, I’ll spare you the details – but it makes the prospect of being locked in rooms a lot more exciting, I can tell you!

But still, we will let nothing stop us in our pursuit of escapery. If we have to we’ll dip Carole in a vat of Deep Heat in the morning and I’ll take as many Imodium as is safe to take in as short a period as possible.

What could possibly go wrong?

As it is, I am actually going to turn into bed before midnight (dun dun duuuuun!) so that my escaping brain is fully rested for the trials and tribulations ahead of it. And so that I can wake up early and be showered in presents because I am shallow and materialistic.

Not really!

But still…. Presents!

May 18, 2019: Fickle

The front room windowsill has, for a long time, stood empty.

When Pumpkin was around, she would curl up at the end of it and sleep on her blanket, basking in the sunlight. Peppa doesn’t do that so much, preferring to sleep on the bed upstairs instead.

In fact, with her cat stand thingy by the window, if she wants to look out she’ll just sit at the top of that and watch the world go by.

Not so long ago, Carole put a tray of seeds on the windowsill.

They’re coming along nicely. Sprouting with all their hopes and dreams in tact.

Any guesses on where Peppa wants to spend all her time now?

Sometimes she’ll step over it, and sort of stand astride the seeds like the master of all. And then other times she’ll plant herself in it. And the fun thing about the compartments of the seed tray is that they are the same size as a cat’s paw. So if there are any seeds growing in there, any shoots poking out of the surface, they are mushed beneath the weight of some delightful little toe-beans.

Sometimes, Peppa is a bit like a child who hasn’t seen their parents for the whole day and so starts acting out a bit. I’ve been at work all day and Carole’s poked off to London to look at some arty farty art and be cultured. Peppa’s been home along all day with only herself for company. I know full well she’s just slept on the bed all day, but she’s decided to act out now I’m home and trash the plants, flick pens everywhere and sit on everything I want to use.

And now I am in a position to shower her with attention and affection… she’s pissed off outside.

I give up…

May 17, 2019: Sand

The last time we saw Showstopper! was, I think, at the Fringe. An emotional story about ageing, lost love and memories that hit you in the feels and just kept on twisting until everyone was a gibbering wreck and too emotionally exhausted to carry on.

Last night, however, it was archaeologists digging up what amounted to a sexy cat in the deserts of Egypt.

I do love me some Showstopper! despite having no passion, at all, for musical theatre. People shout out musical styles and I really don’t know what’s what, or what it should sound like.

But you don’t need to know that to enjoy it. You don’t need to be the guy who was desperate for them to feature Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward from 2013, that ran for four months. You don’t need to be that guy. That guy was there last night. And he pre-tweeted the ‘stoppers before the show begging them to include it.

I reckon, aside from him, no-one else in the audience really knew what the musical style should have been. But as he nearly dislocated his shoulder thrusting his hand into the sky to make his suggestion known, it seemed only fitting.

It was also a nice change to see a different gaggle of ‘stoppers on stage as well. Aside from Adam and the brilliant Mr Pellow there were mainly ones that we’ve not normally seen in the rotation. We normally see the majority of the original team whenever we end up seeing them.

And it was a great show, that meandered off a bit in places but came to an end with a dramatic duel, proclamations of love, tiny sarcophagi and the empowerment of women.

What more could you want from an hour and half of improvised musical shenanigans?


May 16, 2019: Wood

The dawn chorus is a wonderful thing.

A life-affirming, musical start to your day. If you want your day to start at the crack of dawn, that is. Or it’s something to listen to as you try to get back to sleep because you’ve awoken too early due to poorly-lined curtains.

I – because I was cool – used to have a record of bird song that I got free with a magazine about birds that I have no idea how I got. I think my dad “won” them from somewhere which, in laymans terms, means someone was throwing them out and he thought “My son doesn’t know enough about sparrows just yet…” and brought them home.

And I used to play the record on my tatty old record player which, unsurprisingly, was also won from somewhere. Through two large (won) speakers. And I would listen to that. Or some other musical sounds records that had also been “won”. Or a 7″ single of one of Sonia’s songs. I cannot stress how fricking cool I was.

But that doesn’t mean I could pick out a bird song. I can’t. I have no idea what any of them are. I don’t hear one and immediately know it’s a sparrow or a tit or whatever. I have no idea. I may have heard them all, but my brain doesn’t retain that information.

Apart from one.

The wood pigeon.

If the dawn chorus was a choir singing in beautiful harmony, the wood pigeon is a male singer just going through puberty so his voice is in that breaking stage where sometimes it’s deep and sometimes it’s squeaky. And he’s just shouting “I can sing too! I can sing too!”

Over and over and over.

And everyone sings on. But he’s still there. Insisting he can sing.

And everyone tries to sing louder and more delightfully. But you can still hear him, “I can sing too!”

When I lived at my parents my nemesis was a wood pigeon.

There’s a contender here too, it would appear.

May 15, 2019: Water

For quite a while Carole has had a habit of leaving the hot tap running in the kitchen when she leaves for work. Not full on, or anything like that, just steadily trickling away quite slowly.

For quite a while I have been joking that, one day, she will flood the kitchen.

Today those two things came together in a glorious synergy.

I came downstairs this morning, full of the joys of mid-to-late spring. I had thrown back the curtains, when I eventually rolled out of bed after a steady stream of time-stealing YouTube videos, and prepared for another glorious drying day by stripping the spare bed to be cleaned.

I got downstairs and heard, as I often do, the distinctive sound of the tap running.

I stepped into the kitchen and moved towards the sink to turn the tap off.

This time something was different.

I was paddling my way there.

If you want to look at this incident in a different light, the way the water pooled is testament to how incredibly uneven our kitchen floor is. And luckily for us, it only really creates a pool of water in front of the washing machine and into the carpet that occupies the other half of the kitchen (it’s lino around the cupboards, cooker and sink etc and carpet in the other half so it could be a kitchen-diner if you had a small table and a small family).

And, again, luckily that’s where the extension lead that the washing machine is plugged into sits as well.

So that could have been all sorts of electrocuted fun.

But luckily, it wasn’t. I say luckily, of course, because I had already set off into the watery floor before I realised what was going on. And that could have been an absolute bummer if I’d gotten up only to be electrocuted in the kitchen.

It’s the time I nearly blew up my parents house by accidentally leaving the gas fire on a little bit all over again…

And while I was looking forward to good drying day for any washing, one thing that has not dried well is the kitchen. It has an air of damp. Or, in the carpet’s case, an air of soggy. It’s not bouncing back from this well, at the moment. I mean, the lino is the cleanest it’s ever been and any spilled or abandoned cat biscuits did go some way towards absorbing some of the water. And let us never, ever talk of all the fluff and whatever else that was washed out from under the washing machine…

And, it goes without saying, Carole is now banned from using the sink in the morning. I might have to start going to bed with the plug, so this cannot happen again.

Likewise, I clearly can’t lie in bed anymore in a morning. I’ll have to get up and if I yearn for any further horizontal relaxation, do it on the couch down here, once I’ve checked all the taps.