Anyhow, this prolonged zombie blood-bath somehow appeared to be my fault. I raised an eyebrow.
‘Well, it’s ridiculous.’I nodded. Sometimes it’s best just to agree.
‘They should be outside.’
‘What? Playing at the Famous Five?’ I looked towards the window where the rain was doing the rain equivalent of a Ginger Baker drum solo.
‘It’s only a bit of rain. Children should do wholesome things.’
Sheesh. When did my husband turn into The Killer of All Childish Joy? This is, after all, the man who used to work for the NME, who played in an indie band, who rode a big motorbike and once upon a time had pupils like saucers half the waking day. He sure as hell wasn’t no angel. Yet now he’s turned into Mr Morality and he and James are having increasing run-ins, usually over the most trivial of sins.‘He eats too many sweets.’ ‘He watches too much television.’ ‘He wears his trousers too low.’ ‘He’s on the Internet too much.’ ‘He eats rubbish.’ ‘He swears like a trooper.’ ‘He’s lazy.’ ‘He’s snippy.’
Yes, he’s probably right but I dunno, I cut the boy a bit of slack in the holidays, mainly because (if we’re really honest) most of his sins (apart from the TV and the trousers too low bit) are ones I share with him. And James and I, we get along just fine, we really do. We simply don’t rub one another up the wrong way. Maybe it’s because we share the same number and direction in Feng Shui terms (while Adrian is out on a tangent). But James and Adrian…ye gods. I comfort myself by saying it’s a young stag/old stag thing – that they need, in primal psychological terms to face up to one another and clash antlers occasionally; to waft their testosterone in each other’s general directions and bellow. But, bloody hell, it’s tiring. Why can’t men just talk things through reasonably, like women do? Why all the archetypal drama?‘Anyhow, I was thinking,’ continued Adrian. ‘You are listening, right?’
‘What? Oh yes, absolutely.’
‘Well, I’m going to get them clearing up the garden…’
That woke me up. ‘WHAT?’ ‘Clearing up the garden’ is a euphemism for wandering around mournfully, shovel in hand, clearing dog turds from the lawn.
‘What do you mean, what?’
‘Well, you can’t seriously expect Bob to clean up our dogs’ turds. I mean, can you imagine it? Bob goes home and his mother says, ‘So, Bob, what did you do at James’s house?’ and Bob replies, ‘Oh, such wizard gapes, Mater – we spent our afternoon shovelling dog shit and burying it in a large pit.’ I mean, it wouldn’t be so bad if he’d been here before but it’s his First Time and you want him on poop scoop duty?’
I looked at Adrian and he looked at me. Then we both burst out laughing.
‘Yeah, okay,’ he said. ‘I’ll concede that one.’
‘I know our parenting skills aren’t brilliant but that really would be scraping the barrel.’
But it got me thinking, maybe we are missing a trick here. Okay, so not on the First Visit –but after that? Just think of all those other totally inappropriate things one could get a visiting child to do (and -evil laugh - because they're visiting and Being Polite, they would probably do them).· Clean the lavatories
· De-louse the dogs
· Sort out our underwear drawers
· Pick hair out of the shower
|No, these are NOT the boys...|
As a treat afterwards, I could stick fake facial hair on them and sneak them into The Inbetweeners (cos I’m desperate to see it myself) and then go down the pub for a round of Snakebites.It’s a plan, right?
I must have been musing out loud because Adrian just shook his head sadly, hitched up his two sizes too large jeans from Mole Valley (oh, alas, to think that once he would only wear 501s) and walked away. But I’m not giving up, oh no.