We’ve just returned from a few days in the mountains. Don’t panic, I’m not going to bore you with all the details or stunning photos of the Pyrenees. Besides, the real adventure began when we arrived back home...
On opening the front door, we were greeted by our fabulous hall plant, albeit somewhat the worse for wear:
On closer inspection, it appeared to have taken the form of an arrow pointing up to the poor clock above, as if to say, “And I’m not the only one who’s stopped ticking in your absence”.
No big deal, I thought. I’ll replace the clock battery later, and I never liked that plant much, anyway. Needless to say, however, the worst was yet to come...
The kitchen absolutely stank; the bin had been burnt to death; the steaks in the fridge had merged into a singular cow pat formation (and would doubtless have attracted millions of visitors if this were the Tate Gallery); four half-empty milk cartons stood proudly by the door; ten beach towels had been stuffed into the washing machine; a pristine yet cracked crystal wine glass sat all alone in the dishwasher; and some mysterious “hang your head here” leads had popped out invitingly behind the extractor fan:
Could have been worse, I kidded myself, as we proceeded to inspect the remains of our home... The whole of the bathroom had been converted into a gigantic clothes basket: every single garment that had ever been bought or worn in the last 20 years had been put out for urgent washing. Cardboard tubes decorated the toilet; empty shampoo and gel bottles adorned the shower.
As if all of this weren’t enough, our living room had been converted into an impromptu Play Station Exhibition Centre; the kids’ bedrooms looked like Paintball Parks; and my car keys had disappeared... as indeed had my car.
Well, that was five days ago, and we’re still tidying up the mess (and looking for my car); not to mention still unpacking the 50-kilogram suitcase that my wife painstakingly packed for our mini mountain tour. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I know how lucky I am to have so many jobs to keep me busy when I could be wasting my time and money down the pub.
‘What's that bag doing in the hall?’
‘I mean, Why did you leave it there?’
‘I had to leave it somewhere, Daddy.’
‘Is it your gym bag?’
‘And are the clothes for washing?’
‘So why don't you put the clothes in the washing basket?’
‘Because you always do it for me, Daddy.’
‘Well, I'm not going to do it this time.’
‘And what about that rucksack?’
‘What about it, Daddy?’
‘Well, can't you take it to your bedroom?’
‘What for? I'm going to need it tomorrow.’
‘Do you have an answer for everything, darling?’
‘Yes, Daddy. When will dinner be ready?’
‘Soon. And don't change the subject.’
‘Don't do too much for me. I'm not very hungry. Did you remember to buy Coke?’
‘What about those trainers? Do you have to leave them there?’
‘I always leave them there, Daddy.’
‘Yes, I know. Everybody else leaves their shoes in the shoe cupboard.’
‘Anything else, Daddy?’
‘No, just shoes.’
‘Never mind. Just make sure you’ve tidied this all up before Mummy gets home.’
‘When’s Mummy coming home?’
‘Oh, we’ve got plenty of time, Daddy! Can you smell something burning?’ . . .
fifty shades of Spain, 22, "Everything I Do, I Do It For You"
After much stumbling, grumbling, and fumbling, Colin finally emerged at the top. Holy Jackson! The first thing that caught his eye was the ambitiously entitled “Monument to JB”. It was one of these modern affairs, consisting of three massive stone cubes, balanced precariously one on top of the other, with the one-metre cube at the bottom, the two-metre cube in the middle, and the three-metre cube at the top. By Colin’s calculations, Jackson’s Bollocks came to about 36 cubic metres. It must have taken the “artist” about 36 seconds to design, 36 weeks to make and 36 years to persuade his mates to help him lug his giant-friendly building blocks up the bleeding hill. And he probably charged the Council 36,000 pounds for his efforts. Plus expenses. Oh, and don’t forget the handling fee.
Most modern art left Colin feeling hollow; he couldn’t help feeling he was being taken for a ride. On the other hand, he very much envied those people who were able to get genuine pleasure from looking at dead rabbits, wavy green lines, and bowls of corn flakes. Of course, he envied even more those people who were able to make their fortunes from exhibiting dead rabbits, painting wavy green lines, and putting corn flakes in bowls. ‘If you think putting corn flakes in a bowl and then getting some poor sod to pay to look at your stupid bowl is so easy, Colin, why don’t you do it yourself?’ There was no answer to that. Bastards.
dayrealing, Chapter 40, “Fountain Of Sorrow”