20 April 2006

Of time and socks

I remember a time when time lasted forever. Sundays particularly seemed to stretch into an infinity of boredom. Something happened, though. I must have wasted time, or spent it all, because it’s gone. There is no time for lazing around, no time for reading novels, not enough time for my work, no time at all for housework. Nights are gone in the blink of an eyelid, and days are over before they start. I still manage to steal some time, from an unknown source. I snatch a little here and there for Ice Age 2 with the Little One, or some long tea drinking with the Older Ones. Kate Thompson wrote a novel about some fairy people stealing time from our world, but I’m not sure I buy that; the kids and I think there is a locked room somewhere, probably in an alternate universe, where everything we ever lost could be found. The Big Sister’s black pebble, the Very Big Sister’s ring, the Little One’s lightsaber (don’t ask), the Big Brother’s keys (although they occasionally visit our universe, only to leave again), one million and five odd socks, and time. I have lost time, if you find it, please send it back.

13 April 2006

A tale of water and dust

One night last week, I decided that The Little One was in dire need of a bath. The bath, however, was blocked, and rather than wait for Mr. Seldom to wield the plunger, I dived in (metaphorically only); kids in the kitchen started screaming "whatever you're doing, stop it!" It was raining in the kitchen, no soft April shower, but real monsoon rains. A plumber was called; he said he'd be in soon; he wasn't; he rang to say his van broke down. Do they not teach them better lies at plumbers' school? Another plumber was called; he came and looked and said "that's a big job; we need to cut the ceiling in the kitchen to reach the problem". Great, I thought. Plumbing and mayhem for Easter; then again in the summer, when we had planned a major facelift for the aging and decrepit bathroom. Decisive we were. The Big Job. The plumber was (miraculously) available, as well as his friends the builder, the electrician and the tiler.

Which leads me to today, the second day in our lives with Luke the Australian builder, Dave his Irish sidekick, and the newly acquired Ed the taciturn carpenter. John and Robbie the plumbers won't be with us until Tuesday, for the grand opening. In the meantime, we wash in the downstairs washand basin, or the sink if we feel brave. The whole house is decorated in a fetching coating of dust, and the smell of new plaster permeates the air.

Today, I gave in, rang my SIL and drove to her house for a shower. I am clean, and happy. My bathroom is neither, but it will be wonderful next week...

04 April 2006

Happy roundabouts

I recently heard a puzzling sentence in a conversation : « They know I’m gay as a roundabout. » I thought and thought, and various explanations came to mind; first, it could be a very culture-specific reference, understandable to those more versed in gay culture than I am; then, the image of the Magic Roundabout came to mind with Florence the boring girl (in my memories anyway), Dougal the orange dog and Zebedee the strange bouncing character; and I thought, yes, happy, funny roundabout, so gay in a roundabout way. But neither explanation was satisfactory. I asked around me, unsuccessfully. Then, the Very Big Sister came home and laughed at my ignorance. The expression, apparently, is “straight as a roundabout”, and was obviously changed by the speaker. I like his version better, and think it should be adopted by all.