Better out than in…?

Better out than in…?.

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Better out than in…?

My Grandad used to burp a lot at the dinner table. He did it in quite ostentatious and unabashed fashion, rather like a town crier declaring some urgent news.  He performed with full-throated vibrato and legato. It was a ribald coda to many a meal time, and whilst my Mother used to wince, Gran used to greet it with a quiet pride, as though it were almost tangible evidence of the sumptuousness of her sprouts. Or at the very least, a heartfelt compliment…

In a strange way, I viewed snoring in a similar vein. I thought it expressed some primal delight, in much the same way that my Grandad’s post prandial belch did. It was only when I married that it became evident that whilst I might have been wallowing blissfully in hoggish slumber, my wife wasn’t enjoying herself quite so much…

Lately, for no apparent reason, my snoring’s getting worse. I woke yesterday morning and rolled over to give my wife a peck. In my torpid state, it was a moment or two before I could deduce why I had a face-full of toes. It wasn’t evidence of some night of Kamasutric revelry. Oh no… My snoring had driven Mrs D down the other end of the bed during the night. The indignity of it…

But things are worse still. Not only is my snoring troubling my wife, who constantly elbows me in the ribs, ensuring I don’t get a decent night’s sleep either, my allegedly thunderous snoring is now waking the baby too… So it’s a perfect storm of collective insomnia. And whilst my snoring is shaking the bed, in our fatigued and fractious state, that’s about all that is… Much to the chagrin of the youthful and vivacious Mrs D…

To be honest, what with my unappealing nocturnal grunt-wheezing, and demand outstripping supply in the carnality stakes, I’m starting to feel a bit of a flop in the bedroom. The problem is, these days, having barely slept, having the cares of work weighing heavy and a dozen other concerns to boot, when I get into my bed, I really just want to sleep in it. Not only that, I feel I’m losing that spark of easy and seductive repartee that used to make me such a fatal swordsman in my years as a London buck…

My pillow talk these days is infected by the sort of pedestrian domestic concerns I never had when I was 25. Before I go to sleep, I invariably find myself chuntering a closing valedictory on the day’s woes. It’s like a reflexive unclenching of the anxiety muscle. I just can’t help it. My wife turns in earlier than I do, so not only do I normally disturb her as I struggle out of my clothes in the dark, I then apparently affect her with alarm and despondency by muttering about the VAT… Allegedly, it kills the moment. I can see how it might…

Interior: DM’s bedroom. Night:

DM climbs soundlessly into bed:

Mrs D (drowsily and seductively): “Hi darling…”

DM: “How long have those chipolatas been in the fridge?”

Mrs D: “What..?”

DM: “We’d better eat those chipolatas tomorrow. Before they go off…”

Mrs D: Pause.

DM: Pause.

Mrs D: “I think they’re the only chipolatas likely to go off in this house tonight. Goodnight…”

[That was just for illustrative purposes. And I can see my error now. In retrospect…]

But it is often said that sustaining the first flush of passion as one ploughs one’s comfy connubial furrow (or *ahem* doesn’t, as the case may be..) is tough. And I suppose it is, in a certain way. But only if you expect the rest of your married life to be like a first date repeated ad infinitum. Let’s face it, life’s not really like that. Just for starters, there’s no way I could get into those trousers now…

But married couples do fret endlessly about the glister of lust wearing thin… I think it’s just a matter of expectation management, to be honest. I mean, this is real life, with bills and dirty nappies, with busted boilers and parking tickets. Under these vexatious circumstances, the fact that familiarity alone doesn’t breed profound contempt is an absolute miracle.

I also think that people by and large live in a fantasy world conjured up by magazines and movies. They get married on a white beach in some Far flung flea pit and think the whole performance of the conjugal contract is going to be just as fantastical and fairytale. Well, it’s unlikely to be. And actually, that’s what draws you together. Closer than you were on your first date. Closer than you were on your honeymoon. And closer than people on the pages of Hello magazine…

But people just don’t get it. I mean, I was in Boots the other day, and I caught site of the condoms. Mint flavour condoms. I mean, come on, what do you want, a shag or an After Eight? I’m not saying start developing ‘crotch flavour’ or ‘sweaty jeans on a summer day flavour’, but come on, let’s disentangle the airbrushed, gold-plated, silicone enhanced, pine-scented fantasy from reality, eh? Let’s drop the lifestyle and come to terms with life.

But, you know what, I will concede that it doesn’t hurt to try to sustain a little mystery, a little respect and a little romance. I’m now making a positive effort not to call Mrs D, “Mummy”, for instance.

But just occasionally, the gorgeous cloak of romance does inevitably slip from the regal shoulder, dislodged by a perfidious belch at the dinner table. It’s entirely out of my hands, of course, being a sort of gastric legacy from my Grandfather. Perhaps over indulgence plays a part too, but Mrs D is an excellent cook, and I dare say she knows it’s just my way of saying thank you…

Thank you Mummy… I mean, Mrs D. And I promise I’ll serve something up soon…

Could I interest you in a little toad in the hole, perhaps..?

 

 

 

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The Mother of All Battles…

Sanctions never stopped this mummy's boy...

Sanctions never stopped this mummy’s boy…

It’s 17.00 on the eve of Mothers’ Day. The Garage Forecourt Flower Index is in steep decline, and many of the remaining blooms are battered and bruised – a conspicuous omen for the perceptive gentleman, and for new fathers in particular… Be advised, just because your wife is not your mother, she’s still a mother. Don’t get caught out…

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Club Class…

I had a dream last night. It was one of those blissful ones, where you feel infused with consummate inner contentment and don’t want to wake up. No, not that sort of dream… I was on a fat wage and flying home from the Middle East with a spring in my step and a light winter tan: I was riding the Gravy Express, and it was never going to hit the buffers…

I was back in the bosom Business Class being served champagne by tender and solicitous air stewardesses. I like air stewardesses. They’re forthright and stitched-up tight (that wasn’t supposed to rhyme, but I’m going with it). And they bring you food. And serve you drink. You’re their entire world, but they won’t let you shag them. They’ll bestow pretzels or lavish smoked almonds upon you, but there’s no chance of a high altitude knee-trembler in the galley… They’re attentive, obedient but entirely unavailable – which makes them all the more alluring. Like saucy aunties or Mme. Marinette the French supply teacher…

"Kleenex?"

“Kleenex?”

Anyway, back inside the gilded precincts of the dream, I’d been priority boarded and, drink in hand, was reclining magisterially in my capacious seat. The vexed and sweating proles were filing past with their hand-luggage as I agonised over the menu for the forthcoming four-course silver service supper. They felt my pain… As they reluctantly shuffled toward Steerage, their expressions were in turns envious and septic. I couldn’t hold their gaze. Not because I was crushed by bourgeois guilt, but because I was trying to find the button to call the strewardess for a refill of champers. On Royal Jordanian you had to drink champagne, firstly because it was free and would be rude not to, and more importantly because Muslims can’t mix a drink. It’s like asking Stevie Wonder to paint a rainbow.

My reverie ended abruptly as I struggled to downshift into second to get up a hill on the A259. An eleven year old 1.6 Astra just doesn’t have the torque of an Airbus 340. Since the battery had died last week there was no inflight entertainment either, as the radio now offered nothing but, “safe mode” and wouldn’t turn on. The only vocal accompaniment was the kids shrieking in the back like searing white noise. (They ought to have employed my children at Abu Ghraib…)

The car pre-dated the iPod and the CD, so it was with a little mental heel-click of delight, that I remembered that I was packing an old Tescos bag full of a Maxell C90 cassettes in the passenger foot well. I’d acquired them last week for one pound at the local carboot. (If you ever want to feel better about yourself and your life chances, by the way, go to a carboot sale: regard the children dressed like Latvian prostitutes, admire the vendors, gaping over a trestle with tongues lolling like offal in a butcher’s bucket, savour the aroma of mechanically recovered patties searing on a filthy grill… You soon feel pretty upwardly mobile, I can tell you.)

Anyway, I knew that somewhere in the bag of cassettes was The Best of Hall and Oates. In fact, if I’m honest, that’s why I bought it. ‘You can’t beat a bit of Hall and Oates to transport you into an invigorating day-glo world of up-tempo soul-rock fusion’, as I always say. I bade Mrs D root around in the bag for the choice melodies and she half-heartedly produced the tape. Quickly verifying the title, which was scrawled haphazardly in green biro, I slammed it into the cassette deck whilst shifting ostentatiously into third and flooring it.

"I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”

Someone had taped over Hall and Oates…

I’d forgotten about Wigfield… Not that I particularly wanted to be reminded.

We ground resignedly up the hill with “Saturday Night” blaring relentlessly from our tinny speakers. A dolly mixture hit me on the back of the head. I shifted back into second.

Economy Class…

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Here’s one I made earlier…

Three black jelly-babies and an admirer...

Three black jelly-babies and an admirer…

16 Princes Gate...

16 Princes Gate…

Having heard about Mrs Disappointed’s agonies trying to track down our daughter’s latest Christmas list, I was musing on what we’re going to do with the ton of pink mermaids, purple ponies and capacious doll’s houses that have already been discarded since last Yuletide. Having had a boy now, there’s not much scope for hand-me-downs… Or is there? On closer inspection, I think last year’s expensive pink doll’s house has, with a few modifications, potential to be a future favourite for the little lad – lick of white paint, bit of cotton wool billowing from the window, a black jelly baby on a string dangling off the roof: voila! Iranian Embassy siege!

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Agent Bodie…

Yesterday it was, “Lewis who?” Today, after years of obscurity, he’s the most celebrated actor in Britain. Only trouble is, he’s dead. Life’s cruel isn’t it…?

Rest in Peace, Lewis Collins…

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Lewis Collins: Ci5, SAS, RIP…

Image 

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