Saturday, 30 December 2006

We are hospitable

Aunty Dee has arrived. All moving of furniture and books is temporarily suspended. Instead, we are doing hospitality.

First stop, remind her how delightful our children are by leaving her alone with them for two hours while I learn how to use the ipod that Dig gave me for Christmas. Aunty Dee is very good at being alone with the triplets because she is slightly deaf, so this helps her endure the volume. Unfortunately she's very bad at picking up the warnings of impending fights. She doesn't hear Tiger chanting 'I hate Shark' incessantly because Shark doesn't respond. Until Shark does respond, of course, by suddenly exploding and giving Tiger a massive slap around the head, at which point Tiger retaliates by howling and attacking Shark's fluffy unicorn with a pair of scissors. Shark now owns a unicorn with its horn cut off. Aunty Dee's sewing lesson didn't go too well after that. I suggested she tried a knitting lesson next.

Second stop, do hospitality by baking potatoes. This is not as simple as it sounds since the oven door fell off in 2004, and I like to think that baking potatoes with the addition of a towel and a bit of shatterproof glass shows real thought about someone else's dining pleasure. I have to manoevre the shatterproof glass with my foot, so the soles of my feet are routinely melted when we bake potatoes. Dig said he would mend this, of course, like the window, or the sockets, door handles, garage door, kitchen vent, downstairs toilet, leaking tap, running cistern, bathroom taps and kitchen plumbing.

Third stop on the hospitality run is the bedding. We now have a total of 18 duvets in the house since Dig raided the family pile at the time of the house clearance, and used them for padding the contents of the van so they didn't rattle around at 80 mph on the M1. So although we have enough duvets now, they're all different sizes and none of the bedding matches, which means that a king-size duvet inside a barely-single bed cover doesn't look too good. But to her credit she's not complained about the Thomas the Tank Engine pillowcase either.

So we're all set up, being hospitable, and not moving furniture, for New Year's Eve. I'd like to say we have been invited to a dozen parties, some of course would be close friends and others would be of the Melvyn Bragg-type celebrity-list. For a woman who once met Melvyn Bragg and spoke rubbish, this latter invitation isn't likely. And the fact that we don't have many friends and the trendy ones we did have deserted us when the triplets arrived, means we don't have any invitations from any friends either.

And a final word about that ipod. Probably along with everyone else in the UK, the idea that Gordon Brown carries the Arctic Monkeys about on his playlist is fooling nobody. He should just tell the world the truth, like me, and admit to Paul Simon. And I predict that carrying an ipod around will in time become as deeply unfashionable as wearing a baseball cap back to front. This is because middle-aged people like me are wandering around a post-Christmas Tesco all plugged into our ipods, listening to Paul Simon.

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