Sunday, 24 December 2006

Bad day

I've electrocuted myself. I knew things were going too well. So now it's back to normal. There's this plug, at ankle height, and it's wiggled free. And I stuck a metal pan lid in it. I was holding the lid at the time, naturally. I think there must be better ways of checking whether the trip works.

So I ring up Dig. He's taken Shark off to Waitrose to get the booze. Fortunately he is concerned, and asks if I have any burn marks, so there is hope for our marriage. He says he was just getting back in the car to come home. Shark says she's going to be sick. He's tried to persuade her to stay in Waitrose, but no, she wants to be sick in the car. Twenty minutes later she staggers in, is sick in spectacular fashion into Doctor Dig's home-made sick bucket, which is a plastic bag inside a Waitrose wine box, and then she passes out on the sofa. It'll all stand her in good stead for the teenage years.

But it's back to a normal Christmas for us: Dig eating baked beans on his own for Christmas dinner while I have gastroenteritus downstairs; the two weeks we live in a hotel above a bus station in KL with a near-miss on Dengue Fever, and then last year: Squirrel comes down with chickenpox after getting out of bed, Shark and Tiger follow. So the electrocution and vomiting on Christmas Eve are par for the course, really.

And I still have the food thing to crack. I'm aiming for Tesco one hour before it closes in a spirit of enterprise. I could argue that I've been in training all year. It'll be 10p time around 3.15 when everything fresh, and stale, is marked down. I have strategies for this, depending on who's doing the mark-down job. With Yasser, it's the eagle approach: I hide behind pillars then jump out and swoop down on the 10p trolley and shovel 15 boxes of organic tomatoes in my basket. With Laura, it's the limpet: I stick to her, monopolising her time and her ticket machine, talking about how the children love runner beans and putting in my order for the crate. And if no-one's there but the pensioners, I do a lot of bending down, as I find that the enormous amount of room that my bottom takes up clears a wide circulating space around me which allows me to get out my elbows and hit the lower shelves for the raspberries.

I know we're not alone though. Pastry made a final appearance to say good bye and give us all a card, and she said her van had been broken into while it was outside and a suitcase of clothes and jewellery stolen. Hey, it's Christmas in our town, and the police are par for the course too.

Now think of us, and your Christmas worries won't seem half so bad. Merry Christmas!

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