Monday, 30 May 2011

No other ending

Candidate for Golden Grit Award, Worst Day of May.

There was no other outcome, really. Early on I recognised the signs - long before Tiger locked herself in her bedroom, and Shark and Squirrel traded emotionally wounding insults before locking horns and attempting a duel to the death. So hurtful were these preliminary battle words that if they were practical weaponry they would be banned as cruel instruments of torture. Kebab skewers, say, additionally laced with an electric current, then stabbed slowly under your fingernails. That sort of torture.

But I knew it would happen. It was a day lost from the start. I woke up sad and that was that. Maybe it was the result of a dream sequence involving a slipped Mr Softee ice cream, pure sweet delight lost forever against the hard pavement, and maybe a delicious bottle of always desirable Pouilly Fume, shattering against the ground, soaked away forever and never coming back.

Anyway, at some point in the afternoon I had a big shout and went to Bletchley. All the other options had run out.

My first option - the one booked for us to attend, the one I had foolishly anticipated - was a fantastic geology tour of Buckinghamshire. It was cancelled.

I looked for an alternative, but the endeavour was doomed. Luton's carnival, which would have been a riot, probably. To the south, Queen Victoria's army. To the north, Medieval peasantry. I couldn't be bothered to drive to either. The local museum had an insect day where you could take a snail for a walk. That sounded promising, but last time I brought a general air of disappointment to the proceedings when I stood on the snail.

So I ignored how Bletchley carries a name that sounds like the actual process of vomiting, and I drove Shark and Squirrel, separated by an electric fence, to their bank holiday day out.

Like I said, Tiger was not a problem. She locked herself in her bedroom and refused to come out.

Here then is Bletchley Park - inside, because by now it was pissing down - and their tableaux of family life 1940, looking a lot like our house. We amused ourselves by locating the bits of furniture we own thanks to a dead grandmother.

When I tired of that game, I photographed the prohibition notices. More fun than weeping.

Outside, in the rain, Bletchley Park was having a fun 1940s festival, where all the reenactors hid to escape the downpour and Glenn Miller was never going to lift my spirits.

I would show you a photograph of the events, which we missed thanks to our late arrival, but by the time I remembered about a visual record, I was already soaked to the skin and had almost lost the will to go on. Had it not been for the need to go home and rescue Tiger, I might have sunk to the ground forever and never stood up again.

By the evening, there seemed little to do but end the day appropriately; by having a big self-pitying cry with snot, mis-shapen mouth and bloodshot eyeballs and everything. It was a moment elevated slightly by spying a moth on the ceiling, which necessitated climbing on the table to smack it with a shoe. Attractive, no? It is fitting I feel, on this particular anniversary day.