Tomorrow, Peeple are coming round. Worse, I invited them.
For this sorry state of affairs, I blame the children. I suspect they have become intoxicated by a character in a book, like an eccentric Great Aunt Laura. She will be an ancient of a woman, smelling of man's cologne and dressing in Edwardian black lace. It wouldn't surprise me if she conjured up all manner of excitement at Christmas, like decking halls with holly, lighting wax candles, smoking cigars, and dispensing cheese. Naturally my impressionable offspring expect the same thing round here.
Well, we will all feel sadly disappointed tomorrow.
While Great Aunt Laura will live in an inviting mansion with seductive turrets, winding staircases, and faded red velvet curtains that hide locked oak doors, I live in a house that is a practical demonstration of the laws of chaos theory and entropy.
And, unlike Great Aunt Laura, I have to consider practicalities. When Peeple visit me, I have to think, What if they need to use a toilet?
I bet that moment doesn't happen in Laurel Towers. When the children disappear into the turreted room and the door slams shut, I bet everyone has a great lark of an adventure, creeping round passages and discovering concealed treasure. I bet at no point does anyone say, I'm busting. Where's your toilet?
Of course it will happen here. I could direct them downstairs, to the cellar bathroom. The tiles fell off in 2000-and-something and the shower stopped working and another problem, but I can't remember what. Suffice to say, the solution was costly and expensive, so let's find another bathroom to use.
Unfortunately, the original bathroom (it's complicated) is now a cupboard. I tip the hamster cleaning fluids in the bath, and I have wedged pieces of wood over the top to serve as shelves, in the spirit of There, I Fixed It. On my improvised bathroom shelf system I stack Shark's fish buckets, all home-made calligraphy ink from boiled onions, and the river stones that Squirrel collects to grind up slate. The vacuum cleaner sits on the toilet.
Of course if people were brave, they could attempt the toilet at the back of the house. They would have to squeeze safely by the pipe cleaner construction in the schoolroom which resembles a scale model of a nuclear power station, then they must pass through
If none of these celebrations of bathroom artistry appeal, I could always direct Peeple upstairs. Not to the middle of the house, which we do not own, but the attic, which we do. In the attic is another bathroom which is okay but the flush broke, so until it's sorted, fill a bucket from the bath.
I suppose if it all fails, we could knock at the neighbours, and ask to use their toilet. There might be a slight problem with that plan, in that one of the Peeple coming round is in the middle of a taking them to court, so we might not get the positive response we hope for. In which case, I will feel justified in telling everyone to piss in their privet.
Now, having written all the sordid details of our bathroom failures, I cannot help but think that inviting Peeple round is not a disaster in the making, but a jolly good idea.
Once they are all here and bursting for a wee I could detain them until I have extracted a fiver from each of them to go towards the cost of bathroom repairs, and in this way turn my Christmas Entertaining Event into a type of Bathroom Charity Appeal.
I bet Great Aunt Laura would approve of that plan. I will take a leaf from her book, and also dispense cheese.