Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Part the First: Drinkshedcatfingerknee
I am ecstatic, happier than I have been since 25 May 2005 : "Lets go dancing!" I say to RHB. She looks at me. It is not a look, it is The Look. Its two hours since I got back from hospital and her patience for the roles I have allocated - jokey patient flirting with sexy, but deeply sympathetic nurse - evaporated about one hour forty seven minutes ago.
I recently observed that every good story should have a beginning, middle and an end, just not necessarily in that order. Aside from the brilliant originality of the phrase, it is also true of this post. The initial paragraph fits right at the end. The last few weeks, as the title implies, have been enough of a corruscating blur anyway, so I will return to the start-ish, and use visual aides to relive boredom. I will not however, as one of my lecturers did, attempt without irony to represent the modularity of the brain using images derived from phrenology.
It starts with drink. Persons, including Joey Mac, Suzie-Woosie, Ethers and the Artist Still Known as Christine, Great Margaret and the Legal Eagle attended Large Mansions from 27th December until about 2nd Jan to celebrate New Year. The first to arrive were Sally Stone, a spinster of the parish of Mansfield who came as an associate of Will AKA Braingrass, the dangerous revolutionary. As usual, anything to do with Sally and Will became complicated as soon as quantum reality realized that those individuals were contemplating doing anything practical. The theory that RHB and I share in relation to Will and Sally is that his philosophical thinkings on reality has so annoyed it at some point in the past that it now goes to great lengths to prove its impossibility by making simple plans become unbelievably complicated whenever the opportunity presents.
Hence a simple plan, involving about an hour of time, to pick them up from Doncaster in the rental car we hired for the period became a four hour interactive experience because en-route from Hull, the washer fluid in the car became exhausted. I pulled into a garage just off the highway and popped the trunk to access the spare washer fluid that RHB and I had wisely purchased, given conditions of snow and ice and filthy gritty sludge reducing visibility. To my surprise, it was not there, and, I found out later, had been moved by RHB from where it might be usefully used (in the car)to where it might be neatly stored (in the house). I cheerfully purchased another 5 litres at a seasonally inflated price of EIGHT pounds (equivalent to about sixteen dollars!) and headed back the car.
It soon became obvious that it was entirely unobvious how the hood (and therefore the washer reservoir) was accessed. I searched for twenty minutes, becoming more un-ontime as time passed and utterly failed. I asked customers and staff at the garage, but no-one was familiar with the car and groups of men gathered round, helpfully discussing, in time honoured fashion, how utterly stupid the design of the car I had rented was. In ManSpeak this actually translates as a commentary on (my) virility, probable state of worklessness and general lack of judgement under a paradigm that hypothesises overall inadequacy of persons who do not own cars. The discussion also provided a few men, who perhaps should have had "SMUG BASTARD" tattoed on their foreheads, how the two inches of snow on the ground utterly vindicated their purchase of an SUV.
Eventually, I took a decision to proceed, so I bought three bottles of water (seasonally inflated due to transport difficulties) and set off. At intervals, I pulled over and used the water to clean the screen. Eventually, I arrived in Doncaster. Another search ensued, this time comprising Sal's friends and accompanied by a Google search, which was hindered by Will's complete lack of familiarity with motor vehicles. Five of the finest brains in Doncaster failed to solve the puzzle. Fortunately, a deep, moist fog was beginning to descend, which imparted enough moisture to the screen to allow the wipers to be effective. We set off back to Hull. Partially as a reward for their patience, I decided to treat Will and Sal to a scenic diversion across the second biggest suspension bridge in the world, which was, of course, entirely shrouded in fog.
Eventually, we did arrive back in Hull much to the cats utter delight. The cats, it should be mentioned, were so delighted with the presence of visitors that they spent long periods gazing out of windows, apparently with the intention of reflecting on how happy they were to share their favourite sleeping places
Guests arrived thick and fast. Joey Mac turned up at Hull's Paragon Rail Station after a heroic eight hour train journey looking sharp, fresh and almost Scottish. Joe's partner, Anna,was in Russia and was missed, so we commemorated her absence by drunkenly arguing about a topic she knows infinitely more about than we did. This made us miss her more, so we changed the topic of argument in an effort to make Sal faint through anger. Joe and I toasted Tom, and I did reflect that given that everyone present could be regarded as eccentric in one way or another, he would have fitted in perfectly.
Chris, Sue and Ethan came and we ate and talked, drank and argued, laughed and drank and cooked and cooked and cooked. We discussed global economics and RHB's new political enthusiasm, music through Sal's brilliant Japanese speed punk, football with Ethan and art with Christine. We went to bed later and later. Walks were taken, visits were made. Movies were watched, mostly bad, to cater to mine and Ethan's terrible taste(Prince of Persia). The house has a habit of forming a happy bubble round people that gather in it, so that when we heard JJ's party - the ostensible highlight of the visit - had been cancelled due to illness, I was almost relieved, because while JJ's parties are great I didnt want to leave the bubble.
However, this neighbourhood, not just this house, is also great so when a neighbour offered us a place at their party, the gang decamped four houses along for a few hours. In truth, it was not the best party in the world, but the chorus of Auld Lang Syne initiated by someone was the best I have heard for years - not the nervous limp hand-joining of people who are stranger and happy to remain so, but the enthusiastic bawling of a neighbourhood where people genuinely like eachother.
After it was all over, and even Nel had gone back to work, I sat in the highest room at the back of the house. It was ridiculously quiet for a while, then a plaintive miaowing started, interspersed with a pathetic series of "Meeps". It was urgent, and insistent and distracting from my work, so I followed the noise and found the cats. Their behaviour was very strange. Tosh, his actions copied by Meepy(calli), was wandering round the rooms where people had slept, pacing the perimeter of each room miaowing very loudly, then running into the next room and doing the same. Meepy was trying to copy him ,but because she is terrible at miaowing just started running round excitedly, jumping on and off beds. Realising I felt the same, I got one more drink, the last of the whisky and went round the house and toasted everyone who had visited this year. Thanks, cheers and Slante to you all.
Posted by MJN at 22:14