Monday, 28 July 2008

Chez Why?

I paid a short but long-overdue visit to the parental home this weekend.

On arrival at Chez Parentals I found the spot on the driveway where I would normally park my car taken by Dr Why? The Elder's car, which appeared to be enjoying a short break from the garage whilst the sunshine was out. I was therefore forced to park on the substantially less prime real estate next to the bins, under the trees where the birds nest, sing, bathe and crap. Mostly crapping. But that didn't matter, as I planned to wash the car the following day (and add oil, screenwash, coolant and generally do all the things to the car which it's not that easy to do in the confined parking conditions which Hammersmith provides, and without the aid of a hosepipe).

Having made my way to the back garden where I suspected my folks would be enjoying the sunshine, Dr Why? The Elder greeted me with, "Hello! Are you hot? Do you need cooling off? Stand here, look, we've got a new attachment. Stand here, here." Dr Why? The Elder then turned on the tap to which a hosepipe was attached and aimed a fine (and extremely welcome) mist of water in my direction, whilst laughing delightedly. It was only after this happened that I understood the string of words which had greeted me. After four hours of sitting in a non-air-conditioned car on a stinkingly hot day (after two outings in stinking and dehydrating heat), I wasn't going to complain about a minor drenching. In fact, I had been gagging for a cold shower (or a stay in the Ice Hotel) since Heston Service station. I don't know what it was about my appearance that enabled Dr Why? The Elder to read my needs so readily, but I assume it's something to do with being genetically related. That or the profusion of sweat emanating from my pores. Even from the backs of my hands.

Following a change of clothes, I was given a couple of glasses of wine, the customary tour of the garden and was fed. I got fed a lot, and a huge amount of protein, courtesy of two barbecues in under 24 hrs. I also noticed that any surplus food was channelled in my direction to eat up. (I'm a growing girl, don't you know?). This may explain how I ended up as the substantial being that I am. I certainly don't recall ever going hungry whilst in the care of my folks...

A bottle of bubbly to wet the head of the new hip later, the day was done. It had been a good one. I crawled into bed with a slightly spinning head and a large bottle of water to keep me company. A full bottle of tepid water, a fuzzy head and a mouth like a badger's arse welcomed me into the next day. I wandered into the kitchen and thought about getting myself some breakfast. I then thought the better of it:

On any return to the parental home, I invariably find that some of 'the rules' have changed - things such as whether or not onion skins go in the compost, or which end of the fridge door the open bottle of milk lives at. Or whether or not socks get ironed. All relatively unimportant things which nevertheless enable me to wreak havoc by putting tea bags in the wrong compost bin or poisoning the worms by feeding them peppers (or maybe the worms get the peppers and the tea bags go into the other compost...) Either way, it's sufficient to make me apologise for not having the mental flexibility to cope, and instead leaving tea bags on the kitchen counter. I know that this is also the wrong thing to do, but getting it wrong and leaving things for Dr Why? The Elder to sort out is also the lowest energy route to achieving the correct outcome. (I seem to get away with this line of argument provided I don't outstay my welcome (which is defined as the period for which it is socially acceptable for me to be excused from learning the amendments to 'the rules'.)) Making breakfast is therefore fraught with hidden dangers, for example: Perhaps the rules on egg freshness have changed and the ones to use first and now on the right of the fridge door. Or maybe one cereal is reserved for Mr Why? Senior?, being the only thing he feels like on a bad day. Bread is another minefield. Well, obviously, it's not a minefield. It's a loaf of bread. But it's enough to persuade me to wait for a few minutes to be offered breakfast by Dr Why? The Elder.

A bit of shopping later (with sufficient purchasing of bargains to justify my expenditure on diesel in getting myself up to Sheffield) there was time for a spot of lunch and a small amount of being useful (moving heavy bags of bird seed into a rat-proof bin and stabilising large chunks of tree whilst Mr Why? Senior hacked them into woodturning-sized chunks with an overgrown carving knife). It was rather lovely to see My Why? Senior in his element. Well, relatively in his element - getting around on crutches, BBQ-ing, chopping up tree trunks and making plans for woodturning and holidays. It also pleased me greatly to see Dr Why? The Elder enjoying a day off work, even if she did choose to use some of it to wash my car for me. I can think of better ways to spend a holiday. Mind you, they don't include four hours in a non-air-con'ed car in scorching heat - maybe I need to work on my holidaying style, as well...

3 comments:

Rob Clack said...

We went to Sutton Hoo. Not quite the trek as London to Sheffield, but 90 mins just as hot.

I turned on the aircon in my new, superwhizzo car, and it blew a feeble waft (draft would be an exaggeration) of tepid air at me. After half an hour, it had made no difference.

It's booked in tomorrow for them to check both the aircon and the intruder alarm.

Cars! Who'd have'em?

Sounds like your dad's making good progress.

But Why? said...

Rob,
With fuel prices as they are, I think a valid answer to your question about car ownership is "Fewer people than was previously the case." Car ownership seems to be an increasing burden - unless the BBC have got their facts completely wrong (and what are the chances of that?), I understand people are now finding themselves with negative equity in their (new, superwhizzo?) cars.

Fortunately my car is not at home to the depreciation demons, having already depreciated to being almost as cheap as chips (particularly with food prices as they are...). I do forgive it not having air onditioning, though, as it has the most comfortable driving position of any car I've driven and leaves me free of the limiting more-than-one-hour-behind-the-wheel-induced knee pain and back pains which I used to get on any lengthy drive. I now just pretend I'm in a hot room at the Turkish baths when I'm stuck in the car on a hot day.

Both parents seem very pleased with the new hip. Dad is piloting it most expertly around the house, and my mother seems most relieved that the op appears to have been a success!

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