Today is all about timing. It’s not going to be easy, getting it right.
Not one, but two of Mr B’s Footie teams
are in action on the TV this afternoon. Why have one set of hopes raised, I might say, when you could have two? Double the stress, double the agony, double the celebration if everything goes well, double the despair in the case of failure.
For some readers, the whole idea of lending utter support, in good times and bad, to a football team, might seem strange - but there it is. Often it’s because the person concerned
was taken to a match by a football supporting friend or relative and just fell into supporting that team aver after. Prince William, I understand, supports Aston Villa for just such a reason: “I thought he was a football supporter!” jibes Mr B.
Sorry, Your Highness, but you doubtless understand and won’t take offence, Footie fan that you are. Young Faris, Youngest of our grandsons, recently declared his support for Chelsea FC and I wondered what his grandad would have to say about that - but
Mr B took it pretty well, all things considered, saying he was just pleased to hear our young’un was embracing the Beautiful Game. It might have been a different matter, had he decided to support Arsenal...
So, this afternoon it was Tottenham Hotspur taking the field against Middlesborough, while at 6 p.m. it will be Gillingham versus West Ham. This means that I shall have to have our Sunday dinner on the table sharp at 5.30
p.m. so that we can have polished it off before the second kick-off of the day. It’s going to be tight but I reckon I can do it...
Except that I am also
engaged in taking down the decorations and writing the last of my Christmas thank you letters without distracting Mr B’s attention from the action on the pitch. Because we have just the one living room, this won’t be the easiest of tasks. Dismantling
the seasonal display on the mantelpiece will be particularly tricky, because it will mean standing between Mr B and the TV and more or less blocking his view completely. I think I might get away with it at half-time, depending on whether the TV pundits are
talking sense or nonsense. My money is on the latter - but what do I know?
I have added another Time Related Variable by deciding that I will break up the chore
of taking down the greetings cards, dismantling the Christmas tree in all its twigginess, and packing up the fifty-plus precious baubles with which it has been decorated by allowing myself time out to write two thank you letters at a time. This, I reason,
will prevent Repetitive Strain Injury caused by too much scribbling. It will also provide me with more thinking time in which to decide how best to pack everything up to make transfer into the loft a bit easier than transfer out of the loft proved to be.
I make a start on removing the lines of cards even before the kick-off in the first of the two matches. A medium-sized spider emerges from nowhere and scuttles across the
floor. Mr B advises me to “step on it” but I just know he isn’t talking about me getting a move on. I capture the eight legged one under a glass and gently slide a card with Father Christmas on the front (all cheery red and snowy-bearded)
underneath to trap it. The spider, not Father Christmas, don’t be silly! The spider shrinks into itself, possibly traumatised by the Man in Red. I deposit the poor thing in the back garden where it appears to be considering how best to get back indoors.
How lucky it is that these days I am in charge of Spider Disposal, not Mr B! Not that I am expecting any appreciation, you understand but, as my dear Mum always said: “If you wish to live and thrive / let a spider run alive.” That one was for you,
The first match is over (could have been worse, could have been better) and I have twenty minutes to get dinner on the table. I have done reasonably
well on my Christmas Dismantling Project though there are still a number of baubles to be wrapped in what Young Morgan used to call “popping paper” and packed away in their storage box. I have written six letters with three more to go and a couple
more e-cards to send. The living room looks like Steptoe’s Yard and the dining room table is covered with precious items to be carefully packed away - which must be done before we can sit down to eat our carefully timed Sunday Dinner.
The house looks so bare of beauty, devoid of decorations. I decide that I will leave my Christmas lights, shaped like a guiding star, still shining in my front window for all passers-by
to see. Star of wonder, star of light...
For one (more) night only...