The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Friday, 10 September 2010

Shall we Join the Ladies?

Egregious grovelling to all my faithful readers for leaving you in the lurch until this late in the day. You must have been puzzled why you felt so incomplete, cheated and strangely at a loss, then realised it was because you hadn't yet read today how Goldenoldenlady had frittered away her waking hours yesterday.

Yeah, RIGHT!

Last night I went to bed very early, considering we had A Visitor. Whom I had invited. I was pretty tired after the unseemly excesses of housework (tidying AND cleaning, upstairs AND downstairs), but that wasn't the overriding reason. It was because there were two of them and only one of me. Two Men, that is. I suppose had no oomph left to struggle against such uneven odds. So at 8.30pm I sloped off only half-apologetically to watch mindless TV, leaving the Husband and The Visitor to amuse themselves as only men can. This involved quite a lot of alcohol, a sci-fi DVD, a laptop, another gadget or two just for back up and a great deal of testosterone-induced natterage characterised by abbreviations to initial letters, a liberal scattering of serial numbers and a in-depth discussion of working parts.

Within seconds of The Nephew's arrival yesterday afternoon, after the customary enquiries after everyone's health and the offering of liquid refreshment (oh! and the usual route discussion explaining just how the new arrival managed to navigate the M-ways and A-ways of the Home Counties to reach us at all) the two of them were at it like knives taking about weapons. Yes, WEAPONS. Many and various killing machines. With great enthusiasm and a rather disturbing level of practical and applied knowledge.

I should explain (in case you think, Gosh! That Goldenoldenlady woman is a Gangsta's Bitch, I'm not sure I want to be reading this) that The Husband and The Visitor, although separated by 30 odd (very odd, in The Husband's case) years have both served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. The Husband was in the TA for five years as an in anti-tank gunner and The Vistor, my youngest nephew, was visiting us whilst on leave from the Royal Navy where he intends to do the whole darn defending-the-nation slog of twenty-three years. He's not quite twenty-one, but will be in a couple of weeks, and yet has already done two tours of duty maintaining and arming Harriers in Afghanistan on secondment to the RAF. He joined up as a cadet - a mere boy of sixteen.

The topic of weapons, like everything else they discussed throughout the evening (computers, phones, cameras, yadda yadda), involved an awful lot of letters and numbers and had me turning from one interlocutor to the other as though watching ping-pong, absolutely flummoxed. At one point I perked up at hearing an abbreviation I thought I recognised. Bursting with enthusiasm at being given even half a chance to say something apart from "What's one of those?" I opened my mouth to speak , only to realise in the nick of time that an SLR is not only a Single Lens Reflex (camera) but a Self-Loading Rifle.

I slumped back in my seat deflated and close my mouth again.

You can't beat 'em and you sure as hell don't want to join 'em, I thought. I was outnumbered by greater forces, outgunned and ill-equipped. There would be nothing for it but to sound the retreat.

I decided to do what any well-brought-up, feminine, sophisticated, domesticated woman would do. I cooked them a huge curry, set a nice table, and plied them with good red wine. At the end of the meal I offered them coffee in the happy expectation of a refusal thereof, and did half the washing up with a request for them to finish the rest before bed. A hundred years ago I'd have gracefully and happily swished off with a rustle of silk into the drawing room to embroider nicely leaving the gentlemen to their port and cigars and billiards. Being born a century too late for my natural disposition instead I high-tailed it up to milady's boudoir to sprawl out and - as it were - loosen my stays. That is, get into my PJs and sink myself soothingly into any half-way entertaining TV programme I could find which looked a dead cert not to have an explosion or a firearm in it.

I dozed off just after Medium finished, but stirred later upon hearing a loud eruption of chummy manly laughter from down the stairs. A glance at the clock showed it was climbing towards midnight.

They seem to be getting along well, I mused drowsily. That's rather nice. Then I slept, a deep and refreshingly silent sleep, until well into the middle of the following morning.

When he and I had eventually both got up and come downstairs (The Husband having dutifully already risen and left a couple of hours earlier to earn our daily crust) The Nephew said they had polished off two more bottles after I'd left them to it, watched the DVD with many pauses for conversation and finally ended up playing World of Warcraft in the study until 1.15am. The very thought of it had me feeling like gnawing my own arm off to the elbow.

So a great time had been had by all. I was so pleased I hadn’t made the strategic error of trying to spend any longer with them than politeness – what I like to think of as my unfailing instinct for etiquette and good form – dictated. I set about making coffee and fixing breakfast, smilingly congratulating myself for being such a great military tactician.

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