Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Well the howler started crying Daddy, da-dee, DA-DEE at 6 0’clock which is late for her. So, as wife if still dead to the world, I pick her up and take her to the master bed and dump her next to wife hoping the latter will restrain the former. I go hunting for the dummy before things escalate. Find dummy, stick it in mouth of now sleeping infant and attempt to get back to sleep myself. Find extreme difficulty as normally 6 o’clock is my wake up time and my own personal internal clock has never heard of holidays. To help me along on my waking curve the howler, as usual, turns sideways in bed and with sharp little feet starts pushing and heel slamming to get extra space. Adds a little fart into the activies for good measure. Woozle turns pillow to stop howler falling out of bed and gets up into cold and dark. No I am not washing before dressing. Too cold.

An accurate inspection of the wardrobe this morning brings to light nothing suitable for the day other than more or less what I wore yesterday (and most of this year come to that) camo trousers, puple fleece, OD hoodie, pink fleece neck warmer, father Christmas hat (can’t find any others) and the crowning glory (but underneath of course), something I have been waiting to wear for a few weeks, granddaddy long-johns. Ahh the comfort. Ahh the warmth.

Thus attired I switch on the computer and go into kitchen to boil water for a coffee. Being a holiday no ryvita today, biscuits instead and nice, long hot coffee in new yellow mug. I peek outside but see no birds on the feeder as they are still sleeping. As usual computer does not load internet so have to restart the bloody thing three times by which time I’m thoroughly pissed off with it and raising a discreet middle finger at it I go forth to light the furnace. I have an I-pod full of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and joyfully bop myself towards to the door. Outside temperature minus 3, snow. I spy the dog grinning at me from warm kennel. I briefly visualise being greeted by friendly collie who adores me, does not jump up and follows me around rather than walking in front. Feel a little irked at not having one and raise finger to reclining dog. Slip on ice going down to woodshed. Dog giggles. More raised fingers. Load arms with logs and gingerly shuffle my way up to the furnace. Bang elbow on door whilst going in. Drop most of logs. Clean out furnace chamber of last nights ash and crud. I now have three huge buckets of ash removed from the furnace and have no place left to put the new hot ash, so in usual style tip it directly onto the floor and hope for best. Must remember to check whether we have fire insurance or not. This morning the furnace actually co-operates and lights first time. I sieve the ash to get all the charcoal out and bung that back in the furnace which helps with the lighting. Almost singe eyebrows because I opened the door too soon to check if it was going. The rushing and roaring sound should have averted me. Coughing and spluttering as usual following smoke inhalation I stagger out into snow like kwai chang caine after moving the urn with his forearms only to be assailed by dog with cold, wet tennis ball. It is still pitch black so I lob the slimy orb as far as I can down into the woods hoping get rid of the stupid critter for a few minutes. Before I’ve stopped coughing dog is back again. Ball is now warm and slimy. I take the ball throwing stick and lob it seventeen and a half kilometres west. Dog is back in under 30 seconds. Make mental note to change name of dog to Leech or Tardis.

After successfully lighting furnace and with light beginning to dawn over the snowy panorama I return to the abode and try to find something interesting to read on the internet. I just sit down when hear movement from bed room. The howler is awake. I proffer a cheek for a kiss. ‘Milk!’ it says.

‘Kiss first.’

‘Milk. Bimba’.

‘Kiss first.’

‘Mummy, milk.’ Slimeball.

‘No kiss no milk’. We do this every morning and I never get a kiss. What is the point of having a kid if you can’t even get a good morning kiss. Resign myself to a kiss-free day as usual and go to prepare milk. Marvel at the adhesive properties of milk whilst trying to get the top off the bottle I dragged out of the dishwasher. I hate the dishwasher and am tempted to kick it. After a fearsome struggle I manage to get the top off and open the tap to wash the bottle. Water the temperature of molten copper comes out of tap. Evidently the furnace is going well. Upon presenting bottle of milk to the howler I invite a kiss yet again and yet again am refused. Give howler bottle and mentally raise middle finger and saunter off to relax a little. Wife tells me to go forth to light fire in breakfast room in case someone wants to sleep there tonight. Slip on ice going down to woodshed.

When I get back in there is a strong and pervading smell of poo. Wife is up and I have second brekker and she has first. Still no kiss. But get one off the wife who wishes herself happy birthday from me. After doing al the usual – nappies, fodder for howling howler, trying to get tights on her etc. we drive to the shops to get a bottle of gin. Track is icy but car seems to know where it is going. The local shops have organised an aperitif in the square. Everyone who is everyone is there. We poke noses in to say hallo but don’t stay.

Nobody had any gin so went to supermarket. I passed a hilarious 10 minutes sitting in the car watching the chaos. For 15 years the cars have been going spontaneously in one direction in the supermarket carpark. Suddenly arrows have appeared on the tarmac… going in the opposite direction. 90% of the people are doing as they have always done, mainly because the arrows are covered with snow and are going clockwise and the rest following the new rules going anticlockwise. My, my it was fun. Italians are absolutely masters of gesticulation.

Return to house for lunch. Roast something, burnt, with brussels. After lunch load howler into car and drive to Paris to get her to sleep. On the way cut across the field and found that the puddles have gained in depth. Camel trophy? Bah!! Good job the howler was well strapped in. I didn’t know kangoos could bounce so much. I now have very decorative and macho mud splashes up the side of the car and on the roof and windows. Must remember to buy some mirrored shades.

Tonight, curry. Yumm. Prepare chicken etc. We have enough food to fee the five thousand but I have decided to try to make fudge as well. The smell is the same, but not sure about the consistency. As usual everyone is bringing something so it should be a heavy evening food wise. Trying bread with seed in it again as I didn’t get to taste the last lot. We looked everywhere for the board game called Risk SPQR but couldn’t find it. Mauro went to see if he could find one in Turin last night so there’s hope. I love board games, I lose every time of course but I’d much rather lose and play than not play at all. By mid afternoon it has begun to snow seriously again. This means fun shuttling the friends coming to dinner up in the car. I think I’d better put some salt down early this time to avoid people bricking it too much.

As it starts to get dark we now have another inch and a half of snow and it looks set for the night. The dog has just started to bark and I thought I was one of the friends arriving. I popped my head out to see but the she was looking up instead of along the track. I poked my head out of the kitchen door just in time to see a couple of boar trotting across the field behind the house.

Wife and howler snoozing in bed so am now going to drive the track to compact the snow, load the furnace and fire and await the food bearers.

Happy new year, hogmanay etc. to everyone.

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