So in the spirit of public spiritedness I feel I should share more of my private life with you lovely people. Partly, of course, as a way of unburdening myself, but mainly for your enjoyment.
Things have been busy here at the flat. With many comings and goings. Joe gets taller each year, Kris is learning to be a little less pedantic, Marian has a new job with Democrats which I believe is a good thing and Zoë got to meet Noddy at Butlins this year. Dan has hardly been around at all of late, he’s engrossed in his new job or loved up which is unfortunate for us because much as we pretend to like to see our friends happy it does tend to mean less posting – more’s the pity. Ah all very true, but hardly how I meant to start this e-mail. I just started in that family annual Christmas letter vein and it was hard to stop. “Dear _____, I haven’t spoken to you for real in about 5 years, but I’ve got in the habit of sending out this letter and it’s a hard nut to break (but it’s Christmas and there’s always a couple of nutcrackers knocking about – and I don’t mean the sweets, they used to be made by Cadbury’s but it’s that fancy Tchaikovsky one this year – Ha! A little festive joke – I’m sure you all remember my wacky sense of humour from back in the college years – oh and my penchant for run-on sentences). So yes, everyone’s fine and thinking of you, love to ____________________________________, I’m sure we’ll catch up in the New Year (in the year of your funeral or mine whichever is first).
Ahem. So yes Pete has moved in, that’s where I was going with this. Pete, for those in the dark or with memories like mine, is my brother. He’s been drafted in as a replacement for poor dear departed Nick. He’s moved to Lavender Hill, on the posh* side of Clapham Junction. Well, wait, let me justify that. My side of Clapham Junction is the posh side once you get past the bit that I live in. It’s just that the bit that he’s moved to is posher than where I am now – just to make that clear. I can just imagine somebody visiting London clutching a printed out copy of this post, wandering aimlessly around the south side of Clapham Junction looking desperately for “the posh bit”. Well I’m not going to let that happen. My advice to you is to get a proper tour guide (a concept that is not lost on me, and that I will be coming back to later).
Anyway so since Nick decamped I was scouting around for a replacement housemate. Of course “scouting” would suggest some kind of active search was going on whereas, of course, I was merely waiting around thinking that a replacement might be a good idea only in ways that I didn’t like to think about. In the brief couple of weeks that I had the flat to myself I busied myself cleaning, rearranging and generally enjoying the kinds of things that are possible if you are a man who lives by himself. I did what every man would have done in my position, I built a library. I arranged chairs and bookcases and even started moving books in to Nick’s room. Okay it wasn’t ideal, the light in the mornings came in from the other side of the house, and the damn pipes rattled and squeaked every time I flushed the toilet but damn it! It was a library, in my house, and it was a great thing. In comparison to this, piddling concerns like the rent stood no chance. However soon enough Pete mentioned that he was having to move out of his current flat, and with the stage so set for a conversation I decided – unusually – to take the initiative. Although, of course, by that point it’s hardly initiative.
Anyway, so Pete moved in. On his first night he left the flat and didn’t come back for three days. Then he returned, showered and left again. He then returned just as I was leaving the house at 8:30 the following morning asking for aspirin and a bucket in case of emergencies. For some reason I didn’t think of the bucket that belongs to my mop (I say my mop but I have no idea who it really belongs to, and anyway it’s old. I’m now using the new fantastic Flash mop, although I have my eyes on the Dettol mop. It’s the one where you actually put the bottle of Dettol in the mop and you can pull the trigger via a mechanism without having to bend down). The only thing I could find in my panic was a rather lovely Coca-Cola jug which seemed the closest reasonable receptacle.**
Anyway, despite this rather raucous start things have started to settle down a bit. Although I’m still not sure that he’s happy with my computer being in the living room (as it currently is for some reason). Although it’s very handy for lots of things, at times like this you kind of wish for a stiffer chair to lean back and contemplate in. With a soft chair the problem of leaning back is that it might result in sleeping, if only there was somebody else in the room then I wouldn’t drift off in case they looked at me sleeping.***
So yes, I’m sure all of you people had very enjoyable weekends in the sunshine. Well I had, foolishly I think, decided the week before to visit a cinema on Saturday morning. Actually when I say I had decided this was a joint decision with Katherine, she is as complicit in this as I. We had, after answering a survey been given free tickets to see a new movie called “Down with Love” which stars Ewan McGregor, Renee Zelweiger and David Hyde-Pierce. It was a bit rubbish, and it was a lovely day outside so it was even worse. Initially when we had been asked if we had wanted to go for the free tickets it had seemed that we were both to be interviewed but apparently not. In fact it was Katherine that they were after and I was simply tagging along as a guest (although strangely I was required to answer as many questions as she did so it all seemed a little arbitrary). Apparently, the interviewer said, it had to be the female who was the main person. I didn’t realise the consequences of this until a week later when I was sat watching this rotten film with 200 hundred women. I thought I spotted another man in the audience but then it turned out that he simply worked there. I’d like to say that my results were wildly off the chart and that because I was such a man’s man they would have had to discount my returned paper. However we all know that’s not true. I take my market research very seriously. I responded correctly and accurately, although I think I regret giving Renee the lowest mark you could for her acting. It was an accurate portrayal of her work in the movie, but I know that despite all the money and everything bad reviews can hurt. If, like I would be, she’s the kind of person who would read every test card that came back I’m sorry about that. But what can I do. In the name of Market Research the truth is king.
However the truth doesn’t seem to concern all of the professionals we were to encounter that day. After having been a bit disappointed by the movie, and having to endure a sandwich at Pret a Manger (I like the Sandwiches, I don’t mind that they are owned by McDonalds, I’m just upset that they stole the idea that I sent them in an e-mail and didn’t even reply – any one else noted the news search feature on Google all of a sudden? There’s been no reply from them either). Anyway, after all of that we were looking for an outdoor event that wouldn’t be hopelessly overcrowded. And in the end we plumped for the very thing. Katherine and I spent the afternoon being whisked, courteously and professionally hither and thither, over and yon, all about London Town, in a tour bus. Yes, we went on a tour of London in the open top of a double-decker bus. It was so good that we did half the route twice (and the other half once in case you were wondering). And very interesting it was too. However, the poor tour guide did get one detail wrong. As avid readers of the Board Board will know there is a bit of a history to the road in London called “Piccadilly”. And as we approached the road, the first time, the brave tour guide tried to impart the story to us. However he suggested that the road was named after the ruffs that people wore at the time which were called “Piccadils”. However as we all know it wasn’t the ruffs that were called “Piccadils” that was, in fact, the name of the pieces of metal that held the ruffs up. It’s all in the details a job like that and if he couldn’t get it right, well he shouldn’t be telling it. In fact the second tour guide didn’t mention the story so probably faired better.
However, and this is what I’d like to confess to you all – if any of you are still reading – I didn’t complain to him. When the man didn’t say the fact correctly, I didn’t politely inform him of his error or anything. I just let him carry on, blissfully unaware that he was polluting people’s minds with incorrect facts. And if you think I feel guilty about this now, just you wait for this to fester for a little bit, a couple of years down the line I’ll have an ulcer over this mark my words. I didn’t complain, perhaps I’m British after all?
Well, I hope you’re all well, and that you got everything that you wanted for Christmas, so now I leave you with the dulcet tones of the footnotes, so until the next ulcer – Goodnight.
* Despite popular opinion to the contrary, “posh” does not stand for Port Out Starboard Home (the idea being that the nice cabins are on the other side on your way back). However posh probably comes from a Romany term, posh was a word they used to describe money.
** In case you’re wondering, he returned the jug unharmed the following day.
*** Katherine can but that’s different – ok?