The Variety Pack


Friday 13 November
Due to an inauspicious combination of phases of the moon, tides and storms it’s been impossible to get the boat out the water. With severe gales forecast for the weekend, this is our last chance to catch the beast. At the appointed hour Tom, his mate Roger, the Pirate King and his Merry Crew assemble so, naturally, the clouds open and rain of epic proportions descends. Since my only role is to provide moral support I decide I can do this just as well from the car. After many long and stomach-churning moments, which compel me to dance around on the shore achieving b*gger all, the boat is finally subdued and safe on land. All is well, apart from a scary Papa Lazarou moment when the Pirate King grabs hold of me and startles me with a big wet beardy kiss.

Saturday 14 November
We leave the house at crack of doom, negotiate floods and falling branches so that I can get to my OU Day School in Cardiff at ten. Tom meets me for lunch and we head for the new John Lewis where the staff at the Creperie are amazingly quick and efficient. Return to afternoon session on a carb and sugar high.

Sunday 15 November
Mr & Mrs Across-the-Road and their two daughters, aged three and a half and two and a half respectively, come for Sunday lunch. The girls are impeccably well-behaved at the dinner table and I am very taken with the very little one’s impressive Wenglish. For a little dot, she has plenty to say for herself. I’m very tickled when pudding appears; Tom makes wonderful profiteroles – a stunning combination of very light choux pastry, softly whipped cream and bitter dark chocolate, but Elin, is less than impressed. After eagerly pointing a fat little finger at the particular one she’s after, she chews thoughtfully and declares it to be, ‘Ach!’ as in ach y fi – yuk! Well, that’s a first!

Monday 16 November
Clean the house from top-to-bottom for Mr& Mrs Cash Buyer who are due to view the house. Something about their attitude makes my hackles rise instantly. Maybe it’s Mrs CB’s clipboard and lack of a smile, but I really don’t feel like showing them round.
‘Oh,’ says Mr CB in the front living room, ‘I see you have a damp problem with your laminate floor!’
‘No, we don’t’
‘There’s definitely a damp problem with the laminate.’
‘It’s a wooden floor on a concrete base. There’s no damp.’
Throwing me a look of disbelief, ‘Oh.’
And so it goes round the house. We end up in the kitchen which they are unable to find fault with.
‘Where do you do your shopping?’ Mrs CB asks.
‘Well, Tesco at Cardigan’
‘No. I mean where’s the nearest Marks & Spencer?’
The look of horror when we tell them the nearest M&S is at Carmarthen, an hour’s drive away suggests that they’re not quite ready for west Wales.
‘And if Chris wants to buy clothes we go to Swansea or Cardiff,’ Tom informs them helpfully.
The next day, the estate agent phones to tell us that Mr & Mrs Cash Buyer absolutely loved the house but not where it was. Ah, let’s escape to the country – but only if it’s close to an M&S.

Tuesday 17 November
Coffee and a lovely catch up with Preseli Mags at Newport. Have very thorough discussions about our mutual Cardiff half marathons and recovery programmes and a good natter about writing. Brilliant for us but probably not as much fun for anyone who happened to be listening. Arrive home to a pile of dirty sails by the washing machine, waiting to be spruced up for winter storage. The Pig Boat gets the last word. Again

Comments

gaelikaa said…
It's nice to take a peek at your everyday life.....you do have a varied and interesting one! Have a great week, Chris!
Lane said…
Mr and Mrs Cash Buyer are definitely ach y fi.

Glad the Pig Boat is safe for winter.
JJ Beattie said…
Am grinning at Mr and Mrs Cash Buyer and their M&S. Brilliant. And not liking profiteroles? OMG!
Preseli Mags said…
You don't think anyone was listening do you??!! More fool them! I went to the new John Lewis on Sunday (I'm stalking you!). M&S is coming to Haverfordwest soon, followed by Sainsbury's in Cardigan. Will that do for potential cash buyers?
Poor old Pig Boat - can't ever get it right - even on land! Ach y fi - hubby uses that expression all the time - especially when babies are in the vicinity - at one stage we though that was the Welsh version of youngest's christian name!!
Good riddance to Mr and Mrs CB what a farce!
her at home said…
Is it to late to re christen the pig boat ? I think Ach y fi saounds much more appropriate!!
Cottage Garden said…
I love the 'crack of doom' - it does feel like that now with this awful weather.
Had to grin at the Mr and Mrs Cash Buyer story - classic!

Have a good week. Jeanne x
mountainear said…
Your lovely neighbours wouldn't have thanked you for Mr and Mrs Cash-Buyer would they? I'm sure they'll find somewhere near to an out-of-town retail park.

Thank you for introducing me to 'ach y fi'. I now have three more words in my (virtually non-exixtent) Welsh vocab - most of which has been gleaned from road signs.
Flowerpot said…
Don't talk to me about Pig Boats!!! Mr & Mrs Cashg Buyer - well!!
Helen Ginger said…
This sentence -- Ah, let’s escape to the country – but only if it’s close to an M&S. -- made me laugh because it's so true and so universal. Loved seeing a glimpse into your life.

Helen
Straight From Hel
Edward said…
Selling houses - don't get me started. All that work and they're so rude. Still, I had a laff!
Debs said…
I like the sound of those profiteroles, you could have sent her share round to my house.

A big fat raspberry to Mr & Mrs Cash Buyer.
ChrisH said…
Gaelikaa, thank you - but so do you! That's the beauty of blogging though, isn't it?
ChrisH said…
Lane, vair true.

JJ, obviously an acquired taste. (Suits me!)

Mags, damn, just too late for Mr & Mrs CB. Shame.

SBS, now have this vision of all these babies being 'ach y fi'ed at by himself.

Hah... believe me, there are worse names I can think of.

Jeanne - and it's still raining and feels like the end of the world here!

Mountainear, one of Tom's friends thinks Wales is the place where roads bark at you, 'Araf! Araf!'. Yes, true for the neighbours - Mr & Mrs CB wouldn't have fitted.

Fp... Himself hasn't, has he??

Helen, thank you - and thanks for your consistently informative blogs about the publishing industry.

Edward, glad to see the back of them. And at least my house was sparkly clean!

Debs, I can highly recommend them - much better than anything I could produce!
Pondside said…
You'll have a lot of us saying 'Ach y fi'- what a great expression!
So, the Pig Boat is out of the water. I well remember that this was my second favorite time during our years as sail boat owners - the first was any day with no wind and the second was anytime that the boat was pulled out.
Brown Dog said…
Total pain about cash buyers. I'm convinced there are people who must just spend their lives touring round the country viewing houses they've no intention of buying just to pick holes in them. Hugely irritating. (Mind you, it occurs to me, couldn't someone persuade farmer opposite to build an M&S, possibly with a small Waitrose attached instead of a housing estate? Or even better, perhaps Tom could paint a sort of Trompe L'oeil M&S frontage and whip it out every time you get tipped off about a possible viewing? Just a thought...)

Just had to re-read that bit about Tom and his wonderful profiteroles. Why didn't you say earlier - I'M ON MY WAY!
elizabethm said…
Wonderful post from pig boat to pig buyer and all the profiteroles in between.
ChrisH said…
Pondside, it's a great expression though, isn't it? Especially when the 'Ach!' is spat out by a tiny toddler! So good to hear from someone else who understands the relief of the boat being out the water!

Brown Dog,that is a truly brilliant idea... and the way things seem to be round here, he won't even need planning permission. Will get Tom started on the Trompe l'oeil panel just in case.

Elizabeth, thank you.
BT said…
I loved this read Chris. Sorry about the house buyers, don't they make you sick, some of these people? When I was selling my Derbyshire house, the worst, grumpiest people wanted to buy it!! Very strange indeed. We are up to our necks in flood water, not in the house thankfully, but all around making travel difficult. Sigh. Love to you and your wonderful artist.

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