Friday 6 July 2007

Rain stopped play, and a good joke ruined.

Another English Summer week has been and gone, bringing with it those traditional stalwarts of our 'hottest' months: cricket on the green, cream teas, the incessant distant buzz of lawnmowers - oh no, my mistake, instead we have had the flashflooding of 27,000 homes and constant, neverending, bloody rain.
Not that we personally are flooded, (living as we do in the house with the highest elevation on our side of the valley, as Nini and her pushchair-toned thighs will attest), but the rain brings to us a specific torture that's uniquely our own: Amelie can't go outside. And when Amelie can't go outside, she can't run off her excess energy, which means she has to channel it into other pursuits: drawing on walls with chalk, for example, or prolonged atonal screeching, or the building of 'nests' consisting of random upended furniture, my clean shirt and ground-up biscuits...
Neve toddles throughout this carnage, picking things up - anything really - and trying to eat them. In the course of a day we probably have to remove perhaps 30 items from her mouth: normally toast or bits of ricecake that either she or Amelie have previously discarded, but occasionally more unusual objects: such as my socks, or the cover of the TV guide, or dried pasta, or flower petals, or earth from the plant pots, etc. I think we manage to catch her and stop her from eating most things, but I'm equally certain some stuff gets through - which makes changing her nappy an exciting voyage of discovery: you are never quite sure what you are going to find in there. The time she had been licking glitter from one of Amelies paintings was particularly special: it turns out that that are some things that simply aren't improved at all by making them sparkle...

Another memory to record this week: After her bath, I gave Amelie one of my T-shirts to put on and pretended that it was her new pyjamas. She didn't like it at all, once it was on she said that it "made her feel like a ghost". I have no idea what she meant, but it amused me greatly...

And finally, a conversation with Nini that I am recalling through gritted teeth:
P: "I have a joke for you. Did you hear about the man who went to the seafood nightclub? He had a great time, but when he woke up the next morning, he'd pulled a mussel."
N: "That's not very good."
P:" Mussel. M-u-s-s-e-l. Not muscle."
N: "Yeah, I understand. It's still not very good."
P:"It is! What's wrong with it?"
N: "It's not modern enough."
P: "What? Modern? What do you mean, modern?"
N: "Nightclubs. That's rubbish. It's not up to date. He should have been speed-dating. It should have been a seafood speed-dating night."
P: "And how would he pull a muscle at that, then? He has to have been dancing, see, for the joke to work. You know: nightclubs, dancing, effort, pulled muscle..."
N: "That doesn't come across. At no point did I equate the nightclub with dancing."
P: "What the hell else do people do at nightclubs? Is that your issue, then? It's a crap joke because the dancing element wasn't highlighted enough? Or that it's not painting an accurate picture of the modern dating scene?"
N: "Well, it's also that nobody calls them 'nightclubs' anymore. Only a Dad would call it a 'nightclub'. The cool kids don't call them 'nightclubs'."
P: "What do they call them, then?"
N: "Clubs'. Just 'clubs'. It's 'going clubbing', not 'going nightclubbing'. Only people in the eighties went 'nightclubbing'.
P: "But....but....if I had said he just went to the 'seafood club', it would sound like a club for seafood. Not a nightclub for seafood. That's crucial, because it infers that there was dancing...."
N: "No, it doesn't. I think it's just a bad joke."
P: "It is not! It is a good joke. It is a great joke."
N: "Maybe you just tell it badly."

Unbelievable. And to think that the general perception people get when they meet us is that I'm the awkward one.