Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The fall of King Hubkin

We are sitting at a shady table in a cafe near the beach. Our youngest is asleep in her pushchair, presumably quite worn out from all the shouting, and a pleasant peace has descended. My wife is flicking through a book, and I am watching the world go by and idly pondering the cryptic crossword. (14 Down: My downfall is I twist with shrub (6))
"Shall I draw you a picture, Daddy?" asks our eldest, Biro at the ready. She is turning into quite the prolific little artist, having discovered a love for drawing and painting that she has inherited from her mother, and which I have found can readily be exploited: the provision of a scribble pad and a ballpoint pen buys me enough peace to read the paper.
"Yes, please." I say.
"I will draw a picture of you" she announces.
"Sounds good..." I say, sipping on my drink
There is a period of companionable quiet. Pages turn, and pen scratches on cheap paper. Our youngest snuffles in her sleep and gives a smile of triumph, perhaps having dreamt of taking gold in the World Under-Three Olympics screeching event.
"There we go." announces Eldest. "It's a picture of you."
I study it critically. Her drawing is really coming along.
"It's excellent" I say. "Fit for a king."
She smiles broadly.
"In fact, you should make me into a king" I add. There is an audible 'tut' from behind the pages of my wife's chick-lit, but I ignore it,
"Can you give me a crown?" I ask.
There is some dutiful editing. A crown appears.
"There we go" she says. "Now you are King Daddy."
"King Hubkin..." snorts my wife.
(That remark will need further explanation, and requires a glimpse into the workings of my marriage that some readers may find disturbing. I have a large number of names that I can call my wife if I want to annoy her - not rude names, you understand, just little nicknames that absolutely infuriate her, as she finds them demeaning. Personal favourites include 'The Breadknife' or 'The Long-Haired General', and recently I have been experimenting with the phrase 'wifelet' after reading that it was the term the Marquess of Bath used to describe his many, many partners. She, in turn, has been testing out a wide range of retaliatory phrases to annoy me with, the most successful of which has been 'Hubkin' as a derivative of 'husband' - the diminutive, cutesy nature of the word sets my teeth on edge. With use, the meaning of the phrase has since changed slightly, and it is now the term she uses to describe me when I am being a pain in the arse, e.g "Cut it out, you are being a total hubkin.")
"King Daddy, I think you'll find she said..." I correct loftily.
"King Hubkin" she insists.
"Er, I am the one with the crown around here.." I say pointing at the pad. Our daughter looks at us with wide eyes.
"I can draw Mummy with a crown too?" she suggests.
"Good idea..." says her mother.
"Meh.." I say, and go back to the Cryptic. (23 across: Lost power when hurled too far? (10))
There is much scribbling, for an extended length of time.
"Ta da!" our daughter finally announces. We crane over to get a good look.
"Oh, that is very good, sweetheart..." her delighted mother says.
"Hmmm." I say, less effusively. "Tell me, why did you turn the paper round like that?"
"I wanted more room to draw Mummy."
"Yes, but because Mummy is drawn sideways to Daddy, now it looks like I am lying at her feet. It looks like she is standing on me..."
"I really like it..." says my wife.
"Also, her crown is much bigger, I can't help but notice."
"Yes, I had more room to draw it" explains the artist.
"What are those dots you have drawn on her?"
"Sparkles. Mummy is sparkly."
"I see. And you have also given her fairy wings. And what's that you've drawn on my face?"
"They look like tears..." I say.
"This is the best picture ever. We should keep this picture on the fridge" announces my wife. "In fact, we should frame it." I cannot bear to look at her, but there is no real need: she is radiating glee.
"Can we do that, Daddy?"
"Yes, maybe..." I say sadly.
"I know!" says her mother. "Even better - perhaps Daddy can scan it, and put it on his blog!"
My daughters face lights up. She looks ecstatic.
"Oh can you, Daddy? Please? Please?"
There's no way I can let her down. Her mother knows that.
"Yes..." I say in tiny voice, and go back to the crossword. (31 down: Pecan, cop and emu collude for a fitting end, (11))


TwinkyDink said...


Ha ha :-)

aiddy said...

but it *really* does look like you PDC :-)