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Bad Hair Day

The day started beautifully and then I made my first mistake – I got out of bed.

A bit of time in the workroom I decided (we restore ceramics),must catch up on backlog of work. Taking a Meissen clock surround apart I managed to gouge a hefty slice out of my right thumb. Several pints of blood and a bloody trail of band-aids later I picked up a flower encrusted Coalport ewer and stood firmly grasping the handle whilst the rest shattered on the floor at my feet.

Wiping away the blood and tears I took up a Chinese Fo Dog and cleaning the encrusted adhesive off I drove the razor sharp scalpel into the base of my left thumb – right to the bone.

By now the message had become clear – it was not my day.

Sod the lot, I thought, with an understandable depth of emotion. I’ll go fishing. Get fishing bag and discover it stuffed with Pike gear and I want to go Trout fishing. Cannot find fly lines or flies. At this point our dog an unusually perceptive Jack Russell, hid under the table.

Post arrives, final demand for electricity, reminders about two subscriptions and a stack of papers from the Reader’s Digest with a leaflet telling me that today was my lucky day.

Will go out and buy a pile of magazines and go to bed. Car won’t start. Dog howls. Mrs. Westley’s Budgie (we’re looking after it) starts pulling its feathers out and one of the boy’s goldfish turns belly up and dies.

Stand on doorstep looking at garden through tear-dimmed eyes. A sparrow, nesting in the porch ivy shits on me. Final indignity too much, hunt for razor, remember I gave up shaving. Miserably wonder if D.H. Lawrence ever had days like this.

Find flies and lines only to discover that because of bandaged thumbs I can’t hold them properly.

Now all this might sound like I was having a terrible day…and I was, but the important thing to remember is that at that point it was only 9.30am and I had the entire day spreading out before me like a vast personal minefield of booby-traps, accidents and disasters. On my record to date I wasn’t going to get past lunchtime alive.

In an emotional crisis my mind veers unerringly to food. I’m an emotional eater and this was a day created for my stomach. A food supply and the safety and protection of the bedroom with a few well-chosen books was the obvious answer… right?

Wrong. Until you’ve tried it you can have no idea how difficult it is to prepare food with two redundant thumbs, it’s not difficult at all… it’s bloody impossible. Toast, for some totally incomprehensible reason I had chosen to do toast. You might have thought that in my situation I would have settled for biscuits straight out of the tin, wouldn’t you – I did, it was empty.

Have you ever heard of force X? Well, force X is that imp of energy that determines that whenever you drop a slice of toast and jam it always lands jam side down. Force X directs collar studs and cufflinks into the most inaccessible places, fish hooks into clothing and dropped letters into the nearest puddle.

Forces X worked overtime in our kitchen. Not only did the toast fall butter side down, but it traveled horizontally to land in the filthy, ashy bit of floor in front of the Rayburn; not just once or twice, but three bloody times and that’s without mentioning the two pieces that caught fire, or the fat in the grill pan that set fire to the cooker.

Anyone want a neurotic dog, a nude Budgie or a melted plastic egg-timer?

With my scalded feet (I poured boiling water on them instead of into my cup) and my half-cup of coffee I limped, defeated, off to bed.

Naturally the bed wasn’t made, naturally I tried to make it before falling into it…I did fall, heavily, when I heaved on the blanket I was standing on.

After that the day deteriorated.

Took very nervous dog for a walk across the fields. At the most distant point it pours with rain. Fall off fence, slip in mud, fall on dog. Dog regards this as personal assault and bites me – with more than a degree of satisfaction my raging paranoia detects.

Return home, make up the fire in the living room, almost unscathed – cracked back of head on mantelpiece – having lived here for more years than I care to remember without doing that, my paranoia now encompasses the house.

Just read my stars in the Daily Mail, ‘Keep on the move for a lucky day.’

Budgie thinks it’s an oven-ready turkey and trying to stuff itself with cuttlefish. Fire goes out, bung in another firelighter and crack back of head again. Fire goes out, bung in three firelighters and studiously avoid cracking head. Turn and trip over dog. From recumbent position watch fire roar up the chimney and consider calling fire brigade. Decide to be Viking and go down with burning ship, irrationally hope it gets dog.

Immolation apparently not imminent decide to have can of beer. Pull ring off can, throw can on fire and retain ring. Hissing steam fills the room. Dog cravenly slinks out.

Nerves finally snap and beat fist impotently on arms of chair forgetting injured thumbs PAIN!

Maggie arrives home and blithely asks, “Had a good day?”

Horror creeps into her eyes as my hands close around her milky white throat – forgot thumbs – more PAIN!

All these events are true and happened on the 12th March 1976.

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