I reassess my life.

On the whole, this is an exercise that should generally be avoided, like buying ‘Jethro’ tapes at the motorway services or sneaking away from the guided tour of the petrochemical works, spotting a small hole in the housing of the liquid butane boiling refiner and thinking: “that is an interesting hole. I wonder what would happen if I put my penis in it?” It generally doesn’t lead to anything particularly constructive, although I suppose there is sometimes an exception, and butane is often quite nicely tingly. I walk into the kitchen and put the kettle on.

I arrived at the Cottage with the – honest, honest – intention of tapping in to the peace and serenity of the place to give myself a working environment in which I could do Magnificent Things. Actually, I stared at the screen a lot and watched the rabbits in the garden. The plan was also for the LTLP to arrive home from work to find braised guinea fowl with celeriac mash (or suchlike) simmering invitingly on the hob. As it was, notes such as “in Village Pub – reheat manky stuff in back of fridge” became more frequent, as did the closing-time necessity for her to remove Short Tony from the roof with a long pole.

Then we decamped to Narcoleptic Dave’s place whilst the Methodical Builder used the Cottage to practice his NVQ Building (Level 1). I am led to believe that this work is almost finished. He has removed my family heirloom table from its bedroom tomb. Along with the bedroom door and some of the frame. Today I need to argue about some electrical things.

I make the tea. As the scum rises to the surface, I search for an image of the Prophet Mohammed in the mug. Boooooo – there is no image of the Prophet Mohammed. I will not be an Ebay multimillionaire today. I just have scummy tea.

The LTLP returns to work today. She has been home on maternity leave for six months, and we haven’t killed each other, which I think is a good achievement (especially after what happened to the other ones). But for all my Magnificent Thing plans, my good culinary intentions and my general wish for peace and serenity and all that, what has been the outcome?

I am about to become a man who stays at home looking after a baby.

She does some final makeuppy things whilst I have my morning poo. I am just finishing my wipe when she comes in to kiss me goodbye.

“Don’t forget to feed her,” she says. She is joking.

“I won’t,” I say. I am joking.

“I’ll see you later then,” she says.

I hear the front door close and she is gone. In the lounge, the baby sits in her bouncy chair, her face bearing a look of the utmost alarm.

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