We drive to the funeral.

The LTLP’s father has died.

We head down south for the ceremony. The new Baby dozes peacefully in his car seat. On the radio, there is some sad news reported about the Prime Minister’s family.

“The bloody Camerons – they’re always copying us,” observes the LTLP.

We turn on to the motorway. The traffic is heavy.

“That was, without doubt, the funniest thing that you have ever said,” I say. “I mean – I have known you for years and years now, and I have never known you to say anything funny. Whereas that was really funny.”

I indicate to overtake. “Have you been working on that one for a while?” I ask, my eyes narrowing.

“How could I possibly have been ‘working on it’ in advance? It has only just happened.”

“Mmm.”

We drive on. I keep my eyes fixed on the road. She has rattled me. We have always enjoyed very fixed roles together. She does the finances, arranges the household things, earns the money, takes responsibility for the important things with regards to the children, makes the decisions, does the entertaining and looks after all the paperwork and official matters; I make the funny remarks. If she is going to start making her own funny remarks then it will destroy the perfect balance of our relationship.

The road clears a little after we pass the airport. We drive on in silence.

25 Comments

  1. Heartfelt condolences, Jonny and LTLP. Losing your father is a heavy blow, I know, seasoned in my case with regret over love assumed but never spoken, and questions never asked. My only real regret about traipsing across eight countries in the last twenty years is that I had so little time with my own Dad in his last years. Be glad that you were around for him, and God speed his journey.

  2. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  3. Really sorry to hear that Jonny and LTLP.

  4. Thank you for all of the above.

    This isn’t really a post about ‘that’ – the first draft had some words, but on reflection I didn’t feel comfortable using them on here. He was a good guy, a really good guy.

    Move on. I’d better write another post about something else, quick.

  5. Happy to take your mind off it by complaining about that book chain Waterstone’s. I was in London at end of August so I thought I’d support an actual physical bookstore and buy it while there. They claimed to have your book in stock at one store but couldn’t find it in any of the sections it might be, so they sent me to the Piccadilly branch, where I was told there were at least nine copies. After sending me running around the store, they told me they thought they’d sent it back to your publisher. I was pretty amazed at the incompetence of their inventory system. Did you know they’ve classified it under sports with a potential subcategory of lawn bowling type sports? It was all a bit Monty Python cheese shop except that it wasn’t funny, really. Alas, Amazon it will be!

  6. Lisa, an alternative to Amazon is Book Depository. I ordered from them, paid via PayPal and received Jonny’s book very quickly. Here is their link (although, I don’t know how to make it clicky): http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780007355471/?a_aid=alexmarsh

  7. Amazing, JonnyB makes the link clicky automatically. What a man!

  8. Does that sitemeter mean you have 1,076,361 visitors….or there’s 15 of us who’ve visited 71,757.4 times each?

  9. Condolences, by the way. (yes, I know you said move on) – Sept 14th was my Dad’s birthday, Sept 15th the day he died, Sept 16th my son’s birthday, so it’s a meaningful time for me. But not sad, time really does help.

  10. I am a linking superhero.

    Thanks Lisa (and yes – Book Depository is v good, and taking PayPal makes a difference for lots of people) – I sort of agree.

    Waterstone’s is a bit of a difficult one in that they’ve been really good, supportive etc and every store manager/employee I’ve spoken to in every store has been brilliant.

    A couple of those have said that the ordering/inventory system is a bit Heath Robinson at the mo and that even if stuff sells straight away, sometimes it doesn’t get re-ordered. So that might be it.

    Having it under ‘sport/bowls’ – um.. yes. It’s not really appropriate and it makes it impossible to find, and it gets no casual browsers (especially as most sports books are outsize hardbacks). Which isn’t great.

    But on the upside, being there does give it a bit more longevity on the shelves and the fact is that – not being a ‘name’ like Stuart Maconie or Bill Bryson or whatever – if it was in with those sorts of things, where it should be* then they’d ditch it as soon as the next TV person wrote a mass-selling wryly-comic paperback that needed room on the shelves.

    I’ve just read that back. It was probably a bit boring.

    (* as in ‘the same type of book’ not ‘I should be thought of in the same breath as these legends of bookdom’)

  11. Take heart, I couldn’t find either yours or Stuart Maconie’s in Crewe’s Waterstones.

    Condolences etc

  12. I’m about to make myself universally despised and admit that I got the book as an e-book. However! a) I try to get everything as an e-book these days as I’m moving next year and don’t fancy boxing up a billion books as last time, b) I’m waaaaaaay over here in Merca and What Are These Bookstores You Speak Of?* and c) it was, sorry to say, v inexpensive. Oh, and I’m saving trees – all those sweet, innocent trees.

    * This is a lie. Of course we have bookstores. Where else would we get coffee, novelty bonsai tree kits and themed desk sets?

    N.B. You made Ivan be serious, supportive and touchingly heartfelt. Your powers are far, far beyond simple linkipotence

  13. ajb – just one of you, a million times…

    Megan, he is a bit softy at heart as we all know. And the ebook is good, do not fear! It is inexpensive for a reason, viz to try to get people to buy it. So you see it has worked!!!

  14. Don’t know if it helps but I originally found this site whilst googling bowls tips (not for me). I have since found this site to be a great source of bowls advice, the most memorable being ‘join the snooker club instead, as they always have bars’.

    So maybe someone with a similar ex boyfriend (or indeed my ex boyfriend) will stumble upon your book whilst on a bowls tip and stay for the dogg stories.

  15. But Ali – I don’t understand – he plays bowls, yet you split up?!?

  16. I have bought it – on Kindle.

    Haven’t read it yet, cos am waiting for my Kindle to arrive.

    Am sure it’s great though.

    (sorry about LTLP’s dad) x

  17. He joined a men only bowls club. It was that and the deeply, deeply unfashionable shoes.

  18. My condolences to your family, Jonny. And so, on to moving on: This Cameron thing…forgive my ignorance but does this copying thing mean that all David Cameron will do is lounge about, chase chickens, and make the occasional funny remark? Seems to me we could have sent you GeorgieBoy a few years back and we’d both have been ahead of the game!

  19. Chickens at 10, Downing Street. What a good idea. They can have a loo seat as a gateway to the garden at Number 11.

    Sorry to hear your sad news.

  20. I agree that they should have a Downing St. chicken. They had a Downing St. cat for ages, and what use are cats?!?

  21. She has rattled me. We have always enjoyed very fixed roles together. She does the finances, arranges the household things, earns the money, takes responsibility for the important things with regards to the children, makes the decisions, does the entertaining and looks after all the paperwork and official matters; I make the funny remarks. If she is going to start making her own funny remarks then it will destroy the perfect balance of our relationship… ARE YOU MY HUSBAND??

  22. Judy, I thought we agreed that you were not going to post here?

    PS would you pop in to Tesco on your way back? Ta. x

  23. Just caught up with this – sorry to hear about your loss.

    As for the funny remarks be warned that all women find it unbelievably exciting when men laugh at their jokes and would do *anything* as a result. You best make sure the LTLP cuts this out before she goes back to work or who knows what might happen.

  24. Belated sympathy to you both.
    Sometimes you have to – inevitably – swap roles. Be prepared.

  25. My sincere condolences Jonny – my thoughts go out to you at this very difficult time.

    The best advice I can offer is to rest assured that one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, you will once again be funnier than the LTLP.

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