Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Home alone - It's not easy!

So last week the wife went off to visit her mother in the Isle of Man. She took the kids as they are on holiday and I couldn't really get the time off work. She was due to return last Friday after spending a mere 4 days away. I have been to the Isle of Man a few times and, as far as small islands go, it would be fair to say that I would rather spend time in Sri Lanka. Add in the factor of my Mother in Law being omnipresent, at least in the Isle of Man, and it would be accurate to say that I'd rather spend a couple of years stuck in the remotest part of Uzbekistan eating food that was made entirely from my own hair than spend 4 days on the Isle of Man.

The plan was a good one. She has a few days with her mother, the girls get some time with their Grandmother and I struggle at home alone with some gigs, some band practices, lots of takeaways and work. One of the fortunate side effects of being a man is that I can survive for almost unlimited time on a diet consisting entirely of sausages and some Indian takeaways. I might bung in the odd Sri Lankan rice and curry, as I did on Friday night, for some variety but give me a selection of good quality British sausages, none of your European rubbish, and I'm happy. Rather like a camel with its storage of water and humps and all that, men can survive on the basics if we need to.

Then disaster struck. On their 2nd day away the wife managed to injure her back. She was in some agony so a Doctor came out and told her that she had no chance of returning until at least this week and may have to cancel or postpone our holiday in Poland. This was not good. The back is getting a bit better and she is now booked to return this Thurday, 3 days before we are scheduled to depart for Poland. It looks like we will be ok for that anyhow.

Whilst she and my lovely daughters are stranded there, her sister was spending 2 days staying at our place with her 15 year old daughter en route from Italy back to the Isle of Man. This meant that I had to collect them from Heathrow on Saturday night, feed and entertain them all day on Sunday and drop them at Luton airport on Monday morning. That kind of thing does not come easy for a man.

So, first thing on Saturday morning I zoomed around the house tidying up. Surprisingly easy, even I struggle to make a big mess when I'm not there. Then I made a shopping list to head off to Tesco and do the business. I had to get some regular supplies in for the guests and also some stuff prior to the holiday. The list said:

Dishwasher tablets
Washing gel things - Green (For the washing machine)
Flash wipes
breakfast things
diet cokes
Moisturiser (men's)

I think you'll agree that any man who has moisturiser on his shopping list must be a modern one with modern viewpoints. I just wanted to get that point across.

Off I went to Tesco. I pulled into the car park in Teddington and marvelled at my luck. This public car park is normally packed on a Saturday afternoon, so much that many people have to drive round a few times before they get a space. I got one immediately, put a couple of quid in the pay and display ticket thing, then wandered towards the shop.

"Closed for refurbishment, opne on Monday 7th August" said the sign.

That explained the quiet car park, I thought. So I waltzed round Teddington for a while, buying men's moisturiser and other stuff that I needed. Then I got back in the car and drove the short couple of miles to the big Sainsbury's in Hampton Hill. This is quite a mother of a supermarket, unlike the tiny Tesco in Teddington which is geared towards people doing interim shopping. So here I was, a chap somewhat unused to grocery shopping, with a list that covered a few specific items, and one line that said "food".

I had a plan. I quickly gathered in the specifics on the list. The dishwasher tablets was easy as I knew the brand and the exact type to get. Flash wipes was easy for the same reasons. Bread, easy. Diet Cokes was the easiest of the lot, considering my expertise in the subject, albeit self proclaimed. I also bought Diet cream soda, diet Irn Bru, Dr Pepper Zero and Coke Zero, just to be sure I was well stocked up. Bread and breakfast stuff for Sister in Law and her daughter was another easy gain. Then I moved on to the more challenging stuff. The gel things for the washing machine wasn't easy.

You know those Persil type ones that come in individual polythene wrappers each filled with a greeny blue liquid. Well I had thought that "Green" would give me an accurate target to aim for. But no, they come in biological and non biological and they are both the same colour. How stupid is that? I stood still for abuot 5 minutes staring at them and even then the choice was no easier. So I asked a sexy blonde woman who has been smiling at me in a "get your bloody trolley out of the way" manner. She was no help, all she wanted to do was to give me her phone number, but she was playing hard to get and doing that aloof and can't be bothered thing that women so often do with me. I took a guess at which type to buy and, even now I'm not sure now which type I chose, for reasons that will become clear.

I then came to the "food" item on the list. When I was writing the list "food" seemed a pretty accurate and specific description of something that I needed to buy. This all changed when I was standing and being screamed at by aisle upon aisle of the stuff. It all looked good, it was all tempting, so I went a bit mad. I bought 4 different varieties of sausage as well as 2 packs of Polish Kabanos. If there are any sausage fans out there take my word for it. The new Duchy of Cornwall Cumberland sausages are not that great. They're ok but not as good as the Duchy's regular ones, which are one of my favourites. I bought a variety box of ready cooked chicken, I bought a platter of continental meats with olives (2 kinds) and peppers. I bought 2 packets of pork chops, 2 packets of microwave risotto. You get the picture , I bought all the essentials for a man living on his own, nothing frivolous or wasteful whatsoever.

A few hours later, after skilfully negotiating checkout, nectar cards, car park etc like a veteran I found myself at home. I had just taken all the bags into the house and was about to unpack when I heard the doorbell. As soon as I heard the "ding dong" sound I knew it was the doorbell. I'm sharp like that and it's the only thing in the house that makes that sound. I answered the door and it was Uncle Bob. Everyone knows Uncle Bob. He has known me and my family since I was about 4 and he has helped me in a lot of things over the years. He's a bit of a playboy and spends most of his time collecting things, travelling and having sex with his large collection of women. He's English but was brought up in India and is truly a legend.

So I opened the door to seem him standing there with a woman and a youngish man hovering a bit sheepishly on the pavement.

"Ah Rhythmic" he said. "You're not going to Twickenham are you?"

"No, I wasn't planning to". I thought he was saying this to warn me of the huge crowd caused by the rugby or something.

"OK, bye then" and he turned round to go.

"Hold on, do you mean you want a lift?" I said.

"No, no" he insisted.

I insisted and 16.3 seconds later my car, still with its squeeking brakes and faulty remote locking, was heading towards Twickenham with me, Uncle Bob, the woman and the man, who was her son, on board. I deposited them where they wanted to go and went home to unpack the shopping.

This was a mundane chore until I made the discovery. There was a strange kind of blue liquid on a few items and I hadn't thought too much of it until I opened the bag with the washing gel stuff and realised that one of the polythene sachets had burst its banks and was leaking all over the container. My ability to react promply and effectively in a situation like this is uncanny, even if I say it myself, and I sprung into action. I was aware that I needed to preserve the remaining sachets but also needed to get rid of the broken fellow and clean the plastic container, which was full of this bluey green gel. I did the logical thing that many people wouldn't have had the quickness of thought to instigate. I turned the tap on and put the whole container under it. That should rinse out the liquid and clean the good ones I thought.

The smarter of my readers will probably know that these bastard washing things are actually designed to dissolve on contact with water. Well, I ask you, how stupid is that?

3 seconds later I was in a situation with water and bubbles absolutely everywhere. I had no choice but to persevere with the water in the hope that it would eventually was away the soap. It did, but it took me about half an hour. I don't think I helped much with the water shortage in the Thames area at the moment.

I was left with no washing sachet things, a load of sticky polythene stuff and a sink that smelt like alpine mist.

The rest of the weekend was quite uneventful in comparison, I went to Heathrow to collect Sister in Law and her daughter on Saturday night. Like many blokes I love airports, atmosphere is one that is savoured by men and men alone. It must be the big planes, the big machinery and the industrial element to the average airport. And the women.

On Sunday I took SIL's daughter shopping whilst SIL "took it easy" and did nothing. I am never sure if my Sister in Law's daughter qualifies as my niece or not. Kingston was strangely quiet for a Sunday, it must have been because of it being the holiday season. Niece (?) went off to get women's clothes and I went off to get men's things and we met up again a while later. Taking a 15 year old girl shopping fills me with sheer dread at the thought of what it will be like for me when my daughters get to that age. We got back home and I came into work to clear my desk.

I went home after some hours and cooked them a scrumptious meal of pork chops marinated in paprika, soy sauce, chili, Worcestershire sauce, butter and a few curry leaves, with rice and a mushroom stir fry.

This morning (Monday) I dropped them at the airport then came into work. I've got a band practice tonight and also tomorrow, one with each band but in the same studio. The bummer is the fact that I have to take, set up, take down and take home my kit on both nights. I can't leave it there as there will be lots of dodgy and penniless musiciansd around that can't be trusted.

But, do me a favour would you? If anyone asks about my adventures with the Persil washing stuff just deny that you know about it.

I'd really like to keep it quiet.


Oh well, the home alone life continues, until Thursday at least!


childof25 said...

funny stuff...hope the wifey gets better and ur vacation doesnt get cancelled...btw isnt the Isle of Mann where everyone is horribly inbred?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Co25 - thanks, yes definitely that is the place, they are all related and have 3 heads and stuff.

Theena said...

Bahahahaha...funny read.

I am going to tell my girlfriend to never leave me a lone at home after we are married.

Hope your wife gets better, man. And, as always, good luck with the gig.

SmileyGirly said...

Theena: You wouldn't survive alone for 8 hours let alone 4 days honey! :-P

This is a well amusing post! :-)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

smileygirly - Thanks again, but I am not sure if I'll survive! It is only because I've had a lot of band practices and gigs to go to that the house is still standing!

S said...

OMG R, I had no idea you lived so close to me - I used to go to sixth form in Hampton!

The best sausages, IMHO are the Black Farmer ones, available at Sainsbury's and Tesco. Ninety-percent pork, I'll have you know ;)

Duchy's come 2nd though.

S said...

Btw, is your wife Manx?