Thursday, October 19, 2006

barbecued house

IF there is one thing certain in life it is that past mistakes will come back to haunt you. Only yesterday, I was reminded of the day my house in Swansea burned down - 15 years after the great event.
A debt collector's letter dropped through the door, badly disguised as a solicitor's letter and claiming that the bloodsucking company in question were "representing" the Building Society to whom I am supposed to still owe eight and a half grand.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter - and there are more wrongs than rights, believe me - it served to remind me of a dim and distant Boxing Day when I was still married to The Nutter.
I was always against buying the house in the first place. It oozed bad luck. It had been repossessed twice, but The Nutter would have none of it. "It will look great when I've finished doing it up," she said. The Nutter had uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins in the building trade. I was not going to lift a finger.
So we bought the house, and she was as good as her word. It soon looked, if not a palace, then a reasonable home for myself, The Nutter and her two children to live in.
Then, however, I was offered a job in Cardiff that was too good to refuse. And after a while commuting it was eventually decided to move lock, stock and barrel, rent a bungalow nearer to work and let The Nutter's best friend's sister move into our house. Fine, except for her 4-year-old pyromaniac son.
It was on that Boxing Day that we were sat in the front room of the Nutter's Mum's - which just happened to be across the street from our house - chilling out and biding our time before dinner. The house was full. Nutter, me, racist granny, mum and dad in law and assorted others. There was not a spare seat in the house.
The Nutter's brother arrived and declared: "You're house is on fire!"
No one moved believing this a. To be a joke and b. to be a devious plan to relieve us of our seats.
When we finally decided we ought to take a look, there it was... smoke billowing into the sky, people jumping from bedroom windows, fire engines busily trying to contain the flames.
Oh, Bollocks.
Eventually, when we got a look inside the smoke damage was immense. Even worse, the fire had been caused by the young pyromaniac who, having failed to wake his mother in the morning, decided to set his bed sheets on fire with a disposable lighter.
Mother, waking to the smell of smoke, rushed in, removed the burning sheets, plonked them in the downstairs bath and FORGOT TO TURN THE WATER ON.
She then went back to scold the child, not realising that the bath was plastic and liable to melt. Result: The bathroom exploded.
Happy Christmas, folks.
It was the start of the end of a wonderful marriage...

Last night I watched the sixth game in the baseball divisional championship having rustled up a quick paella and grabbed a couple of hours kip. Guess what: The meditation tape worked (or maybe it was the four pints). Still, the Mets won 4-2 and it was on to game seven.

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