STAYING with the Fat Kid I have learnt some very strange things.
1. That everyone keeps their toilet rolls downstairs, even if the bathroom is upstairs (very odd, but she insists it is true) and
2. The best cure for insomnia is an Only Fools and Horses DVD.
I spend a couple of nights a week in dear old Shoeburyness lodging on the Fat Kid's floor so that I can then get a train into That London, as my ex-newsagent in Cardiff calls it, and go about my daily working business on the News of the Screws. It has certainly been an enlightening experience.
Every evening my daughter adjourns to bed at about 10.30 on the basis that the Vin Man and Big Boy tend to wake at about 6.45 each morning and charge into her bedroom. She, in turn, tells them to go and see grandad because "he will put cartoons on for you". Just what I need first thing in the morning - two hyperactive kids interrupting my slumbers and shouting "Tom and Jerry, Tom and Jerry". However, I digress.
At some stage in the middle of the night it is quite likely that I will have to pay a visit to the toilet and it is then when I tend to notice a familiar tune coming from my daughter's room. "la, la, la... la, la, la, la, la... la, la, la... la, la, la, la, la" followed by the delicate vocal tones of Chaz and Dave informing me "Only Fools and Horses work". This, it appears, has been playing all night while my daughter slumbers sweetly in her bed. Without this familiar and, from a personal point of view, rather irritating theme tune apparently the Fat Kid can't go to sleep. Bizarre.
Then quite often in the morning, going about my daily ablutions, the serenity of the moment is quite often spoiled by the realisation there are only two small sheets of toilet paper left on the roll. A search of the bathroom does nothing to provide a solution and it is only then the Fat Kid reveals, "Oh yeah, I keep the toilet rolls under the sink downstairs. Everyone does, don't they?"
That, of course, is when she can be bothered to buy toilet roll at all. Sometimes I get a text message on my journey up to London. "Can you stop for some loo roll please?"
So where does it all go? Cleaning, it appears. My ultra tidy daughter uses sheets and sheets of the stuff to buff up the bathroom until it is shiny and new. And the kids wonder why they are quite often consigned to using wet wipes to clean their little botties. My daughter's life? Strange, to say the least.
Not only have I still got my persistent shoulder and neck problems, for which I am now taking some huge pink pills which the doctor has prescribed (Ibuprofen 600mg - I imagine they are the size and strength of horse tranquilizers) but I have been struck by a particularly virulent cold for which I have been dosing myself with honey and lemon and Beechams flu plus. What with the blood pressure and colesterol tablets as well, I am beginning to rattle when I walk. A sign of old age, if ever there was one.
Talking of old age, the wonderful Withers turns 30 next week and I am delighted to say that Mrs R and I will be attending the celebration party on Saturday week at the new old O'Neill's. Can't wait...