I'm hiding behind my newspaper this morning. I've taken the dogs(GOD BLESS'UM) for their morning walk, radio 2 just on in the background and the aroma of fresh toast cooking fills the kitchen. Then comes the sound all men hate to hear:
'Its bank holiday soon. I've asked my sister to stay for a few days' she said.
'With the kids and Ken?' I enquire.
'Just the kids, Ken's got to work for the complete weekend' she said.
So then all the joys of bank holiday falling into place. All I need now is to find out that it's the Zoo we're visiting or, worst, IKEA, so the clouds of bank holiday doom are gathering. I go back to hiding, the shed never looked so good. I check the weather - rain, good! I pour myself a small whiskey from the lawn feed bottle, a nice 10yrs old single malt!
They arrive on time and bearing no gifts. Andrew, 8 yrs, is sporting a pointy hat and an HP fake scar and immediately pulls his wand out of his cape and tries to curse the dogs(GOD BLESS'UM). His sister, Phoebe, 11 yrs, is sulking because her phone has been confiscated by her mother on the trip down. I go into hiding, for the rest of the day with the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM), only to be dug up and bated at tea time! So ended the first day!
Day two. I arrive in the kitchen for the breakfast fry up only to be greeted by Massey, one of the dogs(GOD BLESS'UM), wearing eye shadow, Ferguson frantic to remove the bow of ribbon tied to her tail and Phoebe telling me to get off the cat walk because I'm going to ruin her fashion show! I go into hiding! The garden centre this time, with the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM) as I've ran out of lawn feed!
Bank Holiday. The kitchen is empty, the house is quiet, the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM), intact and functioning! I didn't realise it at the time but I only have an hour. I'm in the bathroom having a bit of a sit down when I hear the car doors slam and the small atomic devices called Andrew and Phoebe enter my house! They're getting closer - they try the handle of the bathroom door.
In here, he's in here!'
Then I hear it, their voices shouting in unison...
Zoo, zoo, we're going to the ZOOOOOOO!
I was wishing the bog, could swallow me up!
So it's to the zoo then, arriving at the car park, pay £3.00 for the parking and join the entrance queue which is at least 150m long, accosted by ice cream sellers, and other purveyors of crap. We arrive at the entrance (£11.00 per adult and £9.00 per child) and get fleeced. So we're inside and so far this has cost us close to £60 and we have yet to see anything except other people and kids! And it's packed too, so you queue for the reptile house, you queue for everything! So at last we get into the reptile house and we're being herded around by the sheer weight of people and, of course, little Andrew (Atomic Device no 1) wanted to converse with a snake. As he kept reminding us
'I'm a parseltongue!'
Christ I thought and little Phoebe (Atomic Device no 2) was just a misery to behold.
So we move on to the next cage. Nothing in it! The next cage the light is out and a little notice on the window says 'Do Not Tap the Window, This snake is very sensitive to vibrations' so the (Atomic Device no 2) starts to kick the wall. I ask her to stop, she carries on kicking, her mum tells her to stop and again she carries on kicking the wall then, for a split second, we seen a very irate snake.
'Quick' I say to (Atomic Device no 1). 'What did he say?' The look I received from this little horror was priceless, it made my day!
This sort of behaviour - not only from our own little horrors but others too - was appalling and, added to this, was the fact we only saw the back of peoples heads, just a bloomin snake and had to queue for everything, even to get out of the bloomin place (car park as well)! £100 lighter and a headache, sore feet and then we arrive home and the screaming and shouting from the little 'darlings' continue. We have a late tea and it still continues into the evening and I'm getting very tired of it. Very tired of it, so tired in fact I have a word with the mother;
'Aren't your kids ever happy and quiet? Well aren't they? Ever since you lot have arrived it's been bedlam and even the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM) have taking to the shed to keep out the way. DO SOMETHING!'
I thought I was a bit hard and the missus would have a go because it's her sister, but no, the kids just carried on, the sister said nothing to the kids and it continued till around 23.00 hrs! So I was really miffed and I went to bed. The Atomic devices hung it out till 02.00 hrs and then it went quiet! Pay back time tomorrow!
Day Four arrives with a bang from me at around 04.00 hrs. I take the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM) out for a walk and take my shotgun too. Eight rabbits are bagged and brought home and it's still before 08.00 hrs (their breakfast time)! So I set about the task of cleaning them ready for the pot. The better half comes down to the kitchen and takes one look and says
'Ha ah, you old bu**er!'
'Hope so' I reply. The kettle is on and in walks her sister.
'What is that smell!' she said and takes one look at the rabbits.
'Dog (GOD BLESS'UM) food - I shot it this morning. Don't worry I've nearly finished,' as, on cue, the little cherubs blitzed their way into the kitchen. The only thing lacking in their armory was air cover which I suspect will come at a later date!
'What is that smell'
they said in unison and I responded at once
'I'm not eating that' said (Atomic device no 1).
'Ho oh, but you have' says I.
You could hear a pin drop. Nice! They look at each other, they look at Mum, they look at the better half, who adds to the whole effect by nodding her head in agreement to the statement, even the dogs (GOD BLESS'UM) looked as if they were in on it! Great! The timing of my better half could not have been better! She said
'Now if you are good you can choose your breakfast, some of the rabbit or cereal and toast, now what would you like?'
The silence intensified, tumble weed rolled across the floor of the kitchen and my better half suddenly became Gary Cooper in High Noon!
'Cereal and toast' came the response. This was not enough for my better half. Another 30 seconds of staring got the request
'Cereal and toast, please'.
'Thank you, sit over there and just be quiet...' better half said, 'and you, sister, sit over there, and YOU (points with finger) take those bloomin rabbits out of my kitchen!
I retire to the shed, with a cup of tea and some toastie fingers and me dogs (GOD BLESS'UM)!