"Learning to live and living to learn"
Today is truly a “momentous” day in the domestic calendar because today, is the wife’s birthday! Every year, as we slip silently into the month of April, the occasion looms large on the horizon, rather like Stonehenge, as you bowl along highway A344, as it snakes through the Wiltshire countryside.
As usual, I awoke before dawn’s early light, wiped the sweat from my brow and tried my best to quell the palpitations that were driving my anxiety. Why, oh why, do I always forget to purchase the obligatory birthday card? It’s always expected and, bonehead that I am, I always forget. I mean, it’s not as if I wasn’t given fair warning and, after all, her birthday is on the same day every year! So, “pas de panic”. The shops won’t be open for another 3 hours at least but she will expect something with her early morning coffee, in bed as usual, well before that. So, I have no choice, I need to think fast and improvise.
I slither out from under the duvet, careful not to awaken my Queen, and tip-toe towards the door of the bedroom. But what about Lily, (the dog that must be adored)? Will she wake up and give the game away? No chance, Lily is sleeping like the proverbial log that has taken a handful of sleeping pills and been banged on the head with a heavy blunt object. No guard dog is she! I plough on.
Once in the living room, I take five minutes of mindful meditation, just to center myself and steady the hand, before I start rifling though that drawer in the mock 18th century cabinet, the one fashioned in the style of Thomas Chippendale which I refer to as “the Chav-endale”, and into which all manner of objects are stuffed during the weekly run-around with the vacuum cleaner. I find a cadge of batteries that would power a satellite, an old watch, a bunch of keys to locks that no longer exist and, oh, a couple of pound coins. It’s a result of sorts, I guess, but nothing that could masquerade as birthday card.
With the flashing light of the neighbor’s car through the window as they leave early for work, I catch sight of some papers stacked neatly on the windowsill. I grab something that looks like a piece of card and fold it in half. I grab a pen and scrawl something suitably “mushy” above what I think is the wife’s name and address, and stick it in amongst the other cards that have flowed through the letterbox during the week. I hope, that in the half light, as my Queen awakens from her dreams to my rendition of the birthday song, she won’t notice that I’ve given her a polling card to mark the occasion.
However, if she does happen to notice, and give me “that look” that confirms Lily’s suspicion that I’m a useless surplus to requirements; with a flourish, I will produce the gift she so generously advised me she wanted by sending me an Amazon link the week previously. And to top it all, I will follow that up with a kiss and her cup of coffee. I might just get away with it.
By the way, I should just say that my Queen is looking younger every year and is like a beautiful English rose whose petals unfurl to catch the light of the sun. Unlike Lily and I who are jostling for pole position on the grid in the race towards elderly. But that’s a story for another day.
Happy birthday, my Queen!