Sunday, 5 August 2007

chit chat

We take a break from our regularly scheduled sniping to snark instead.

My grandparents are staying.

The tone in which I am thinking this, and in which you should be reading it, is one of mild dread and definite foreboding, laced with just a dash of merriment that my grandmother's love of cooking means I do not have to Do Something with a chicken tonight that will somehow add up to that great British institution of Sunday dinner. The feathery filth within that sentence is unintentional.

No, it is not the food (though Shepherd's Pie in this heat does seem, well, mad) that makes my insides curdle. It is my grandfather's conversation. And we use that charming term "conversation" loosely, loose like the knickers of a crystal meth addict.

The problem is, he tricks you into thinking that the chat is going to be pleasant and within the realms of normality. He is, after all, a Norfolk farmer, and has a similar vocabulary to the Shire folk. Example: calling mute objects "he", e.g. buildings, radios, screws, and anything else that cannot move of its own accord and definitely does not have a sex. I can deal with that kind of weirdness, having lived in Hobbit central for an Elven lifetime. But, no.

Today he asked me whether I'd ever been to Bournemouth. See, normal.
I said, no, I haven't. Why?
His reply was the standard kind of odd, the odd where the elderly start talking about people you don't know as if they are a close family friend. Because a man I used to work for used to fish down there.
Why this would make me want to visit Bournemouth I don't know.

But, it got worse. Oh, right. Said I.
'e used to make us dig up worms to pack into moss so he'd have enough bait for his trips. Grandad replied merrily, settling in for the ultimate thrill of describing, in detail, how to find lots of worms for fishing.
The closest I have ever come to fishing is falling asleep after too many beers by the lakeside and waking up to discover my shit of a friend had put maggots on me.

Later: (after ten minutes of worm catching lessons) I might go down there to see where he used to fish. Oh, God, I am thinking. Oh God I am glad I am going to Spain tomorrow.

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