Silencio not so mysterioso


Heavens! Wait till I tell the verucca she has a fan club! Questions have been asked, and I like to imagine the enquiries have been tenderly concerned. The silence is not because she and I have been wrestling to the death, it is because I have been very busy working. How dull. But the enforced sitting at a computer, while doing my circumference no great favours, has allowed the lucent syrup (Keats, Eve of St Agnes. Poetic refs to describe a foot virus – now there’s quality) to work its drowsy magic. Luckily for you, I’m too tired to remember the words, but I bet Hamlet had a good old blether on about Claudius stealing into the orchard and pouring poison in Hamlet Snr’s lughole. Dear oh dear, I fear I begin to ramble.

Anyway, the lucent syrup is hardly the stuff of benevolent drowsings – frankly it gives off a whiff that could fell a horse. It has certainly caused one or two flatmates to look up from the newspaper on the other side of the room, whinny nervously and ask if I ‘can smell something’. Still, the brew is working. Mini-me is now smaller, flatter and no longer the colour of pipe tobacco. That’s got to be good, huh?

The mice, sadly, are proving a more intractable problem. We lay down poison, the mice eat it, and then we put down more. This has been going on for a month and their appetite seems not much diminished. Are we feeding the entire borough’s worth of rodents? The other day I was nearly hoist by my own petard (or indeed poisoned by my own blade – more shades of Hamlet, by my troth).

I’d wearied of wrinkling my noise every time I closed the fridge door (‘Coo, summat smells in there’) so I decided to clean it out. Prepared the hot soapy water and follow-through dilute bleach spray, then began to ferry the contents of the fridge to the kitchen table. I was down to the last two bottles (1 gin, 1 milk) when the milk slipped and shattered all over the floor. Grunting around, picking up glass shards, I realised the milk had flowed under the fridge and melted a goodly proportion of the KillTheLittleCrappingBastards, resulting in a hell’s brew of poison, milk and glass.

Did you know that mouse poison is blood thinner? That’s how it works. The mice eat it, then rush around bashing off things and eventually – horrid to think of it – die of internal bleeding. (Look, I don’t like it any more than you do. But that’s Hobbes for you – nasty, brutish and short. Plus our little buggers seem immune.) Anyway, as I bundled up the shards into newspaper, I gashed my arm with glass that was in effect dripping with Warfarin juice. Great, I thought, I’ve just given myself haemophilia. We end happily: both I and the mice have recovered fully and continue in apparently rude health. And the fridge no longer smells like a nappy bin.

The workiness looks set fair to continue, at least well into next week, because this weekend I am sent (oh joy, rapture and bliss) to Paris. I have to wander around the Marais for a few days, drinking in the atmosphere (plus a couple of more tangible essences), then write a zillion words for Cara magazine, Aer Lingus inflight tome. I watched La Reine Margot on the telly about a month ago, remembered how deeply I love Jean-Hugues Anglade, and hopefully now will show him that ruddy-cheeked English birds with Celtic calves are just as lovely as them skinny, graceful, cultured French ladies. Whoo hoo! Jean-Hugues! Over here! No, wait, Jean-Hugues, please don’t make me Taze you…


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