Monday, 7 November 2011

Oh, there's a bird perched on the shower curtain rail

Last Saturday morning, I was running late. I had a driving lesson at 10 o'clock, a foolish arrangement, I know, and by 5 past 10, I had only to brush my teeth and I would be ready (however, this can be quite an ordeal when one has braces to negotiate). I stepped into the bathroom, and my eyes deceived me. They, specifically the corner of them, told me that there was a bird perched on the shower curtain rail. Needless to say, they were talking nonsense, birds do not live in bathrooms, therefore there could not be a bird perched on the shower curtain rail, and I should continue on my bearing towards the sink, and live my life without worrying for the presence of birds perched on the shower curtain rail. So reasoned my partially awake brain.

About 0.64 seconds later, it became apparent that my eyes had not being lying. A bird, disturbed by my intended use of its new home, dislodged itself from the shower curtain rail, and decided that it would assassinate me. It flapped at me and squawked, and generally did everything in its birdy power to kill me. A daring kamikaze dive-bomb attempt saw it zoom past my face and hit the mirror a little harder than looked comfortable. Rather than stand and fight, I decided my best move was to take the Ross Kemp course of action, so I got out of there... FAST! Once I had slammed the door shut behind me, I paused, breathing heavily, before deciding that I should call in re-enforcements. I ran down the stairs, trying to look normal as I passed my ornithophobic (fear of birds) mother, before entering into the lounge and dramatically shutting the door. In my best hushed-because-something-ground-breaking-and-unusual-is-happening-which-you-must-take-seriously-but-mother-must-not-find-out-about voice, I told him 'There's a bird perched on the shower curtain rail'.

To my sheer delight, he believed me! His first response was, as Basil Fawlty would say, to state the 'bleedin' obvious': 'Don't let your mother find out'. At that moment, she walked in, and her spidey sense was tingling. She asked what was going on. 'Nothing!', my Dad, brother and I replied in unison. That is man speak for 'something important that I don't want you to know about.' By the look on her face, she had already translated, and she wanted answers. It was I who broke the painful silent stand-off which ensued. 'There's a bird perched on the shower curtain rail.'
Panic. All hell broke loose. She flew into a terrible flap (pun very much intended), and reeled off her plan of how we were going to solve the problem. 'MARK! GET RID OF IT!'
Simple, but effective.

Now readers, you know me by now, and you know that I would not hesitate to remove the thing in place of my father, vendetta against me or no vendetta. But you see, the bird-perched-on-the-shower-curtain-rail had already crossed swords with me. It knew my moves, the way I liked to parry its blows, and how I shifted my weight in attack. So I decided the noble, brave, gallant, heroic thing to do... would be to let my Dad get rid of it.

Instead, I took on the 'Q' (out of James Bond) role, and supplied him with weapons. My recommendation was a tennis racquet and a bin, but apparently that was nonsense and a tea towel was far preferable.

So in he went, like a black country Rambo. My brothers and I gathered by the door and listened to his Attenborough style commentary, which opened with the words 'Oh, there's a bird perched on the shower curtain rail', but as he got more and more into it, became less wordy and more promising. 'Come on, you little git' being typical.
Eventually, he emerged with a tiny, thrashing bundle of tea towel. Despite my abstention from this battle, I took it upon myself to open the back door to let the bird go free. And off it went, having survived its brush with civilisation, more or less free from harm.

So there we are, a brave attempt from nature to colonise the Skidmore household is beaten back by its residents. The subsequent investigation has still not revealed how the bird got in, but I will let you know when we work it out. Any suggestions are welcome.
Finally, my Dad reckons it was a Blue tit (no giggling at the back please), but I think he's wrong. I think it was an eagle. Or maybe a Pterodactyl.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A mouthful of abuse

Well, I have just returned from an orthodontist appointment, feeling thoroughly battered, bruised, torn and beaten. I hasten to add that no physical changes were made to me, no teeth out (no, that is still to come, fivefold), no brace attached, no nothing. Rather, I spent the entire time feeling like I was at the mercy of a playground bully.
I am referring to the 'nice orthodntist man', as my deceived mother called him, himself. Oh yes, he flashed his pearly white smile, he shook her warmly by her hand, he mixed togther his chiselled stubbly features with a convincing air of trustworthy-ness, which left her only to happy to watch her son taken into his lair. But I was not taken in. No sir, I knew that once that door closed and I was in solely in his, and his evil Debbie McGhee assistant lady's charge, things would change, and so it proved.
'Sit down for me' was his brusque introduction. (Why is it that dental types add 'for me' as a suffix for everything? Why should the fact that it is they who are asking make me any more willing to obey? If Nelson Mandela asked me to do something 'for him'; but of course I would Mr Mandela. If an unpleasant orthodontic surgeon whom I have never met before today uses this buy out clause on me, well, he can jog on. Except he has sharp drills and things).
Then, he whipped out his tools with a forbidding eagerness. Mirrors and proby things and those latex gloves. Hideous. 'Open wide', he said. Reluctant but polite, I obliged. And this, dear readers (maybe plural is optimistic), is when the bullying started. He proceeded to tell Debbie everything wrong with my mouth in some sort of code language nobody else can understand. I did manage to translate the odd bit into layman's terms though. On 3 occasions, he did that thing plumbers do when they see a rather severe problem, where they suck in air in a shocked way, and the word 'severe' cropped up regularly.
'What is the problem?' I hear you ask. Well, I'll tell you. It was the sheer delight and glee with which he went about telling Debbie everything that was wrong about me. This wouldn't be acceptable for anything but teeth. No slimming class leaders look at their members and say 'Oooh there's a good few chins on this one Debbie. Sit down for me, sir. Right, there's six rolls of wobbling flab. Got that Deb? Good, now raise your arm and wiggle it around for me. Okay, quite severe bingo wings here, surprised he's not taking off. Actually, with a belly like that, I'm not.'
No, in any other walk of life, this is wrong, and plain mean. In an orthodontic surgeon, it is 'professional'. Worse than that, I needed him to think my teeth disgusting, so that the NHS would agree to pay for my treatment. So, though it is free in terms of money, national health treatment is payed for with damaged pride and ridicule. And smug smug orthodontist man knew it too, this is what gave even more license to him and evil Debbie to snigger and the repulsive spectacle of my mouth.
So, bring on the removal of my teeth then, for beyond that particular horizon lies deliverance from this terrible twosome. And it can't hurt any more than today did, surely...