'No,' he replies, in that vague-I'm-not-really-hearing-what-you're-saying kind of way that teenage boys have.
'Really?' I prod, in that I'm-not-sure-I-entirely-believe-you kind of way that parents gain from bitter experience.
'Urm, well I have one or two bits,' he concedes.
'Due in tomorrow?' I persist.
'Then can you come off the computer by 8pm to do them please?'
8pm is reached and duly passes and of course there is no sign of L. I was in lax-parent-mode because we were watching Line of Duty and it had got to a particularly gripping bit, so I didn't remind him (which is parent-code for pulling the plug out of the wall and running off with it, thereby forcing a Full Computer Shut Down and ensuring - after the howls of protest have died down - homework compliance), so it was actually 8.50 by the time said small person stuck his head round the door, waved a sheet of paper airily about and announced breezily: 'I have to make a Sacred Cupboard for a Religious Book. So where is the cardboard, paint, glue and something I can use to make a book with, please?'
I sometimes feel I am stuck in Groundhog Day when it comes to L and his homework. You could set your watch by his unfailing ability to ignore it until the last possible second, and then suddenly realise he needs to paint the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel by morning, oh, and he requires some help to get the paint mix right, and could I also possibly round up and supply the models for the painting, as well as fixing some spare lighting, and while I'm at it, would I mind also knocking up dinner for eight people too please?
'There isn't any cardboard,' I reply.
He looks, crestfallen, in mute appeal at his step-father, who is also well-used to this routine of last-minute-homework. M sighs, puts down his pint, gets up and goes to look in the garage. He comes back with a box which he gives to L (who had been beadily eyeing up the box I use to keep my moth paraphernalia in) who then trots off to the other room. Within few seconds ominous sounds of scissors hacking away at the box and ripping noises of copious quantities of sellotape being destroyed reach our ears.
I have a rule that is in force to attempt to persuade L of the value of doing homework at a reasonable hour, and that is: I do not get involved after 6pm (which is wine and crisps by the fire time- or G&T and chocolate time, depending on how the day has gone). However, he knows that whatever I say I will not abandon him and so, after a few more minutes of chopping and sticking noises, I could bear it no longer and went to investigate. He actually hadn't done too bad a job and with a few tweaks and a liberal dab of strategically positioned glue here and there it was about finished.
We stood back to admire our handiwork.
'Not bad,' I say 'considering it's another classic Bodge-It-And-Scarper-Production from the stable of L.'
'I thank you,' he replies, graciously inclining his head and sweeping me a low and elegant bow that I very much fear he's been practicing on the girls at school.
'The only thing,' I say, turning the
'Have we got any tin foil?' he asks.
And so we ended up with a sacred cupboard housing a holy text that would not have looked out of place on a Dr Who set. Where would we be without cardboard and tin foil?
The accompanying notes (typed up by the artist) complimented the thing perfectly: 'If you have a sacred text, you must not touch it with your fingers: you poke it with a sharp stick.'
I think I may have forgotten to tell you all that M's wrist has now been officially Signed Off. We saw the nympho-consultant on Monday (for once, dressed convincingly like a consultant rather than a Woman Of The Night) who cooed and oohed and ahhed over said wrist and moved it here there and everywhere, rotating it and holding it for a just a little bit longer than I felt was strictly necessary.
'Ahhh,' she said, at last. 'But it 'az 'eeled perfectly! 'Ow did you do eet?' (I don't know why she's speaking in a French accent, because I think she is Polish).
M smiled at me. 'You'd better ask my wife, ' he said (rather gallantly, I thought).
Apparently noticing me for the first time, she cast me a rather pitying look (typically, I had rushed out to the hosp without putting on any makeup, my hair is about two months overdue for a cut and was therefore scraped back a la Essex facelift styley with a serviceable but not very pretty clip, and to cap it all I realised, as I looked down, that I had mud from that morning's dog walk splattered up my legs to the knees and an ominous stain, the origin of which was lost long ago in the mists of time, on my t-shirt. Lord knows what she must have thought of me- no, actually, her face said very plainly what she thought: 'what eez thees 'andsome, cultured, well-spoken man doing wiz thees knackered muddy pear-sonne?')
'I'm a healer,' I said, stoutly, 'so he's had arnica and symphytum, zinc and healing. It's old medicine, but it works.'
'Indeed.' She smiled politely. 'I vill aff to try eet' (and now she's got a dodgy German accent- sorry!).
All joking aside, the hospital has been fantastic and I can't sing their praises highly enough. It's a HUGE relief to have the wrist all healed up and tickety-boo and I can stop worrying about it now.
I have been flat out this week producing a Lab Report (yawn) for college. It is based on spectrophotometry and chromatography and concentrated solutions of 2,4,6,8 and 10 parts per million (yawn to the point of falling asleep Very Quickly Indeed). Suffice to say I AM NOT enjoying it one tiny little bit. It's taken me all bloody week to get to grips with the bloody thing, and it has driven me to gin and tonic, as well as wine and chocolate in the evenings (and then to running, to counter the effects of gin and tonic, wine and chocolate). So this morning I went on strike, downed tools and met ma for a decidedly lovely and very nearly two hour walk round the estate path with the dogs in the fog.
Poppy is being utterly disgusting at the moment. She has developed a penchant for eating Cleo's poos dug fresh out of the new flower bed (which Cleo clearly considers has been constructed as a very elaborate and generously-sized lavatory for her - Cleo is our puss cat, not a heathen daughter with no manners, just in case you were wondering). Anyway, Pops brings the poos into the house for a good old munch and on at least two separate occasions has convinced me she was actually choking on a bulb, which (given that the last time she ate a bulb it resulted in a £100 trip to the vet and a valentine's day immortalised by puppy diarrhoea) has resulted in me putting my hands down her throat and pulling the 'bulb' out, only to discover it was a half-chewed lump of cat poo- ewww, as our daughter would say.
She further disgraced herself out on the walk by woofing furiously at these inquisitive cattle who came to see what all the fuss was about. They looked Very Surprised Indeed when they realised it wasn't some terrifyingly massive hound uttering these blood-curling sounds, but a pint-sized ball of scruffy fluff with an attitude......
After that Dougal decided to go for a swim....
And they all had Great Fun chasing each other through the fog....
I put the Moth Box out last night for the first time in a while and had Good Results. 41 moths in total, 11 different species, 7 of which were Brand New for me. Here are a selection....
|Paler version of the Common Quaker|
|Red Chestnut- very please about this one, there are very few records in Hampshire for this moth at this time of year|
|Satellite, a moth I have wanted to see for a while, even if this particular one is a tad dog-eared (or moth eaten).|
|Small Brindled Beauty. Fluffy face-on|
|Small Brindled Beauty|
|Another Twin-Spotted Quaker (demonstrating how different forms of the same species can look, and therefore why it can be hard to ID them)|
|A third Twin-Spotted Quaker (different again from the other two!)|
|Camo In Action: Oak Beauty hiding on the Willow Tree- can you spot him?|
|Here he is!|
The totals for last night were:
5 oak beauties
12 common quakers
2 early greys
10 clouded drabs
3 twin-spotted quakers
1 small quaker
1 small brindled beauty
2 diurmea fagella
1 red chestnut
I hope you've all had a good week. I am planning to get out in the garden this weekend as there are seeds to sow and ancient shrubs to take out. I'm also hoping to see more bees and butterflies, as last weekend was excellent for them. I start butterfly transects for both the National Trust and Butterfly Conservation in April, which I am really looking forward to. The sites both have a good range of species, some of whom I have never seen before. Can't wait.
Wishing you all a peaceful evening,