The parents are coming to visit and as always, three things happen. The first thing that happens is that the oven breaks down. Twice now James has cooked Christmas dinner on the BBQ. On these two occasions the breakdown was caused by the glass door shattering when set to 'self-clean', clearly proving my point that Cleaning The Oven Is A Bad Thing. This time the oven has decided to randomly turn itself on and belch acrid smoke at us. All very Overlook Hotel. So I will mainly be devising meals for seven that do not involve cooking. Baguette jambon / beurre anyone?
The second thing that happens is that I clean the house. I usually injure myself whilst doing this, thus clearly proving my other point, Cleaning The House Is A Bad Thing. And Dangerous To Boot. I must admit that I'm a bit of a slut on the cleaning front. I can't really see the point and when you live in what is effectively a building site, it becomes even more pointless. Tidy? Yes. Slavish devotion to Mr Muscle or Monsieur Propre as he is known here? No.
This appalls my friend Colette. You can go round to her house at any time of day or night and find people padding around in socks, the dining room chairs upended on the table and her, vigorously mopping, something. I'm surprised she hasn't damaged the tiles. Here in comparison, you're more likely to find an assortment of people wandering through the main living area wearing wellies and trailing guinea pigs. As a result Colette thinks we're a bunch of ageing hippies who sit around all day smoking weed. I wish.
Now for the third thing. Most son in laws mow the lawn or cut the hedge before the big day. James does home improvements and this is A Good Thing. Our house is akin to an indoor version of Total Wipeout but without the water. There is currently no lighting on the landing, the stairs or what will be the kitchen. This is fine during the day, but woe betide any one who needs a wee in the night and has forgotten their handy household issue bedside torch. Getting to the loo involves skill and daring.
The landing is not too bad. The stairs need to be tackled with care. The adjoining wall has been removed so you need to keep a firm grip on the banister or risk plunging into the sitting room below. Reaching the bottom there are a couple of random steps to be negotiated before crossing the hole in the floor that separates sitting room from kitchen. Then it's an easy walk across a level floor before a quick skip up a couple of breeze blocks. Then you're in the room that contains the loo. Note, you are not yet in the loo. The loo itself is located in a small cupboard in one corner. There is a light in here but it is at the far side of the room so you need to make your way to the switch in the dark. The dogs also live in here, so you have to run the gauntlet of two dogs who will be very, very pleased to see you and show their pleasure by trying to trip you up. If you make the switch you are home and dry. You then just need to complete the trip in reverse to get safely back to bed.
I'm not sure whether I'll get a replacement wall by the stairs before next week but I'm hoping for a few light switches and maybe a bit of hole filling. Or at least some new batteries for the torch.