There are worse things than washing and cleaning

Tuesday May 9 2006

“I think I’ve picked up your sore throat,” I said, waking to find Graham coming through the door in the small hours.

“Oh, you poor old thing,” Graham said. “That’s not like you. Will it go on to be a full cold like mine, do you think?”

“Who knows? It feels like it could but it’s wonderful what a hot rum toddy and a couple of aspirin can do.”

“We don’t have any lemon here,” he said. “Would you like me to go back to the bar and get you some?”

“Don’t be silly. It’s three o’clock in the morning. I’ll just stick in an extra measure of rum and we’ll all of us try to get to sleep before the dawn chorus starts up.”

“Don’t know how you can drink the filthy stuff.”

“Best cold remedy I’ve ever come across, that’s how. Wouldn’t drink it any other time.”

So we all tucked up and I dropped off almost immediately as the rum cut in. I have no recollection of hearing the dawn chorus.

This very busy week, with the place fully occupied by hard-drinking blokes in frocks, has given me a fast track understanding of the lifestyle of the bar-keeper. Long hours, low pay, and far too little sleep. And, until you arrive at the right combination of socks and shoes, sore feet. Not much you can do about the sore legs, I’m afraid, and you have to work through minor things like summer colds.

Small wonder that most bar-persons tend to be young, and even less so that the ones who survive the job into older age are liable to be exceeding morose of demeanour.

Up until the start of my throat tickle the day had gone quite well. I did the promised sweep of the Williton agents and then motored over to keep my appointment to view the tiny house by the cemetary in Minehead. I got there early, so I opened the car door wide and sat quietly to eat my sandwich and mineral water lunch. It’s a very nice spot, green and leafy, and comprises a mature estate of pleasant small houses.

Not all of them are as small as the one I viewed. That turned out to be so small as to be impractical. We’d considered taking on a really small place and doing a full-scale life-laundry to cut down the volume of our stuff so we could fit in it. Sadly, this one doesn’t have space sufficient to hold our stuff before starting the laundering. There were other problems with it, too, of the shoddy house maintenance kind, that would have necessitated a major cleaning and refurbishment project before we could move in.

It wasn’t a complete waste of time, though, because the agent who showed me round came quickly to a close understanding of our needs and, while not hopeful of finding a match within our budget, promised to do his best. And I believed him.

From thence to Tesco’s for my dinner provisions, and then back to the caravan, arriving just in time to catch Graham at the start of his all too short afternoon break. A siesta ensued.

Needless to say, given Graham’s working schedule and my insistence on being awake when he gets home late at night, the days here tend to run into one another, marginless. So, awake once more and still in Tuesday by body clock, with Wednesday only a shower and a quick provisioning trip away, I find my cold well advanced but manageable. I shall pick up one of those patent cold remedies to see me through the next couple of days before I hit the agents once more. Hate the things for the way they make me feel squinty-eyed and itchy all over, but they do keep the worst of the cold symptoms at bay while you get on with life.

A couple of days doing things other than house hunting appeals to me, even if they are going to be dominated by laundry and trailer-cleaning. It may, in normal times, be hard to believe, but there are worse things than washing and cleaning.



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