GM has been home for a week and a half. I’ve had two conversations with him.
Well, I’ve bullocked him twice, to be more precise. He arrived home at Friday teatime with most of his stuff from university and an invisible bag of dust and litter. The said ‘stuff’ was strewn all over his bedroom immediately; the dust and litter were evenly distributed throughout the rest of the house within a few hours. This is accomplished in total secrecy, like magic really: you don’t see it happening but it suddenly just ‘is’ everywhere. The bigger ‘stuff’ is laid out, named ‘Creation Corner’ and glares defiantly at you declaring, ‘I’m here in the name of his degree – go on, just try to complain about me: you’ll be accused of ‘making him fail’ and of being a Philistine!’
In addition to the mess outside, God has messed up the outside: we have had the heaviest snow in H.K. in living memory – W., the neighbour opposite has lived in H.K. for 35 years, so that’s a fairly decent ‘living memory’. We missed the good bit – giant flakes of white crystal floating down filling the air with layers of living net curtain landing gracefully on the lawn and covering it with the cliched blanket of white. We woke up and it was there: tonnes of it! And more was coming down from an ugly black sky.
Whether you see it as fortuitous or not, we were warned about the heavy snowfall on Thursday evening as we left the third parents’ evening in three weeks – (spot ‘the moody’ there: yes, this is ‘coursework’ month, and yes, I have sent a snooty email to my line manager* via my weekly department email.) *yes, we now employ factory language to reflect our factory-like attitude to education. – so I left school armed with a huge bag of marking.
The rest of the weekend was ‘fun’: the ‘children’ went up to the Scout ‘Hut’, a formidable brick building, complete with hall, kitchen and huge storage rooms, to build an igloo. Even E. went. Both of them tried to come home at one point or another, and both were sent back out ‘to enjoy themselves’. G. ‘broke’ his car by reversing into a snow drift and disconnected the engine shield. The igloo turned into a snow mould which couldn’t even pretend to be a fat snowman and so the day went slightly ‘failed igloo’ shaped in the end. By Sunday morning G. was besides himself and so I had to get Big Bro out to help fix his car. In turn I then had to offer to do Sunday lunch for ‘his lot’ as well and was forced to venture out to Tesco.
This was fun. Not. G.M. came with me and was clearly itching to get back out of the place as soon as he stepped over the threshold. He is 3rd Year uni: green, healthy eating, the environment is dying and supermarkets are bastions of pulp animal cruelty and genetically-modified, non-organic lumps masquerading as ‘vegetables’. He later also complained of rude people ‘driving into’ him with their trolleys and of it having too many people in there.
And so it continued. My normally gi-normous kitchen shrank to a cubby hole as my brother and his family invaded – with the dog, obviously. The beef was great and so was G.M.’s school-recipe lemon cheesecake but it was all rather uncomfortable as everyone seemed to have grown since the last dinner we had together.
Monday was completely wasted as E. and I sat around waiting for a 45 minute MOT on ‘Miley’ Micra to take six hours (because they were having “a ‘mare wiv a van stuck up the ramps”) but yesterday I had to face up to making a start on the marking. There is a stack of it: Year 13 3,000 word coursework drafts and six sets of practice GCSE papers.
Just as I was getting back on the hamster wheel I had to get dressed properly to go to see ‘Educating Rita’ at the local theatre. It was great: including getting out of the snow-filled car park and an idiot trying to barge into a single line queue going in the opposite direction who shouted at me. J., G.’s, mum hurled back, “You’re ugly!” at him. This must rate as the most random and bizarre insult I have ever heard. I was gutted that I had to drive off without being able to see the chaos that must have ensued, as there was no way all the traffic behind us were going to realise the queue had come to a standstill because of one or two cars were determined to drive down what had become a single lane. Who would have thought the biggest laugh of the evening was from leaving the place. The snow, it seems, is a bit like old age: it has not come alone!
This post was first published on March 28th 2013