We’re currently a plague house, since the son has a cold. We’ve gone through the major stages of infection, such as moping, gurning, whining and now we are on to noise.
Fourteen-year-old boy colds are quite remarkably noisy. I swear the windows of the number 34 bus passing on Great Junction Street rattled when he sneezed yesterday and the cat’s not been seen since he was blown backwards by a freak Hurricane Noseblast. I think he’s under the bed, waiting for the storm to pass.
When he was a wee boy, his colds were quite cute. I’d wipe his wee nose and park him on the sofa to watch Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine. I’d wrap him up in his favourite furry blanket and give him hugs and cuddles whilst I sat beside him wondering when the other trains on Sodor would notice that Gordon the engine looked suspiciously like Gordon Brown.
We’d have tomato soup, and boiled eggs all smashed up in a mug with butter, salt and pepper, which, as everyone knows, cures the common cold in, oh, a couple of days.
Now, of course, the boy is 14, and way too big for hugs and cuddles. His wee nose is now producing industrial levels of gunk. He takes up room, a lot of it. In fact, he takes up the whole sofa.
He’s moping about the house like a huge moping-about-the-house monster. He seems to be around every corner, like that blasted Alien Sigourney Weaver was forever dispatching out various airlocks. Mind you, the boy is currently producing more runny horror than old dribble jaws ever could.
And he makes that noise. It’s a sort of snorting watery thunder that shakes the very foundations. It’s a cross between a sneeze, a cough and the sort of roar you’d expect if a Tyrannosaurus Rex had just surfaced in the Forth and eaten the rail bridge.
I’ve checked all the packets of anti-cold medicine we have in the cupboard and not one mentions the alleviation of window rattling racket. But he still likes tomato soup and boiled eggs in a mug, so I guess the little boy is still in there.
But under no circumstances attempt a hug or a cuddle.
Core blimey, it is some yield . .
Speaking of Hurricane Noseblast, the winds last week caused consternation here at the People’s Republic of Darkest Leith Apple Growing Collective – ie, the husband and me.
The garden apple tree was getting a battering, and we thought we were looking at a possible 25 per cent loss on projected crop yield. I was seriously considering gaffer tape, but the winds abated and we are on target for our biggest yield yet, since all four – yes, four – apples are doing well.
Small talk joy is a big relief
The Lord Provost’s Garden Party at Lauriston Castle was a lovely way to say thank you to all sorts of people who have made a difference to the city, from Paralympic medallists to those unsung heroes who help kids cross roads safely and raise money for charities.
We had a pipe band, choral singers, clàrsach playing and fly-pasts courtesy of EasyJet, Ryanair and Virgin.
There were some quite posh folk there, which left me at bit of a disadvantage in the conversational stakes. Usually when people with rounded vowels stumble across my accent at a do involving canapés and cartwheel hats they flare their nostrils like Grand National winners, then back off with the sort of startled expression you imagine the Queen would have if someone organised a male stripper for her birthday.
So here’s a tip if you get invited next year, just talk about the Japanese garden. Whoever you bump into, tell them they must view the Japanese garden, and their relief is palpable.
Yes, I may be a peasant, but I can appreciate an Acer and a good water feature.
Don’t think I’ll be booked again
Lesley Riddoch is a fabulous woman who has written a fabulous book, Blossom, a good clear-eyed look at how we could change Scotland for the better.
For some baffling reason, she asked me to introduce her at the book launch. I’ve never introduced an author before. I gather that it’s usually a gentle burble about how nice the author is, what a good read the book is, polite applause.
Well, I know that now.
Apparently it’s not usually the done thing to vault the book skyward like a trophy from some sort of bloody medieval battle and holler “give it up for Lesley Riddoch” at the top of your lungs, completely blowing the batteries on the mic and two hearing aids.
Ah well. The book’s called Blossom. It’s a great read. Gentle applause, people . . .