Extra Marital Relations – when In-Laws should be Outlawed!

When I married my husband I didn’t realise he was part of a BOGOF offer and that I would get two for the price of one. The extra marital relation in question is my brother-in-law, or, the Philistine, as I like to call him. Yes, Kevin Moore, you know who you are. Worse still, our Kev cheerfully admits to this failing and positively revels in his ability to reduce me to a red-faced gibbering wreck in front of ‘them wot ‘ave a bit of culture’.  Take our latest sortie to Pugin’s Grange in Ramsgate – the memory still has the power to bring the blood rushing to every extremity. Firstly, let me make it plain it wasn’t our intention to visit said establishment; we were, in fact, on our way to a local caff to sample the quality of the greasy spoon. But, and this is a rarity, the Grange was having an open day and, having lived for six years in the area, with nary the chance to poke my nose inside the door, I was in like Flynn. The problem is, our Kev was in behind me like Flynn’s hip replacement. Nevertheless, things got off to a reasonable start as I joined my oohing and aahing to that of a small, but select, group of Pugin aficionados. Happily, I craned and strained my neck to gaze at the wonders of the ornate ceilings. Reverently (when the guide wasn’t looking) I brushed my hand along the faithfully reproduced wallpaper (pretty garish, to tell you the truth, but who knew green and orange could work!). Overawed, almost to the point of tears, I gazed with longing at the Minton tiles (the tears were because mine are from Wicks and common as muck, as well as cracked). Still, all was going well and I was beginning to bask in that warm feeling of inclusion amongst your betters (a bit like when you were at school and the Head Girl let you polish her shoes with your tongue), but then we entered the dining room and things took a turn for the humiliating. A DVD recounting the story of Pugin’s life was playing in one corner, around which some of his more fanatical disciples, hungry to learn more of their master and hero, had gathered. I was hungry too (remember, we still hadn’t been to the caff), but hoping to milk my sense of cultural camaraderie, I was tentatively making my way to the edges of the worshippers when a sonic boom rang out.

   ‘Hey, babe, look at the size of this dining table. That would be perfect for doing my modelling or for making my jigsaws. Look, I could have a 25,000 piece one at each end. I could have my tools up this end . . .’

Believe me, had I not been dying of humiliation, I would have taken great pleasure in shoving his tools up whichever end he liked. Instead, my red face clashing horribly with the wallpaper, I slunk away, an outcast from cultural society, all thanks to my extra marital relation. Had I a bell, I would have rang it – unclean, unclean. Instead, I wended my weary way up into the bell-tower, figuring the panoramic view over lovely Thanet might go some way to restoring calm. Boy, was I was wrong! As I, and the small number of other asthmatic-sounding sightseers, excitedly looked for landmarks and gazed across the Channel to France, the sonic boom sounded once more, almost toppling us over the parapet.

‘Hey babe, this would be a great place to site a sniper rifle. You could set it up right here and bang, bang, bang . . .’

Cue gasps of outrage and and magenta faced as I schlepped all the way back down and into the Abbey next door. Even Kev, I figured, would have the grace to keep quiet in the sanctity of the church.  Big mistake! Mega!  As I left the side chapel, having duly admired a wonderful carved frieze depicting the Stations of the Cross, he called me back, his voice echoing up to the vault ceiling and reverberating off the stone walls making even the gargoyles cover their ears.

‘Hey babe, look at this. One of the soldiers is wearing an Italian helmet. It should be Roman. They didn’t have Italian helmets back in those days.’

I could hear the sound of Pugin swearing in his grave. That man has a gob the size of the Grand Canyon. Not Pugin!

So help me, I think there are times when murder is not only permitted, but essential – if only I had a sniper rifle or a large blunt object. Unfortunately, I did not have a sniper rifle and the nearest large blunt object, also known as Kevin’s head, was already attached to his body.

Had I known the day I got married, what I know now, I would have looked straight at my brother-in-law and shouted BOGOF!  Instead, he was the best man.

PS. For those of you not afflicted by philistinic relations, the Grange and the Abbey are well worth a visit. It is owned by the Landmark Trust. You can find out more on: http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/visiting/opendays.htm

A Sad Affair

Recently my mind was much exercised by the question of whether to embark on an affair, whilst I could still walk without benefit of a Zimmer frame and climb the stairs as a biped, instead of on all fours. Mind you, judging from the number of programmes that have aired recently concerning the frolicking s of geriatrics, neither seems to be an impediment, more like a positive advantage. ‘Fancy swinging from the old Zimmer Frame, Harry?’ ‘Assume the stair position, Joan. Second from the top.’  See what I mean? In fact it surprises me that no one has yet thought to bring out a Kama Sutra aimed solely at the aged. A Hundred And One Things To Do With Your Oxygen TankA Stannah Made For Two. All Trussed Up  – Hilarious Hernia Fun.  Truss me, there’s a market there. Go on, take it to the Dragons’ Den.

Regardless, I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to cheat on my husband, soul mate and father of my two sons. Actually, he’s not the father of my children, but he is definitely my soul mate. So, why you might wonder would I want to do the dirty on him? I don’t, in fact. But, good grief, every second person I meet seems to ‘be at it’ and I can’t help wondering if I’m missing out in some way. You see, I was always slow to catch on to the latest trend and it’s left me with a bit of a complex. I mean, I was still wearing loudly patterned bell-bottoms and tank tops when everyone else had graduated to skin-tight denim jeans and acres of cleavage. And, whisper it, my musical tastes haven’t moved on from Donny Osmond yet and he’s a grandfather!

Fact! I still want to be a member of the cool gang and if that means hanky-pankying behind my innocent husband’s back – tough! Right, morals despatched, there remains the issue of finding Mr Wrong. I waited in this morning to catch a glimpse of our postman, as tradition has it that postmen and milkmen invariably deliver more than letters and pintas. We don’t have a milkman and the postman turned out to be a post woman. ‘Don’t knock it, till you’ve bi’ed it,’ a friend of mine used to say, but she was the kind of person no one ever listened to. Not even her girlfriend and boyfriend.

‘Have an affair with your own husband,’ another friend suggested. ‘You know, put the spark back in your marriage, Ann Summers and stuff. Vibro rabbits.’

Naughty nurses and rabbit stew. Worth a try! I didn’t have a naughty nurse’s uniform, but I did have a pair of fishnets, which is vaguely in the same ball park. I unearthed them from beneath a mountain of M&S belly-warmers and pulled them on. No fish were harmed, but I caught a whale and, since he’s a member of Green Peace, this would only result in making my husband blubber. I ripped them off and turned my attention to part two – rabbit stew, which went also went for a burton when I discovered that nobody on the planet appears to stock Vibro rabbit. I complained to my friendly local butcher, who had the cheek to laugh. I wouldn’t mind, only you should see the state of his lamb shanks.

So here I am, no further along on my quest for infidelity, still wrestling with the idea of having an extra marital affair. In the meantime, though, my husband has surprised me by suggesting, with a twinkle in his eye, that we liven up our evenings with a game or two. Chess? Scrabble? Monogamy, anyone?  Tis a sad affair.