"A Portsmouth man believes he has found the way to talk to hedgehogs, although he does not know the meaning of what he says to them."
1:04pm Wednesday 9th February 2011 in Lesley Brain
I MAKE no secret of the fact that my home life teeters precariously on the verge of madness. It is at its most vulnerable when lulled by false serenity.
Take Monday night. We are seated in the sitting room, glasses in hand, enjoying the wafting smell of a home-made steak and kidney pie made all the more delicious by Mr Brain's recent brush with NHS "food". Admittedly we have quarrelled. Though I must say Mr Brain is a frustrating verbal sparring partner as he refuses to join in and the whole thing becomes unsatisfactorily one-sided. He has fallen in love. He has decided that Nigella Lawson no longer holds delight for him (poor Nigella, how will she come to terms with this rejection?) and has skittishly fallen for the television charms of Lorraine Pascale. Lorraine is a very beautiful patisserie chef who was a top model and now has her own television show where she can demonstrate her delicious recipes and show off her perfect figure in casual jeans and tee-shirt and flash provocative, generous smiles in the direction of Mr Brain seated at home. She has a gap between her two front teeth which is irresistible.
I have bought her cookbook so that when Mr Brain is sufficiently recovered he might venture to bake her fondant fancies and they would at least have something in common. I have, not entirely successfully, put a damper on the programme by suggesting that if you listen very carefully you can detect the sound of chaffing as the really fat plain girl who actually makes the goodies moves about unseen off-camera.
Meanwhile I engage our nuclear family in the story of Simon, the cat who won the PDSA Dickin Medal for his devotion to duty despite suffering terrible injuries. The British warship HMS Amethyst was shelled in 1949 and for 101 days Simon devoted his time to catching rats that threatened the crew's dwindling rations. No-one in the room seems particularly impressed, least of all Basil and Sinclair who in their feline way lounge by the fireside watching Lorraine making bread sticks.
We have been joined by a new resident, Mousey, who moved in at Christmas and has chosen to adopt us. He sits between the cats watching the television as insanity engulfs us. "I wonder if Mousey would like a cheese straw?" says Mr Brain and I feel myself tumble into an abyss.
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In this section
- 'Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.' Lewis Carroll
- 'The only athletic sport I have ever mastered is backgammon' Douglas Jerrold
- 'When I use a word,'Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.' Lewis Carroll 'Through the looking glass, and what Alice found there.'
- 'Being thick isn't an affliction if you are a footballer, because your brains need to be in your feet.' Brian Clough
- 'The British are not good at having fun. I get overexcited if there's a pattern on my kitchen roll.' Victoria Wood
- 'The trouble with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur.' George W Bush
- 'There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.' Winston Churchill
- 'How on earth did Gandhi manage to walk so far in flip-flops? I can't last ten minutes in mine.' Mrs Merton
- 'Ma always said that without tea the British would have lost both world wars.' Michael Bentine
- 'Visitors young and old will be amazed when they arrive at your home and see a larger than life fully lit outdoor reindeer complete with bells and sleigh.' A Christmas catalogue