READY for 48 blissful work-free hours, only for your mood to crash on realising the implications of the seemingly-innocent phrase you’ve just heard?
‘The garden’s a bit wild’
Tidying up the garden – making nature in all its mightiness nice and neat – means two hours weeding, a hour of mowing, another hour of strimming, and quite possibly trimming the f**king hedges. Then, exhausted from hours of physical labour, you’re greeted with ‘Hmm. I think we need to put some bulbs in.’
‘Remember we’ve got company’
Which means a full day of tidying, dusting, hoovering and generally pretending to live a life entirely other than your own. Why? You’re not junkies in a squat, so what’s the necessity of preparing a facade just because two friends who’ve known you for years are coming round?
‘My mother’s due a visit’
It has been, now you think about it, a blissful month since you saw your in-laws. It’s passed like a dream. Apart from on their side, where they claim it’s been a hellish month of isolation so you’re expected to drive 60 miles for an inedible meal with two retirees who hate you.
‘We’ve got that wedding next weekend’
A rollercoaster of disappointment: your heart lifts that it’s not this weekend. Then sinks when you realise it means you’ll be spending all day shopping for new clothes you’ll wear once and a wedding gift for people you hope never to see again.
‘Shame to waste the weather’
Your primitive equation of ‘it’s sunny’ equals ‘so we’ll spend the afternoon in the garden drinking’ is overruled by the pressing necessity to go somewhere where nature is apparently superior to immediately outside. There follows a long drive and a trudge round a beauty spot marred by every f**ker else.
‘The lounge is looking tatty’
‘Mmm,’ you reply, sailing into the trap with the caution of Admiral Ackbar. And now you’re in B&Q comparing paint shades called Melville, Santa Fe and Natural Hessian before the real hell of applying them to the skirting boards begins. You can’t wait until work on Monday.