Miaow

The spouse and I have returned from Ayrshire with a half eaten turkey carcass, an uneaten Christmas pudding and an unused snow shovel in the back of the car.

A jolly time was had by all, except for my father in-law’s tortoiseshell cat, which was most annoyed at having strangers in the house and launched clawed stealth attacks in the middle of the night to make sure we wouldn’t want to come back in a hurry. It also sneakily concealed itself in the pattern of the carpet in order to trip me up at every opportunity, although this feline strategy backfired horribly when I closed the bedroom door after going to the bathroom at 5am without my glasses on, and it shut with a miaow and a hissing sound instead of the usual click.

The other Christmas visit hazard, apart from slow roasting by central heating, was flatscreen tellies at high volume. Fortunately, my parents in-law switched theirs off when they went to bed, but Mama was still on Barbados time and suffering from insomnia after returning from her disastrous Caribbean holiday. The nightly 3am switching on of the telly in the bedroom next door was very distressing for the spouse, apparently.

Insomnia excepted, Mama’s terrible holiday did bring one unexpected benefit. In the post-trauma of her return, she seemed to have forgotten that she had fallen out with me over my alleged ignoring of her phone calls recently. I had been expecting a slightly frosty reception, but she even appeared to be holding out the Olive Branch, when she made her first ever reference to my ‘cookie hearing’ as she called it.

At the dinner table, as I put down my fork and fiddled with my ear, I felt Mama’s watchful eyes upon me.

“What’s the matter?” she said in a loud voice, “…is there something wrong with your, er, your…your…you know, your, er, ear piece thing?”

Ear piece?” I asked, deliberately obtusely, as I stopped fiddling and helped myself to another heap of cauliflower cheese.

“Yes, you know, your, er…your, er…” she lowered her voice to a whisper to lessen the impact of being forced to say the dread words, “hearing aid.”

“No,” I replied, delighted that the mother daughter relationship was back on track.

“The back of my earring has fallen off again. Bloody nuisance, I hope it hasn’t fallen in the gravy.”

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