Back to Work

It was time to go back to work yesterday, and I wasn’t in the mood. Not even the exciting prospect of giving the hearing aid a nice new tube  to celebrate its first birthday could bring cheer to my miserable features.

After dragging myself into the bathroom, I lingered in the shower a little longer than usual in the hope that it might turn into a magical portal to a utopian world where everyone was on permanent holiday, and an envelope of money was dropped through the letterbox at the end of every month. When this failed to materialise, I emerged reluctantly from the soothing hot water and set about the complicated task of selecting an outfit to disguise my post-Christmas stomach bulge. Several bad tempered costume changes later, I remembered the sage advice in ‘Dressing Thin’ and settled for a Lycra-free t shirt and long cardigan, the perfect blend of camouflage and comfort.

An hour later, I was back in the bosom of The Institute of Artistic Endeavour, and very glad of my decision not to go for long sleeves. When I unlocked the office door, I was hit by a rush of escaping heat similar to that which burnt my eyebrows off in 1974 when I was playing with the gas oven at home while my mother was out. I pushed the office door open wide with my foot to let the heat out, pausing to remove my now out of date Miniature Holy Family Nativity Set from their perch in the pane of glass above the door handle. As I looked around, the sad sight of some very brown and very dead plants met my eyes and a faint whiff of cheese from the forgotten pre-Christmas leftover milk on the tea tray met my nostrils.

Sadly, the office thermometer was no use in establishing whether this was a record high temperature for the notoriously out of control heating system, because it had exploded at some point during the Christmas break, leaving a blood-like stain and some tiny shards of broken glass in my tea cup. Whether it exploded because of the extreme heat when the heating went back on, or the extreme cold while it was switched off will remain a tantalising mystery.

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