Monday, 21 June 2010

Wifely compassion - an historical overview


The suburban foxes are back (see this blog, passim). Only now there are more of them - we saw a vixen and two cubs playing merrily in our garden at twilight the other evening (it was an elaborate game called "first one to dig up and savage a plant with an expensive-looking garden centre price tag gets to crap in Guthlac's sand-pit!"). They also started excavating a seven-room luxury earth under our decking.

It was therefore only a matter of time before Mrs Byard politely ordered me to "fox-proof" the decking by wedging bricks into gaps and adding an extra plank to cover the long gap at the front. While simultaneously "minding Guthlac". Trust me, the mixture of hammers, nails, planks and an inventive two-year-old is not what one, as a male, wishes to have imposed on him for multi-tasking after a hard day at work.

Anyway, I gamely set about the impossible task. Guthlac was surprisingly keen to help, and while I was lying prone on the decking trying to wrestle the plank into position, he picked up a hammer which shortly afterwards came into sharp contact with my head. For a moment, I was unable to restrain my natural eloquence, upon which Mrs Byard took his side, helpfully explaining that "He was just holding the hammer and you nudged it with your head!"

One wonders whether Marie Antoinette scolded Louis XVI for nudging le guillotine with his neck and thus spilling blood on his new shirt; or whether Alexandra's last words to Nicholas in the dank Yekaterinburg cellar were an admonition to stop nudging the unwashed Bolsheviks' bullets. Did Archduchess Sophie turn to Franz-Ferdinand as Gavrilo Princip stood and fired and say "That's what you get for nudging Serbia"?

Probably not. But then, they had servants to fox-proof their gardens. It's alright for some...

8 comments:

Scarlet Blue said...

You have been in the wars lately!
Out of curiosity, does Guthlac have a plastic hammer?
Sx

Sauti Ndogo said...

Nudging: Until New Labour put everything right, in the 1970s and 80s, many ne'er-do-wells would engage in malicious self-harm by recklessly flinging their faces against the boots of honest copppers.

In South Africa, it was not unknown for communists to nudge the pavement after engaging in active and subversive defenestration at police HQ.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I feel that this nudging theory of yours carries more import than you may think: Archduchess Sophie probably did say that, and I've recently been forced to nudge the floor with my head after tripping during yet another cat/carpet mix-up.

No Good Boyo said...

I and a couple of chums once made a short film, sadly lost, called "The Changing Face of the South African Police Force". It used to crop up on Interpol lists of banned snuff movies from time to time.

A vixen slunk across our patio the other night. I have saddled our goat and am ready to ride out.

Scarlet Blue said...

I like to practice my slunking technique.
Sx

Gyppo Byard said...

Scarls - I bear the scars of fatherhood, husbandry and general clumsiness with pride. Guthlac has a complete plastic set of tools, alas.

Sauti - In the West Midlands, our "Serious Crime Squad" used to arrest a lot of people with loose shoelaces who proceeded to "fall down the stairs". After a decade or so, somebody pointed out that the Serious Crime Squad was actually supposed to solve, them not commit them...

Gadjo - GAAAAADJOOOOOO! You're back! How are you, mate? We should produce a scholarly study entitled "The Role of Nudging in Central European Political History". Or something.

Boyo - was that vixen as in "pointy ears, bushy tail, lives in hole in the ground" or vixen as in that "albanianvixxxenz.com" website you showed me once? Not that the two are entirely exclusive...

Scarls (again) - you can practise your slunking in my garden any time you like*, honey!

*Except when Mrs Byard is gardening. Or the kids are playing there. Or during the hours of daylight...

inkspot said...

You mean the footman won't foxproof your garden for you? Quite right come to think of it, you wouldn't want the under-gardener serving soup to the duchess, the neighbours notice that kind of thing.

No Good Boyo said...

I see your point, Gyppo, and hope you'll put in a good word when the vixxxxenz case comes to Reading Crown Court and the Vetinarian Board in September.